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Adapting to Behaviour

Lynne is a Secondary Teacher with QTS who is currently working in schools through Protocol Education in Bristol. Lynne explains that supply teachers need to be smart and decisive when judging the nature of the classes they teach, and also provides us with some tips to remember. 

Those nice people at Protocol Education send me to all sorts of schools and sprinkle me with fairy dust that makes me invisible in staffrooms. I do not mind being ignored munching my sandwich in the corner because some peace and quiet is often welcome after a morning of teaching a succession of Year 9's. (What teacher doesn't try to arrange appointments to coincide with their most obstreperous classes?)

Anyway, I often in these circumstances take a peek at the educational publications lying around and last week seized on '35 Top Tips to Keep Your Class Quiet.' I briefly considered wearing a lei or dancing the Macarena - yes, those were serious suggestions - but, although they may work for some teachers, they certainly would not for me.

There is, in fact, no formulaic approach to classroom discipline. Classes are made up of children and teachers and the chemistry in every one will be different. When you go into a school you will often be told that this or that tutor group/set/year group is currently particularly difficult. Every case has to be treated individually. What works for one group will not work for another.

This is why supply teachers have to be very smart about instinctively judging the nature of the classes we cover and working out how to deal with them. We don't always have time to work it out and we often get it wrong. There are, of course, some basic ground rules that apply across the board whatever the nature of the class:

Every case has to be treated individually. What works for one group will not work for another.

  • Be fair. Children often have an exaggerated sense of injustice and respond very badly if they feel you are not treating them equally. As would I.
  • Never embarrass them or put them on the spot in front of their peers. This produces resentment that is difficult to dispel. Just imagine how you would feel.
  • The usual common-sense stuff: be pleasant but not over-friendly, try not to shout, talk to difficult pupils individually and calmly about their attitude.

Yet, even if we do all these things, it still does not work out sometimes and we should not beat ourselves up about it. We simply don't have the time to establish meaningful relationships with classes.

Read other blogs written by Lynne:

Photo: That's Lynne watching tennis in Miami with Andy Murray in the background! Lucky thing!

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Tags: Lyn, Secondary, supply, teaching, ideas, tips, behaviour, not-always-easy, adapt, discipline, classroom

Category: Australian Teachers

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