22nd September 2000 at 01:00
Sara Bubb offers advice to students and NQTs I know it's only a short time since school started, but I am really unhappy in my job. The kids are appallingly behaved and I struggle to control them. I don't feel that they're learning anything and I'm exhausted. I want to give up.

You need help - urgently - and lots of it. It would be a pity to give up after all your training - anyway, you need to give half a term's notice, so you won't be able to leave until Christmas. You could then get a job in an easier school.

Whatever you decide, you need help now. Are you getting the support you're entitled to? Tell people how you are feeling. It won't go against you - most new teachers face behaviour problems from pupils and they can be remedied.

It is essential that someone observes your teaching - this should happen as a matter of course within the first fourweeks. Your induction tutor can give you tips to improve your control - for instance, changing routines for giving out resources, your pace, or the children's seating arrangements can make all the difference.

An observer will also be able to tell you which parts of the lesson went well and which children behaved. One can all too easily miss the positive things and only notice the difficult children and disasters.

Analyse when lessons go well and when they go badly. Make an evaluation and think of action points. Set yourself small, manageable objectives. Take care to implement the school behaviour policy strictly. If there are particular children who are being difficult, don't put up with it - arrange for them to go to another teacher.

Email your questions to: Bubb regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence

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