Why Head Teachers Should Be More Aware of Children\\\'s Behaviour and
Apr 20, 2010 Career Development 2698 Views
So, is it true that Head Teachers in schools don't know what's going on in their schools, particularly -- in the realms of children's behaviour?
Perhaps they do -- up to a point! Perhaps many of them know about problems with individual pupils or particular classrooms. But, if that's the case, why aren't they doing something to address problem behaviour?
But, it appears that, in many cases, they really don't have a clue about the level of the problems in their classrooms and the negative impact it's having on teaching staff.
You don't have to look far for evidence of ignorance in the higher echelons of school management and staff being largely left to get on with managing children's behaviour with little or no effective support.
The behaviour of a little guy recently sent to my classes has had an awful impact on staff in his mainstream school -- and his behaviour hasn't done him a great lot of good either. The head teacher in this case must have had knowledge of the dire behavioural situation with the child because another adult was employed to support his behaviour problems. It seems to have been the plan to separate him from other children and out of the class because of the mayhem and destruction he was creating on a daily basis.
Unfortunately for the poor adult who has drawn the short straw and been 'allocated' such a child, they're then stuck with the situation in virtual isolation and the problem is conveniently forgotten. Understandable as it's being addressed, isn't it?
But, of course, the problems aren't being addressed at all!
An analogy is imagining that when you've accumulated debts and final demands are pouring through the letter box that you're dealing with the situation appropriately by slinging the unopened bills into a drawer and forgetting about them.
Your debt problem is just being ignored and isn't being faced and dealt with.
What happened in the case referred to earlier?
Was the support assistant who was left to deal with the child's behaviour managing the situation? No, she wasn't managing at all.
So, did the head teacher, or anyone else, check to see how things were progressing? No, they didn't. They probably asked in passing if she was ok, but when told everything was fine didn't take any more trouble... A case of out of sight, out of mind...
Why does this happen? Quite simply it's like the debt problem. Delving deeper means you have to admit there's a problem to be dealt with. Keep hiding the problem and you can delay taking painful action -- particularly the case when you don't really know what that action should be...
So, the debt keeps piling up and up... In the case of the child in school, the behaviour gets worse and worse... The problem isn't being addressed so nothing can improve. Unfortunately, it's human nature to allow problems to become worse than they need be. It's not intentional but it happens when it's considered too difficult to do what's needed. There can only be one outcome though -- things can only become worse and the behaviour more difficult to manage.
Why didn't the adult who was having all the problems ask for help?
There were probably a number of reasons. Perhaps she didn't want to admit she couldn't handle the child's behaviour -- that's what she was employed to do, after all. Her job was secure all the time the child needed 1 to 1 support for his behaviour. It's possible that she didn't feel that she could ask for help. Your own experience will tell you that when a problem goes on for too long it becomes increasingly difficult to broach the subject and request help.
Even more troubling was that she'd become accustomed to being abused on a daily basis. She was kicked, punched, spat at and sworn at every working day -- all by an 9 year old boy. This was suffered for almost 4 years and nobody did anything to help her. In the end she just accepted that was what she'd signed up for! How appalling...
Many classroom support workers are in the same unenviable position. Thousands of adults are being abused, threatened and assaulted by children in schools every day. It's an appalling situation -- and totally unnecessary.
The point is, why didn't the head teacher in this school know how desperate this problem had become and done something to alleviate it? Children's behaviour in a school is ultimately the head teacher's responsibility. In this case the head teacher eventually 'found out' what was going on and decided to call in help. Perish the thought that they might actually do something themselves -- in fairness they probably didn't know what to do.
What happened about the lady who was being abused? Harshly, at that point she was considered unsuitable and asked to leave -- she wasn't a permanent member of staff! After the event it was said that she hadn't been suitable from the start, but that problem was brushed under the carpet too! So, she was abused for years and then, 'Bye'.
What's the message for head teachers then?
Get out of your offices and make the task of discovering what's going on in your classrooms a priority rather than the daily box ticking exercises. Thousands of teachers and classroom support workers are struggling with children's behaviour and need support and guidance.
Learning how to manage children's behaviour isn't difficult. Consistent use of some basic strategies used with proficiency and confidence will soon have you as a respected adult in your class.