You’ve been in your new post for a term and pocket change at this point – you’ve probably got most of the behavioural quirks down but you’re finding that as half-term approaches, new challenges are beginning to appear… time to do some sleuthing.
It’s tempting to step off the gas regarding classroom management as you settle into your role. Why not, after all? The kids start to take a greater liking to you as you begin to show more of your personality and you become more comfortable in front of them – but don’t let your students mistake your confidence and rapport as a weakening on the firm rules you’ve been upholding from September through to Christmas. It’s perfectly fine for your rapport to change over time, but don’t become lenient!
Do Your Homework
Whenever I inherited a new student, a new class or simply had problems with a previously well-behaved student, the first thing I would do is jump on SIMS and arm myself with as much knowledge as I could. The most useful knowledge (should!) be right there for you to access:
- Are there any learning considerations you need to be aware of? Can they access your teaching? Are there language barriers? Know what needs to be in place before they walk through the door.
- Are the students listed as PP/FSM? Use information about their home life to influence your approach. If a student is always 5-10 minutes late to form, maybe change tack if you know they’re a carer or have to take a sibling to school each morning.
- And sometimes, it’s simply reassuring to know that a particularly difficult student isn’t making it personal if their behaviour log is full of reports from every single adult they work with.
Watch Students Elsewhere
If behavioural problems are starting to flare with particular students, speak to their teachers elsewhere. If someone says ‘Oh, they’re an angel in my class’, it can be disheartening and you might want to scoff at the idea – however, use this as an opportunity to ask that teacher if you can come and watch what it is that they’re doing differently. You’re only an NQT once and once you’ve passed your first year, you won’t have the time to do it.
‘Is There Something I Should Know?’
Establishing a relationship with your students is important but it’s arguably just as important to forge relationships with staff elsewhere in your school. Now you’ve had a chance to settle into the role and the new environment, begin tackling behaviour by speaking to people in the wider school community and having conversations about students you’re struggling with.
For tricky students, make the time to speak to their form tutor, head of year or whoever heads up pastoral/safeguarding in your school. You might get a very straight answer and a quick fix, which is excellent but it might very well be that the specifics of a student are on a need-to-know basis but knowing that something is going on should be enough for you as a professional to perhaps change your approach with a bit of guidance from another teacher.
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