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Serious Behaviour Problems


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Hi Guys,

 

As an NQT i know i am not supposed to have any serious behaviour problems in my class but unfortunately its not worked out like that and i have a problem.

 

I have one child with a number of problems but the one im most concerned with is her behaviour. (please note i have a reception class) She refuses to sit down with other children and constantly disrupts any carpet time i have, she has hit both myself, my learning assistant and fellow pupils, she damages school equipment, shouts and swears, amonst other things. She comes from a troubled background which i know is probably the reason for this behaviour but i need help.

 

The school and LEA are involved but i was wondering if anyone has any advice or knows any good websites. Im struggling to know what to do, ive used all strategies i know...

 

Help!

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Only extra advice I can think of is to get her out of your room from time to time, to give yourself a break!!

 

This doesn't have to be a punishment, I'm sure you can either find some good behaviour so it's a reward or simply schedule her to go out for a short time with your TA, perhaps for an individual story at storytime, or to go on the computer if that's her thing.

 

As an NQT, if you're anything like I was, you're going to be getting tired enough as it is, & you need to give yourself a break!

 

Do you have a rapport with her yet? It helped me with one very difficult kid in my first year to sit & play with him at things he was interested in (puppets & playing dogs were his favourites - I usually went for the puppets!) I don't know if it helped with his difficulties but it helped me to be a bit more 'on his side' and not feel like it was personal!

 

I take it you'll be getting support in the area of rewards/sanctions - & please remember that it always gets better with kids in YR! They find new school incredibly stressful & it really brings out the worst in some kids. Give her time, keep plugging away & there will be improvements (even if they seem only tiny!!!)

 

Good luck, I'm sure you'll get lots more great advice,

 

Dianne xxx

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Buttonmoon I had a child like this a few years ago. He behaved in exactly the same way, screamed loudly kicked us and even had all the verbal at 3 years old.!!!

I ignored him in the end because he was getting too much attention. I changed snack time to follow circle/ story time.As soon as he realised that he missed his snack because he was not sitting down his behaviour changed. I had to make circle time very short on the days he attended. It was a long struggle because he had bad social skills as well. At least I had the support of his parents but I felt I was always telling him off.By the time he left us 2 years later he was a changed child.

I saw him today with his Mum at the shops and I asked him if he remembered me and he told me that I am always in his mind.

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Buttonmoon forgot to say although I know this strategy always works some parents do not agree with me. I had a child today who really didn't voluntarily come to the snack table to make his toast and I tried to encourage him with no success so I left him to play. I mentioned this to his mum but she thought he should be made to do it.

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Buttonmoon this is a very tricky situation

and difficult to advise when we are not with you in your classroom. It is very early days yet and although this sort of behaviour is very tiring if you have the school on side you should get some more specific help from behaviour support team.

Sometimes it is helpful to offer the child a choice --to sit on the carpet with you or to sit on a chair at the edge perhaps? Hitting out at you and others is not acceptable and you need to have a modus operendi agreed with your head or team leader when this happens. Dianne's idea of time out both for your sanity and for the child is a good one and important.

I dont think that there is going to be a quick fix situation for you and that is not what you want to hear but do not be afraid of asking for support in school,

Good luck :D

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we too have had a child with these sort of problems , it is hard to remember to always praise the tiniest piece of good behaviour every time it occurs, we found that this child liked something to hold at story time and she was given this as a reward for sitting with the others for even the shortest of period which we built on slowly. She had a new soft toy which I bought for her, and when she became much better behaved she eventually took it home for the night. The best thing we all found was setting the boundaries and ensuring everyone followed the same ones.

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buttonmoon,

would it help to have your TA sitting witht he group during carpet time?

Sometimes we seem to give more importance to the bad behaviour so it might be a tack to use positive encourgament.

However its really hard to ingnore this behaviour bec there's a potential risk of encouraging a whole group of little followers .!

Getting parents to accept that theri child is badly behaved is hard work so if the chidl already has a ILP then you should use all the resources and manpower availalble to use and not try to tackle it on yur own.

it is really intereting to observe that tis a gril who has these problems. More often than not its a boy.

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Hi buttonmoon

 

What a tough job you have on your hands. Just a thought - did this little girl go to any kind of pre-school or playgroup setting? If not her behaviour may be due to the fact she just doesn't know how to behave around others, how to play with toys and how to sit and listen. If she did go to a pre-school can you not talk to them about how they dealt with the situation ? Is there something she can quietly fiddle with during carpet time or would that just create more problems. Do the parents acknowledge her behaviour problems? If so what about a reward system between school and home . Does the girl have IEP which the parents have agreed to? If the school and LEA are involved what are they doing about the situation - is she a candidate for a statement? What help are her family getting? What about 'emergency' temporary funding for another adult to be her 1:1? I'm just thinking off the top of my head here. I don't know any specific websites but try google and see if that comes up with anything that might help.

 

mousebat

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I was an NQT last year and I know how you try to juggle enough balls in the air without serious behaviour problems too! I've now got a boy in my class who shows similar tendencies to yours, but whereas yours swears, mine doesn't have very good language skills and he tends to just strip now anyway. Found him in the cloakroom as I was taking the dinner children through and he had managed to take socks, trousers, underpants and was going for the T.shirt before I told him to stop! The other kids are seeing his behaviour and because I am also in Reception and the children are still not able to manage their own behaviour, he is influencing theirs. A girl decided to copy his flashing and mooned at a nursery child. Fun and games this year!

 

I'm learning quickly that my support isn't there from the SENCO as much as I'd like so I'm having to take it on a session to session basis. My best advice is for you to do the same. Set targets for the child - achievable ones like sitting for 3 minutes etc and use rewards (as has already been stated). My target for my child was that - last week he would literally jump up from my carpet session and run (as speed I may add!) directly onto the carpet of the other class (I'm in a double room). This week he has actually managed to finish most carpet sessions on the carpet - so he is rewarded! As a staff we have to know how much we will tolerate and how much we won't. We have certain boundaries and allow him certain concessions (as a SEN child), but then there are the instances when I then have to take into account the other 59 children in the room and know that they are seeing him doing these things, so certain things are discouraged. He throws toys and destroys other children's constructions etc. This is not tolerated. He is told no and made to pick everything up. His leaving the carpet it allowed after the intial encouragement of his participation - as soon as we know he is not with us, he is allowed to go and sit with a book. The other children's attention is kept off him - in some cases they tell me he's being naughty and we discuss this by saying yes it is, we shouldn't do this and then move on. I cannot use his behaviour as a focus point because then the other children would pay more attention and it is unfair on them.

 

I am frustrated and I am a year on from starting my first teaching post. I still feel unequipped to deal with his needs and don't know whether what I am doing is right. I speak to his mother and her response is that he does it at home - its almost accepted. It's hard work and we all know this. The key is to take each session at a time, set the boundaries but also know your child. Know her needs. Take her out as has been already suggested. Try pre-empting behaviour (because we all know we are psychic!) - although I am getting to be able to read when my child is about to erupt!

 

Know that you are not alone and feel free to come here for support and guidance. It will get better - it may always be there, but there are the positives that will come out of it. My child has started sitting at the carpet. That's great. He now sits at a table for a 1-1 activity for short spurts. Those are short times in a long day and sometimes I forget them. But I have to remind myself that these are actually milestones in his development and they should be celebrated as much as when a child writes their name for the first time etc.

 

Trial and error. Build a relationship with the child. Try and remember that you are not alone and good luck!

 

D xxx

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i know what you mean, mousebat

I had a child in my nursery who was every teacher's nghtmare, but bec of the good staff ratio and diversitioanry tatics used we were able to contain his behavior. Also we didin't make his participate in activiites that required his full participation!!!!

But now that he has gone into recpetion at another school he has to 'fit' into a rec/yr1 class and is finding it very difficult to ........... Father recognises the issues isvolved but mother has rose tinted eyes and refuses to acknowledge the problem. Layes the balme on the teachers.

He didi not spend a long time with us but we felt we had just contained the problem not solved it. But the rec clas is quite different from the nursery.

I'm not sure if i should make contact with the teacher and give her some feedback from nursery.

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Hello and thanks for all the advice,

 

To be honest I have tried a number of these ideas already, and unfortunately matters have got worse. After a troubled week she has been removed from the family home and her behaviour has gone wild. Guardians are as stressed as we are. (Difficult situation to explain)

 

She doesn't respond to postive praise, stickers, playing with anything she really likes, sweets, stamps etc Her favourite phrase is "I don't care." My experienced learning assistant says she's never seen such a troublesome child.

 

She has been taken out of lessons to do special work but she often doesn't wish to go and causes my learning assistant problems.

 

We're having a meeting later on this week to discuss things but I can't see what there is to do, we are both stressed throughout the day and I feel the rest of the class are missing out (and their behaviour is starting to reflect hers). Previous education includes a private nursery where they had lots of problems, unfortunately they have kept NO paperwork. There is talk of her having a statement but they take a while don't they? The school says they haven't got the funding at the moment for any more staff and are offering little, if any, support.

 

I'm going to try asking her to sit at a table during carpet time to see if this helps as at the moment she keeps hurting the other children.

 

I'm going to keep on trying but i can't help but feel the school are just leaving me to get on with it, this is leaving me feeling a little deserted and useless. I'm also concerned that this is going to effect by induction year as behaviour is part of that.

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Hi Buttonmoon,

This is terrible in your first year. Who is your line-manager? S/he should come in and observe the child's behaviour; the head teacher too. If you're being left to get on with it, they clearly don't understand what the child is like. I know it's difficult to assert yourself in your first job, but you do need to, as reasonably as possible, get the management team to help with this. I would explain the dificulties you have begun to experience with the REST of the class, as a result of this little girl, and that your fears for the general behaviour of the class concern you in addition to the child's needs. I'd also mention that families are soon going to know all about the disruptive element, aand that concerned parents are going to want to see that something is being done.The school needs to present a united case for dealing with it, and for having the matter truly in hand.

I do hope you get some practical help soon; keep us up to date. :)

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This child sounds extremely distressed - poor thing. Statementing can be a long process (having been through it) and it's obvious from your description that the help is needed now. Your head should be able to ask the LEA for emergency if only temporary funding especially as school budgets are so tight. This is what has happened in the class I'm in. We now have an extra bod for five mornings to help with a rather troublesome little chap and also extra help at luch break. It's very hard to offer practical and useful advice when we don't know the full story and are not in your situation - sorry. I do sympathise though having been in similar situations on a few ocassions myself I'm afraid that's the nature of teaching you don't know what kind of class you're going to get! I find it awful that you are not being supported - maybe you should start shouting and stamping your feet! You are not useless at all. You're trying your very hardest by the sound of it. But please make a fuss - you don't want to make yourself ill.

 

mousebat

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Buttonmoon you have a really difficult situation here and shouldnt feel inadequate because of it. You are doing all that you can and although I appreciate it is hard and you want to do well sometimes other things are beyond our control.

It is really hard when you feel that the other children are responding negatively and I would do lots of circle time activities and fun things and keep hassling for support. Unfortunately if you cope you will be allowed to do just that!

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Just a few thoughts.......................

 

Can you not discuss matters with your mentor at school. Keep a log of incidents

log - 1. what caused the incident-

2. what behavior was displayed

3. Steps taken to tackle the i incident.

 

This can form a basis of all further talks with school management or with parents and paren,pupil services. you will have systematic written proof.

This will also illustrate all the different strtegies you have used.

Most LEAs and parent pupil services will have behaviour managment specialists. (we had one who came to speak about tackling bullyng) See if you can get them on board to give yu tips and support to manage behaviour.

 

Best of luck and keep asking for help. You shouldn't be asked to manage this on yur own.

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To be honest i know its hard for you guys to comment its just nice to hear im not alone. This child has lots of problems and i feel bad i cant help her. This meeting is one step in the right direction so fingers crossed...

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Well suggested Leo that is the one thing I think we have all neglected to say. Buttonmoom if you are not already doing so it is crucial that you keep a written log of all behaviour. Remember to mention positives too and try and write as soon as possible after a major incident. This will form an evidence bank and is vital if your school is going to ask for extra support in any form. Its another burden on you but may help you to get things off your chest, so to speak, anyway.

You are not alone so keep shouting/ talking to us!

Good luck.

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I agree, keep a log of behaviour, including times of incidents, what you tried, what worked and what didnt.

 

It is very difficult to give specific advice about how to deal with a child without being there in person and having a lot more information. The main thing that yuo need is the support of other professionals in school, and probably of outside agencies after that.

 

Have you spoken with the SENCO? This is her responsibility, and she should be kept fully informed. Written notes will help you with this. I would ask her if she could come in to observe and give advise. Be careful with taking the line of 'I tried x y and z and nothing worked' as she will want to give advice that you need to try out again. It is not productive to try one thing after another, as then nothing will work. What you really need is a carefully drawn up, written, agreed behaviour programme that eveyone needs to follow. Consistency is the key. But before you can draw one up, you need to have poeple working together to decide what it needs to look like.

 

Small, achievable targets are needed, with clear strategies for achieving them. Eg, aiming for a whole session on the mat is going to be a non-starter, so you need to start with something like 'Sit on the mat for the first three minutes of story time' then decide what you are going to do after that - eg 'then go with Mrs X to (eg)help set out activities/read a story together/work on pencil control 1:1' Once you have a clear plan in place for the most troublesome times, you will feel more in control and the classroom will run more smoothly.

 

Involve everyone in drawing up and following through on the action plan - and review it regularly. At first, you will want to do this informally with your TA every day, then every week, but make sure you feedback to the SENCO and anyone else involved. Be careful not to get tired and too negative about progress. Tweak what needs tweaking, but be aware of every success, however minor it might seem compared to the other children. For some children, sitting for one minute on the mat is a major achievement! Make a note of it, and think about what you did to make it happen.

 

Yes, statementing can take a long time. Paperwork - clear and concise - is essential to the process. But there are resources available in the meantime. Ask the SENCO about other services - some LEAs have behaviour management advisors who will come in to work with you, others have people who will come in for NQTs, Social services may be able to offer some support and even funding for help for this little girl. (but be tactful, don't go in asking for money, but ask for advice and support!) Your SENCO should know what is out there, but the first step is to have a coordinated approach within the school.

 

I hope that this helps a little. It is tough coming across a child like this in your first year, and I hope that your school gives you the support and help that you need.

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I had my meeting today and although it was helpful to know this behaviour is not occuring with just me i haven't really come away with many strategies.

 

We're working on a few small steps like people have suggested so hopefully that will be a step in the right direction.

 

Thanks for all your advice and help! x x x

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Buttonmoon,

Sorry I haven't contributed here, feel bad about that. It's not that I don't feel for you and understand (I do! I do! Have experienced it!) it's just that everyone else seems to be so helpful! So just have a hug (xx) and I'll keep thinking about you and the whole situation.Maybe inspiration will strike!

Good luck

 

Sue :)

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Buttonmoon,

 

My thoughts have been with you too, although I haven't had anything constructive to add. Just remember that this is a small child you are dealing with and if you can reach her on any level you might make a real difference to her life. Keep on trying, however difficult it might seem and eventually you might start to see small changes. There are no easy fixes I'm afraid. :o Regardless of what life throws at me I try to keep a positive outlook. Just think, if you can manage to come through this with your sanity intact, future years are going to seem like a doddle. :D

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