Getting to know your students is never easy, especially in the first term of a new school year. But now that you’ve spent some quality time with your class and the distraction of the Christmas holidays has disappeared, this is the perfect opportunity to gain a better understanding of your students both as learners and people.
By doing so, you’ll be able to build strong relationships and a favourable rapport with your class, which in turn can help you become a master of behaviour management. Throughout the rest of your career in education, you’ll soon realise that this is an invaluable and indispensable skill.
Below are a few excellent behaviour management tips, which you can pick and choose depending on you, your school, or each individual student.
Be a detective
Using SIMs or a whole school equivalent database, spend some time researching information about your students. For example:
- Family situation – Do they have siblings at the school? Are their parents still together?
- Reading and spelling age – This is important regardless of the subject you teach.
- Background and situation – Those on Free School Meals, with English as an Additional Language and Pupil Premium could need additional support.
- Behavioural record – You might not be the only teacher struggling to cope with a troublesome student.
- Education and ability – Finding out whether your students have a Special Education Need or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
Observe your students elsewhere
One of the perks of your NQT year is a reduced timetable. You should use this additional time to your advantage, as there’s a strong chance you’ll never be in such a privileged position again.
Take the time to observe your students in other lessons to see how they learn and act with other teachers. Try to mix it up with your choice of lessons and teachers, as this should offer insights into students at their best and worst.
Some factors affecting their behaviour might be out of your control, but everything you observe should come in handy for the future.
Speak to colleagues
The best resource for help, information, and advice at any school is your colleagues. Whenever you have issues with a particular student, reach out to your colleagues and ask them questions – have they encountered the same problem, and if so, how did they solve it?
Start with their form tutor, head of year, or in the case of primary, their class teacher from last year. They do not need to speak with the student in question, just simply provide some insight. You never know what you might discover too. For example, there could be something going on at home such as an unwell relative.
But while the list of things that can affect an individual’s behaviour is endless, you might not be allowed to know the details because of child protection issues. However, even if this is the case, you will know that your student’s life isn’t going well, and can act appropriately while they’re at school.