I really wanted to share my experience of Behaviour Management throughout my time as a trainee teacher. In my last placement which I’m sure all third year students @PlymUni found challenging, I was lucky (or not so lucky) enough to be punched in the head by a year four pupil.
My first reaction was shock… I couldn’t believe I had actually been punched by a child and with such anger as well. How was I supposed to go about this? What punishment would be suitable enough for this child? Why did he do it? And that’s where I began looking at the bigger picture. What had I done for him to punch me?
The child was born with Alcohol Fetal Syndrome (For more information) He was of the lowest level in the class still working at p-levels. His behaviour was varied and he had no support which I did not agree with. Throughout my lessons and his own class teacher, he would constantly be distracting other children or just generally not paying attention. He would stare of into space, slap his own face and look around to see if anyone had noticed. In general, he was a very distracted young boy. I also found after studying him for the several weeks I was with him that he had no friendship group within the class. He was seen by other children as below them and because of his size as well as his behaviour, he was constantly ignored or bullied.
During the afternoon Science session I had been taking, he had been particularly naughty and so I sent him to the “Nurture Room”- a place for the children in the school with SEN where they could relax. During his time there, he had made Chocolate Rice Crispy cakes. When he bought these back to the class and showed them to me, I jokingly asked, “Are they for me?” When he replied, “No, they’re for my mum,” I said, “Aww, I would really like one. I think I might take one home with me!” To which I felt a thud in the head and heard a gasp come from my class.
Had I not thought about what I had done during the afternoon by taking him out of the class, I would have sent him to the head straight away. Instead, I asked him why he had done it. He simply shrugged his shoulders and smiled. This is when I took him out of the classroom to the SENCo (Special Education Needs Coordinator) and asked him to explain what he had done. Once he had finished explaining, I then explained what I had done/said. Taking these into consideration, she came to the conclusion that he should still be punished as no matter what, a pupil should NEVER hit a teacher/child/adult etc.
I felt so awful after this (he was given lunchtime detention every day for the week) but after serious consideration, if he had not have been punished for punching someone, what would he have done next or who would he have punched next? A child in the lower years?
As a student teacher I find it so hard to find the line in behaviour management. I feel I cope well when it comes to managing behaviour in the class when it is at its minimum. My confidence when dealing with much more serious issues however is not as high as I would like it to be.
How do other trainee teachers feel about this? Has anyone every come across a child like this?
Year 3 BEd Music