The behaviour question

13th September 2013 at 01:00

I completed my training in December and have stayed at the school where I did my first-year placement. I am really struggling with all my classes and today one of my students asked why it was that children behaved in other classes but not in mine. I know I have problems with class management and it is really getting me down. I give detentions but I feel it is a reflection of how bad I am that I have so many students turning up for detention. Even then, I can't get some of them to be quiet and listen. I have read so much about techniques such as not being confrontational and not shouting, but I don't feel that this is really working. I am too soft and want to toughen up, but I don't want to control the class through fear. At the moment, I don't feel that I have respect and I see some of the students' faces looking at me as if to say, "please do something - we want to learn".

What you said...


Speak to your mentor. At this stage in your career, no one should expect your classroom management to be faultless.


Don't feel guilty about not being perfect at behaviour management yet - it will get easier as you gain more experience. And don't feel guilty about setting detentions: you are doing your job.

The expert view

You're just new. This is perfectly normal, so don't sweat. The fact that you are setting so many detentions is a credit to you, not a shame to your name. This is the medicine your classes need until they learn to behave properly. It isn't a reflection on your virtue but a token of the emergent relationship between you and your classes. Be patient; be kind to yourself; be hard as hell on students who misbehave. The odd thing is that, once you've worn them into a healthy shape, most of them will start calling you a great teacher. It's the irony that lies at the heart of behaviour management. Good luck.

Tom Bennett is author of The Behaviour Guru and Not Quite a Teacher. Read more from Tom on his TES Connect blog (bit.lytombennett) or follow him on Twitter at @tesBehaviour. His latest book, Teacher Proof, is out now, published by Routledge

Post your questions at www.tesconnect.combehaviour.

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