There are numerous reasons why individual students might misbehave or be disengaged. As a Supply Teacher you many never know the reasons why, or might not even notice some of the most troubled kids. And other times, generally well-behaved kids might go bananas, tipping desks and punching the whiteboard. Your day may be unpredictable, but you can take some steps to make it run as smoothly as possible.
A student is defiant, rude and refusing to work.
- Take a difficult student aside and speak to them one on one away from the class. This way they cannot get the attention from peers that they usually crave. Explain that you don’t want to embarrass them in front of the class and ask them if they have any problems they would like to discuss with you. Explain that you are unhappy with their behaviour and suggest that they change it now or there will be further consequences.
Try to connect with these students in a positive way to earn their trust and respect. Ask them their interests, tell them a joke, find something you can relate with them about. They might not be interested, but give it your best shot.
A student is visibly agitated, aggravated or angry.
- If you can see a volcano about to erupt, get the volcano out of there! Often you can read the troublesome student’s mood if they are about to set off, so get in before it happens. Send that student with someone responsible to another classroom, even the one next door, with a note to borrow a stapler or a book. Do whatever you can to distract or diffuse any potential issues.
A student is being violent or unsafe in the classroom.
- Ensure the safety of you and the students first. If that means asking the whole class to calmly leave the room, then so be it. Call the Office or Behaviour Teacher as soon as you can and try to get the student to move away from harms way.
A student leaves the classroom.
- Try your best to coax the child back to the classroom. For some students it is not unusual for them to walk out so before you trouble admin (and appear incompetent) calmly ask them to return to the classroom before you will have to call the Office. If they are out of sight, call the Office immediately.
A student insists on going on the computer, sitting on a cushion or fidgeting with a toy, ALL THE TIME!!!
- Find out from a responsible student if this is the norm. If so, then don’t fight it. If the classroom teacher is OK with it, then you can be too. Even if it is something you wouldn’t allow in your classroom, remember you aren’t going to change the world in a day. It’s not going to be worth the drama.
*Make a record for yourself and the teacher for any major incidents that occur during the day.
Repeat work will often be dependent on whether you can cope in the classroom or not. Try your best to deal with situations in the classroom, only calling administration when needed.