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I'm having a bit of a nightmare at the moment with my Reception class and would welcome anyone's advice!!!


I teach 25 reception children in a classroom which is shared by another reception class of 20 pupils. This situation would be easier if the teacher that I share with was willing to team teach, but unfortunately this does not seem to work. We don't have our own outdoor area, but use the playground, with very limited storage facilities, so it is impossible to set up this area and leave it set up.


The children that I teach are quite a challenging group who are boy heavy, with 1 autistic child, and several who have serious issues with their behaviour. Behaviour has been an issue throughout the year, and we have used lots of different strategies to work on this, but lately I feel as though I am tearing my hair out, and beginning to wonder why on earth I ever wanted to teach. I have nine years experience, and 4 years with reception, (which is my favourite age group) but would welcome advice.


A lot of the small world play and small construction play leads to destructive and aggressive play, even with lots of input and support from myself and teaching assistant. I have a group of children who can be quite violent when they don't get their own way - hitting, kicking, biting, and some who show very little respect for authority and who will push the boundaries for speaking to adults and bad language to the very extreme.


I feel a bit like I have moaned and moaned and moaned, all I know is that underneath all the show and bravado I have a group of lovely children, and would welcome any of your advice in how to deal with them


thank you

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I noticed you had no replies and to be honest I wouldn't know where to start to begin to help, but I just wanted to let you now that everything that your message said sounded very familiar. The class I had last year were AWFUL and I began to doubt myself and wonder why I was even bothering! But this year I have a lovely class! I guess what I'm trying to say is - It might seem bad now but things can only get better!

Hang in there, keep doing what you know best!!


If it helps any we have introduced TRAFFIC LIGHTS as a whole school approach to behaviour issues. If you are not familiar with it, let me know and i wil do my best to tell you how I use it!


Zoe x

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OK, I'll try my best! I use them in a partucular way, but i know that other members of staff use them differently to me!


Here's what I do....


We have a set of traffic lights on the wall - red, amber and green discs stuck on a black background.


We set out dead basic class rules with list of good and bad consequences, ie. stickers certificates, removed from an activity etc etc


Then the kids all start off with their names in the green disc. if they break a rule they get a warning, then if they break the rules again they end up in the amber! They can move back to the green if they show that they are following the rules, or if they continuue to misbehave they go into the red.


Going into the red usually means loss of a playtime or a visit to see the head.


I have just read back what I have written and it sounds awful, but basically the kids really respond to it and the parents soon pick up on it and are often heard asking their darlings if they stayed in green today. Some have even adopted their own at home.


At the end of the week, if they have stayed in the green they get to do something that they really like (sometimes called golden time) I admit its difficult to let them have golden time because our children choose most of the time anyway.


For most of the children just being in the amber or the red is enough to make them think twice, but thats just our kids I'm not sure it would work everywhere.


Maybe others can expand on what have written or add bits I have missed!

hope this sort of makes sense!


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You really do sound as though you are having a really tough time and I wouldn't be experienced enough to offer you much advice that may help you as you obviously have a weatlh of experience and have tried many strategies too which do not appear to be working. What I will say is that having had a similar problem (although much smaller) I know how easy it is to think that the problem is yours and as you say you are now questioning your own abilities but you are reflecting on how you can try and resolve the issues with the "problem" children. Sometimes I find it easier to stand outside the problem and look in - if that makes sense. I expect you feel as though you are really on their case the whole time, you can never find anything much to complement them on and it all revolves around negativity which is neither pleasant for you or anyone in the group and I bet they take up more of your time than any of the other children. One thing that I find generally works is the removal of any eye contact - it often works wonders - that's if there are no other issues going on but you have probably already tried this too.


Could you try and discuss again the problems you are experiencing with other teacher with whom you presumably are working quite closely (or not as the case may be) as you really need to be able to work together - have you spoken to the person responsible for behaviour management - what advice did they give - or have you spoken to your head - I think that you need someone to sit down and talk this through - you don't have to deal with it all yourself and presumably they will be there next year and the year after too - the children are not going to go away neither are the teachers who are expected to try and teach them. You are not a failure - you are giving it your best and it doesn't sound as thought there will be a quick fix here and you don't seem to be getting a lot of support - it's been a long year and its a very long term so have a glass of wine or two and think what's the best way forward. You are doing a good job and it's because you are conscientious and committed that you are feeling this way.


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Hi Ruth

I've been in that situation this year and think I may have found a way that has cracked it. In the morning when the chdn first come in we do morning work - all chdn sitting doing tracing/colouring or practising cutting skills. It is different every day and they all do the same thing. We initially let them chat but have recently asked them to do it in silence (sounds awful I know but there's more) and we have on a 'Wiggles' cd. The kids love the music and it sets a really happy atmosphere with the chdn all humming/working along to it. I personally think the kids in mine seem to be bringing alot of mixed up/aggressive 'feelings' from home everyday and it seems that with the happy music it makes them feel happy and for the last 2 weeks we have had such a lovely atmosphere every day. They only do this activity for 15 mins and then get on with the reception day/variety of activities as normal but it has really helped so far - touch wood (bangs on own head).

We also have golden tickets which have printed on them the good behaviours we want to see - sharing, being polite, good looking and listening etc. If a child does any of these they get a ticket which we fill out (tick approp box) and sign/date. It goes in the golden ticket box and then once a week a winner is picked out and can choose a prize from the prize box.

Hope this helps


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sorry me again

Have also just remebered in previous school we used the football yellow card - warnings and red card - time outs, which used to appeal to boys

Bye J

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Sounds like my class!!! We've just intnroduced golden time for half an hour - 45 mins on a friday afternoon. We have this jointly with the Year 2 class. This measn that there are 2 teachers and an LSA. Each adult then does an activity thta isn't done during the rest of the week(we had the same trouble with child initiated curriculum the Reaception and Year1 chn do a lot of 'choosing'!) For example today the yEar 2 teacher had a group of childrne in the playground with the hockey sticks, I had small groups of children decorating biscuits and my LSA had childrne digging and playing with a balloon rocket on a piece of string. Sometimes we visit the pond, do hand and foot painting...just really exciting things!! THe key seems to be that all the adults get involved and play with the children, even just playing board games. This makes it a really special time when you're not trying to do 59 other things.


At the beginning of each week everyone has all their golden time but if they break a rule after being given a warning they miss one minute of golden time. The children who are missing minutes rae always the last to choose an activtiy which generally means that they don't get to do what they want to do and the childrne who are a missing minutes have to sit in the same place as everyone else so they have to watch all the other children having fun!


It seems to have had a really big effect especially on the rowdy boys who want to be doing to sporty activties. we have gone from loads of children missing about 10 minutes each to 3 today all missing one minute each! we have never had any girls miss any of golden time...!


Hope this helps

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  • 3 months later...

What do you do with children who show very little respect for authority and smile when they have been told not to do something or keep repeating the bad behaviour?

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Hi Rocket,


I try to "not nag" and address unwanted behaviour with humour, ie:

to a child running " Did I just catch you running then?" (smiling like I've just caught him out but it doesn't really matter in the whole context of things).


Or when a child has been asked to sit on the mat for story and ignores the request, a bit of competition doesn't go amiss. " Quick, one place left, bet you can't get there before i do?"


Mine are preschool children, not reception.


when I did an event sample observation on how many times the staff "ask", "tell", "demand", "nag"(repeated demands) the children throughout the course of a session, it was quite revealing :o

I thought how I would feel if my husband spoke to me like that. Don't get me wrong, my staff are lovely, hard working and professional, it's just that we don't often think about "How many times we "command" the children compared to conversational dialogue as to what we want them to do next.




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