I have been in teaching for many years; nearly thirty years at Sir Christopher Hatton Academy. I had a good grounding in my first school in Northampton within the PE department. My main learning curve at the beginning of my career was demonstrating confidence in my own ability to understand, respond and support pupils. Some had very difficult backgrounds, but they all know right from wrong. Expectations for behaviour should always be high.
Clarity and Consistency
In my experience pupils like clear boundaries of what you expect from them; clarity and consistency is my mantra at all times. When mentoring new teachers, in the early days where pupils are being difficult, I would always say that it is never a discussion in the first instance. Remember that you are or should be in control of the situation. There could be the chance for them to share their views if necessary but they must wait to be asked. A firmness in voice is also important. You do not need to raise your voice, but instead to demonstrate that you are in charge and control. For example, it’s clear what you expect as a ‘done deal’, so even through might not agree with you, you are able to command respect from your voice and demeanour.
‘Firm but fair’
You cannot be a ‘friend’ and you need to remember the distinction between adults and children, especially with VI form students. Stick to your expectations in class, but also do not be afraid to ask for help if you are unsure what to do in a situation. It is not a failure if something doesn’t go quite right, doing something about it will help. Observing other teachers always helps you find tips that you can adapt to your own personal teaching style.