Dealing with disruptive pupils is usually the issue that is foremost in a new teacher's mind, and taxes some teachers well into their careers. It helps to know if there are any pupils in your group that most teachers in the school find hard to deal with - you will need to find support for these from the school management system. However, most pupils behave well for most teachers, and they will respond to a firm but fair approach, especially if you make the lessons interesting and useful. Remember to criticise the behaviour, not the pupil, and take an opportunity to praise the pupil as soon as possible after the incident for behaving appropriately. It is important for them to realise that they can earn back any punishments and this will encourage improved behaviour and concentration (there are exceptions to this; for example, swearing directly at you cannot be 'earned back' and must be dealt with by a senior member of staff). The key, as always, is to know each pupil by name (see later in this chapter, pp. 179-80).
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