Things I Wish Were On My PGCE But Weren't: Number 6 How to deal with the most challenging students

As a student and as an NQT, you don’t get to work with this elite group of students, unless one of your charges suddenly morphs into one. This raises questions about how you will suddenly learn how to deal with them just because you’re not an NQT any more, as there is nothing more to teach you about these than experience. Where does the experience come from? After your NQT, you get thrown into the lion’s den with them, and that’s that.

But in my own experience I was never completely isolated from this type of student. I taught a challenging class for most of my first placement, until it was decided close to the end of it that they were to be classed as too challenging for a student. During my NQT year, the other NQT at my institution had particular students removed from her class because of their poor behaviour, while they were left in mine.

Basically, although I wasn’t supposed to be, I was regularly stood in front of students deemed as being too challenging for me to teach with my experience level. With no training and no support.

You do have to treat students like that differently: you are limited in the types of activities you can reasonably include in your lesson for example. Why not teach this in teacher training, or as part of NQT support? Again, it feels as if there is a throw them in the deep end attitude to this.

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