Teachers Are Insane - Let Me Tell You Why
Nov 14, 2009 Teaching 2644 Views
I'm telling you that you're insane, eh? How insulting... well yes, but actually you are... and not angry but insane, deranged. What am I talking about?
Ok, I'll tell you. I talk to countless people in schools who are in major trouble and trying unsuccessfully to manage children's behaviour. I'm told all about it. What a child's done, that bad behaviour is increasing, that classes are behaving badly... nothing is getting any better. School staff talk indignantly that children's behaviour isn't improving, parents won't answer the phone or come into school, that there's something wrong with the child, the child's home life is hopeless, the parents are hopeless... it's a catalog of complaints. I talk to many parents too but obviously their slant is different -- this time it's that the school's hopeless, the teacher's hopeless, little Jack is being picked on, is misunderstood, or simply can't help it. An equally endless catalog of complaints but skewed in little Jack's favour...
Hm, many people unhappy, disgruntled, stressed and blaming everybody else for the dilemma of problem behaviour!
That makes them mad, does it? Yes. Why? Let me continue (I promise I'll get there eventually)...
I then ask people what they're doing about the problems they're having managing and changing the children's behaviour. They offer a list of strategies they've always used -- but then people tell me the strategies don't work (because there's something wrong with the child, parents, home life, etc). So, I ask, 'Why do you continue to use them if they're not working? Is doing more of something that doesn't work going to make it work?' No, of course it's not...
So that makes them mad? Using a common definition of madness, yes, it does. What's the definition of madness? Repeating the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. But seriously, what if you're repeating things over again because you don't know what the alternative is, or even that there is a different way of doing things? No-one's ever told you, you've had no behaviour management training, you haven't a clue what to do? So many people I speak to are in this position, from trainee teachers, those who've been teaching for years and head teachers who are trying to a grip on a deteriorating situation in their schools.
Ok, really I'm joking about people being mad. But many are being driven towards serious ill health by children's behaviour becoming more and more out of control. Just this week I was called to a school who have referred a very young child to me who is totally out of control. The head teacher had to send one member of staff home because they were at the point of collapse and allegedly the class teacher isn't far behind. All because of a 7 year old child!
That's not mad, it's sad... it's causing stress, unhappiness, poor results and all the associated ills in education and society at large. But you can do something about it... quite easily as it happens. Read about the techniques, practise them and apply them consistently... it soon becomes second nature. I follow my own advice every working day with the most potentially challenging behaviour from disruptive, unhappy and confrontational children.