The Behaviour Question

21st June 2013 at 01:00

I find behaviour management really hard to deal with as I am a non-confrontational person. I have been advised that I need to get angry more often. I do not know why but I find it really difficult and cannot handle aggressive or rude behaviour from students. I need to get a grip on this as it will make my life easier but I do not know how to. I feel constantly exhausted at school and am often just focusing on trying to get to the end of the day.

What you said

SM_BSc

I don't think good behaviour management means that you have to shout and be aggressive - often this can make the situation worse. The main thing is to be really firm. Say what sanction you are giving and why. Students will often argue and get aggressive but you just need to remember that you are the adult, you are in charge and you are paid to teach them.

PaulDG

Think through, work out and rehearse what you might say or do when the children are being aggressive or rude. Almost all the time being outwardly calm is the right thing, but sometimes acting as though you are really angry can have the desired effect.

The expert view

Never get angry. It serves no purpose. I have seen tiny teachers who whisper who are fantastic at behaviour management. How? Because they said something and meant it. You set boundaries. You outline the consequences. Then when the students deserve them, they get them. Nowhere in this does anyone have to get angry or shout. Just do what you say you will and eventually you will wear them down. The trick is to realise that it is a war of attrition, not shock and awe. It takes time. After a while they will expect your boundaries always to be electrified. And then, ironically, you will find yourself having to do less and less. But it requires an iron will, consistency, repetition and repetition (see what I did there?). Give detentions to all that deserve them. Phone parents as much as humanly possible. Follow up with line management. Use school behaviour policies. Escalate. This all takes time and is exhausting, but far less exhausting, I promise you, than never getting to grips with bad behaviour and suffering the same problems in lessons for ever.

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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