Last year I delivered some behaviour training and I did the same this year. This post summarises some of their questions.
On Thursday 22nd September, I delivered some training to a group of NQTs as part of our Academy Trust training programme. The session was great, very informal in terms of delivery style but well structured. At the beginning of the session, some of them put up post-its with particular questions that they would like answering. Rather than paying them 10 minutes lip service at the end, I said that I would respond to them as a whole by email so that they could be used as a starting point for further discussion if necessary.
This blog post is simply the questions that were on the post-its and the answers that I gave in the email. It seemed a shame to waste them!
A child who interrupts to correct/tell you how to do things
Some children just have to tell you everything that you do wrong. This can be frustrating but as soon as you let the frustration show, it will manifest itself. Being frustrated will not change the child’s behaviour. Speak to them about whether things are useful to know or vitally important. When they correct you, start threading in and asking whether what they just said was vitally important at that point or not. You may have to categorise with them. Keep doing this consistently and when they’ve got it, as soon as they start to interrupt you or shoot their hand up when you know that it is something that isn’t imperative, ask them whether it is vitally important or whether they can tell you at the end of the lesson because you’ll have time to listen to them. It will work in one of two ways – they will either get fed up of coming back and telling you at lunch that actually called John by the name of James (or something else pointless) or it will give them a more appropriate time to tell you. Some may just need to say it. If it is at an appropriate time, just thank them. This is then dealt with courteously and you can get on with your lesson.
Exclusions are the most serious consequence that a school can issue to a child in this country. This blog post aims to highlight some of the key points when considering exclusions as well as looking at the balance of when and when not to exclude as well as the implications for excluding children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). As well as this, I will offer my own thoughts and experience on exclusions. If you want to read further on exclusions, I would suggest reading DfE: Exclusion from maintained schools, Academies and pupil referral units in England.
The power to exclude
Schools can choose to exclude children on the grounds of disciplinary only. They cannot exclude for any reason and infact, they must protect children and make sure that all children are treated fairly and not excluded on the grounds of things such as disability or race. Only the Head of a school or academy can exclude a child (that includes Executive Heads) and no-one else. Many people can contribute towards the child and the evidence but it is only the Head who can authorise this and therefore they must be the one who signs the letter. The decision to exclude must be legal, reasonable and fair.
“How can you know what you’re capable of if you don’t embrace the unkown?” – Esmerelda Santiago
I started my teaching career in 2007 as an NQT in an inner-city primary school on a massive council estate. I was brought up on the area, I did a teaching placement in the exact same school and was offered a job instantly. What could go wrong? In fact, my NQT year was more like what couldn’t.
I found my NQT year extremely challenging and the transition from university to a REAL job, one where I was accountable and actually had to do stuff was a difficult one. In fact, the transition was non-existent. I landed in this challenging and dynamic career with an awesome class… and I was terrible at it. I built a rapport with staff, children and parents extremely quickly but my organisational skills were as effective as my cooking skills… and I eat out way too much. I rambled on and scraped over the NQT standards finish line with a faint limp.
I continued for another year and a half before I thought that actually, teaching wasn’t for me. I loved the teaching but hated everything else. I really enjoyed working with children with special needs and the feedback was that I was quite good at it. In fact, the feedback was that I should move into a different type of provision. I considered this, spoke with my wife and eventually did as I was told (ha!) and if I wasn’t naive, maybe I would have considered the quote from Esmeralda in the opening of this post. I was not too switched on so had to find this in hindsight but even so… it sums up how I probably felt at the time. I knew this was make or break. I knew this was seat of the pants time. Hold on.