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I teach a pupil for an option subject which involves quite a bit of independent work on computers. There are two boys that are causing me some grief - along with one or two of their friends, who just grin at their bad behaviour. They arrive late for the lesson all the time - sometimes I make them wait outside while I complete my intro,if they come in late they chat or snigger throughout.
I've made a big effort to be more positive with them at the start of this term but to no avail. The crux of the matter is that I do not want the two to sit together. every time I tell them to sit at opposite ends of the classroom I get a load of arguing ' It's always me'; ' Why?' etc. It's wearing. I try not to get involved in giving reasons, if I do,i usually take them out one by one to have a chat and in theory they should go back in and just get on with their work. Often it just turns into a row with one pupil flatly refusing to do as I ask - so he often spends a fair amount of time outside the door.
I've phoned home- mother eventually was appeased as said boy thinks I'm ruining his GCSE chances. She want him away from his friend in class too. But 'they are lovely boys' she says, I wanted him to have a DT in order to catch up with missed work, she agreed. Next day an email arrived saying she wasn't going to be at home, so he wasn't to have the DT.Anyway last week behaviour was exactly the same, flat refusal to do as I asked. He'd just logged on, was sitting next to his friend,even though I given him another place. He then said he was doing his work and I was stopping him. I asked both of them to come outside, he said no. I logged him off . This was the end of the world.Took him to the Head, not sure of outcome there yet. Mother now wants me to ring her.Need advice what to say to her - I don't want to look like I can't cope with Mr Perfect child; Don't want her saying ~I'm ruining his future. I'm a very experienced teacher but this kid has got me rattled because I feel that I should be able to deal with him and I feel guilty about sending him out of the class but at the end of the day he has got to conform, I can't spend all my time 'persuading' him to do as I ask. Any advice on how to diffuse this situation? Any techniques on how to deal with a potentially angry parent?
They don't sound like lovely boys to me.
I would aim not to be on the phone too long. Let her have her say and let her finish. It's difficult to advise you because you don't know exactly what she is going to say, however, quickly reading your post I would consider the following:
She has agreed he shouldn't sit next to his friend, and this is what you are trying to implement. It is no big deal where a pupil sits in class - they are there to work not socialise.
He is the one ruining his GCSE chances because he has proved time and again that he doesn't work well next to his friend - even if at that particular moment he might have been doing his work, his past behaviour informs you that he will soon revert to chatting and wasting time, so you are ensuring his GCSE success, not the other way round. Also point out that he often disrupts the others by coming in late and talking over your intro/explanations which could ruin the GCSE chances of others - who are doing what they have been told.
Could you point out that the other children sit where they are asked without argument? I would also point out that if any pupil defies your instructions for whatever reason, you cannot be expected to just let it go - you are in charge in your classroom.
I would also think of a way of getting off the phone quickly if she starts going round in circles or if she gets angry - could you refer her to your line manager if the worst comes to the worst? Is he/she likely to be supportive and does he/she know the situation?
If nothing else to bring the conversation to a close I would say something like "I'm really sorry I will have to go, my next lesson starts in 5 minutes and I have to get to my room and get ready - if you are really not happy perhaps you could speak to Mr x" - otherwise some parents will waste your whole PPA talking about their "lovely" children - if they really were lovely would you be having this conversation?
Insist that they sit where you say, with SMT involvement if necessary.
Record exactly what work the boys are supposed to do, then if they don't do it, set it for them to do in their own time, copied to parents. Make it clear that it's their responsibility,not yours.
No negotiation, and do not set yourself detentions, with one exception: if the parents are unsupportive, bring them in to school (separately per child if you see what I mean) and waste as much of their time as possible in a meeting or two.
And get the parents in at a time that is convenient to you, not the parent, i.e. within 10 minutes of the end of the school day, not an hour later. If a parent doesn't want to spend any time discussing his/her son's education, it tells you quite a lot about the origin of the problem.
There is only one person ruining this brat's GCSE chances, and that is the brat himself.
thanks everyone. Feel somewhat happier after my rant and your lovely supportive replies. Let's see what tomorrow brings..
I would organise a meeting at a time that is mutually convenient to both of you and I would make sure that my HoD or SLT is there. I would make it clear that the purpose of the meeting is to draw a line under what has happened in the past but to set out clearly what your expectations are. Do you have a log of all the poor behaviour - I love a log - being able to put something under a parents nose which is in black and white dated/times etc - they can't argue with it. I would then put it back to the pupil and ask them to explain why they feel that the rules do not seem to apply them - make them squirm a bit. Then I would say to the mother - what would you do in my position? You've already said that she doesn't want him with this other person so she has to support you. Then I would agree for a set period - maybe 3 weeks - to report back to her at the end of every lesson - time consuming I know, but it will be time well spent and, who knows, once he knows that he can't play the martyr to his mother you might be ringing with good news. Make sure that you lead the meeting though - he needs to see that you're in charge of what is happening to him.
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