I have recently experienced my first truly challenging behaviour since beginning my NQT year. Although I have dealt with minor behavioural incidents, this is the first time that I have struggled to maintain authority over a group of students. SecEd‘s NQT diarist seeks the support of his colleagues to find a solution…
However, by discussing my concerns with colleagues, the issues have been solved. This has not been an easy process, yet the experience has made me a better teacher.
The class in question is one of my two year 10 GCSE history classes. We got off to a strong start and I had established a good working relationship with the group. The first half-term went smoothly and the students were engaged in my lessons. There are five very strong-willed female students in the group, all of whom display challenging behaviour both in and out of lessons.
However, as the Christmas holidays approached, their behaviour in my lessons began to deteriorate, having a negative impact upon our working relationship.
I felt like I was fighting a losing battle; every time I managed to get one of the girls working well, another would decide to act up. Several times, I felt that my lessons were being ruined due to my difficulties in getting these five students to engage and behave.
By seeking advice from their other teachers, I realised that I was not alone. Each of them was experiencing difficulties in other lessons and all five were frequently in trouble. Things came to a head when four of the five students arrived at my lesson half an hour late due to an incident in the playground. This completely derailed the lesson, wasting the valuable curriculum time of their fellow students.
I spoke to both my head of department and the pastoral support officer for year 10. Both were supportive, and it was agreed that the mix of personalities in the group was not conducive to a good working environment. As a result, two of the girls have been moved into different groups.
I worried about this situation for a few weeks before seeking advice from colleagues. This has taught me that it is okay to admit that you are struggling with a class. Indeed, it is only by being honest about my difficulties that the situation has been resolved, and my students and I are much better off as a result.
Read more from the NQT Diary of an NQT: Behaviour – A team effort
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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