Why a misbehaving student should not be sent to another teacher


EThis is a common part of a school’s behaviour system; if a child is misbehaving in class, they’re sent to another colleague to work.

I personally think it is a weak system. Here’s why….

Sending them to another teacher that has a class

  1. If a child’s behaviour isn’t good enough in one class and they’re sent to another teacher, they may go on to misbehave. They’ve potentially disrupted 60 children’s learning in one period.
  2. Depending on the teacher they’re sent to will depend on the outcome. Staff that struggle with behaviour management that get sent a student from somewhere else will struggle. Consequently, those staff with strong behaviour management may get more than the fair share
  3. The teacher will have to constantly check a student, that will probably be doing different work, is getting on, thus distracting from their own class.
  4. Students are inquisitive. They ask why that student has come to their class. All you need is for one student who knows the incoming student to make a comment and then their presence in the new class becomes problematical.
  5. It some cases, the student will enjoy the class more than their original class and will then protest that ‘Teacher Y is better than teacher X’ or their ‘class is more fun’. This creates divisions and the child may deliberately misbehave in their original class just to get into the ‘fun’ class.
  6. Often, sixth form classes are used for the student to ‘sit at the back’. Why should sixth form lessons constantly be disrupted? How is that fair? The teacher will also be conscious of the student, will have to check on them and depending on the subject being taught, it may not be appropriate for a younger student to be present.
  7. One student may be fine, what if a department have 8 classes on at once and they all have one misbehaving student? It is impossible to send them to one colleague.

Sending them to another teacher that doesn’t have a class

  1. ‘They’ll sit quietly and get on with their work’ – this might be the case but they can sit quietly elsewhere and do their work so the member of staff can ‘relax’ during their non-contact lesson.
  2. Teachers have the ‘right’ to have time out from students. If it is your one free period of the week, why do you want to have a student in your room?
  3. Depending on the circumstances, a student may want to talk to the teacher/ask about the work. A teacher may be busy and could do without an added pressure on their time.
  4. PPA is for planning and preparation, not looking after misbehaving students.
  5. As 5 above, if this student knows the consequence is to go and sit with this teacher, they may start to choose this rather than to misbehave.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that teachers shouldn’t take responsibility and contribute to the whole school community but in the vast majority of schools where students misbehave it is much better for students to be sent to a specific room (isolation/withdrawal etc) where one person looks after these students than to possibly cause more issues for other students, other staff and waste learning time. It is then for the teacher and HOD to attempt to resolve/organise a consequence/meet with the student at another time.

I’m not sure why schools use this system. I get the feeling it may ‘water down’ the overall impression of poor behaviour and thus leaders may feel there aren’t behaviour issues. Misbehaving students are located all around the school, instead of in one room. If student A, misbehaves in every period 1-5 and is sent to another teacher, they may well not be picked up by a behaviour manager. If they’re in a separate withdrawal room 5 times in one day it is clear there’s an issue and someone whose role to deal with this can intervene to get them back on track. You would hope it would get to period 3 and they may not even get to period 4/5 as they clearly aren’t engaged. It’s preventative instead of reactive.

Leaders may argue that departments need to manage themselves. This sort of leadership, in my opinion, is weak and often an indication that the leaders themselves cannot manage or do not know how to manage the whole school behaviour.

Overall, I think this system puts unneeded added pressure on teachers in schools to ‘deal with it themselves’ instead of taking a whole school perspective on behaviour.


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