While all teaching is tough, it seems behaviour management is central to this issue for most relief teachers.
I can't remember a time when behaviour management in our schools was so topical. A day doesn't go by when behaviour and misbehaviour in schools isn't in the news, somewhere.
It seems everyone is demanding more respect from students, more personal responsibility from students, less disruption to valuable learning time and of course, the never ending demand for schools to stop bullying. The public seem to think poor behaviour is a school problem.
Teachers have it tough. There are more demands placed on teachers than ever before.
What was a parent's responsibility is now a teacher's job. Parents want teacher to instill in their kids, and all the other kids in the classroom, a sense of self discipline.
Teachers simply want students to show respect for the learning needs of others.
It is essential that students behave appropriately and show respect for the rights of others so than learning can occur. Behaviour management is without a doubt the biggest single challenge of the modern classroom.
No child develops self discipline by accident. It is the result of many forces working together that develops the need to behave positively in the classroom.
But teachers can build effective strategies in their classrooms to improve or at least manage student behaviour. However, let me make clear at the outset, there are few undeniable certainties.
Nothing is 100% certain with behaviour. What will work with one kid, may not work with another. There are forces outside of our control at work here. But that is not an excuse to give up. There are some factors which will make our job as teachers easier. Teachers need to
You see, your beliefs impact on the behaviour management strategies you employ.
So many people, not just teachers, equate behaviour management only with punitive measures.
Their thinking is the way to stop misbehaviour is to use force. And if that doesn't work, use more force. And that doesn't work use greater force. And so you hear teachers talk loud and then louder and then louder...
A teacher who shouts often seldom produces effective learning and has almost no positive impact on behaviour management. There is nothing new here. You have to find a balance.
There are thousands of teachers for whom behaviour management is second nature.
What is surprising is that they usually don't see their own skills as superior.
In a classroom where effective behaviour management is in place, the strategies used are not immediately evident.
Good behaviour management strategies are not as evident as poor behaviour management strategies. You can see poor strategies. They are obvious. You can see confrontation, classroom battles. You can hear raised voices. In fact, in these classrooms you can feel an air of tension.
But in a classroom where effective behaviour management is working, all you see is kids learning. It seems little is happening and quite often this teacher will be envied for having a "dream class".
Dream classes seldom occur. It is more likely that this teacher turned the class into a "dream class." As much as it might appear that it just happened, it DIDN'T. Dream classes are the product of hard work.
Usually, when asked, the teacher can not explain why the class is a dream class. I have seen students move through the system. One year they are managed well. The same kids in a subsequent year are completely different. Same kids, same school, same policies but different behaviours. Go figure. The only change in this equation is the teacher.
But the teacher who has mastered behaviour management always has a firm understanding of what they believe.
As much as teachers like to believe otherwise, they make the biggest single impact on student behaviour in a school.
It is the classroom which makes or breaks school wide behaviour. It is the teacher who controls the classroom environment. I know I will get belted around the ears for saying this. Teacher must invest time and accept responsibility for behaviour management issues in the classroom.
The first step to getting your behaviour management strategies on board is to challenge your personal beliefs.
Write down your 5 Key beliefs about student behaviour.
To get you started - here are mine.
Challenge your behaviour management beliefs by writing your own personal list.
Enrol in my online Behaviour Management professional development course.