The unexpected life of a teacher… IOM

During the second week on my Isle of Man placement, the pupils acrossick kids the school began to become ill with the norovirus. At the end of the week, on the Thursday, the school was closed for a deep clean over the weekend. As Monday approached, the children and teachers thought this would have been done, however it wasn’t, therefore no one was allowed in the school. 

This is when it was decided by the Headteacher and the Department that the school/pupils/teachers would utilise the old Fair-field School building for the duration of the week. Therefore, as of Tuesday the school was moved and everyday life continued. 

However, the school life was not normal. Due to the lack of equipment in the building (only furniture) and the change of children’s concentration/behaviour, teaching could not be carried out as effectively as it usually could. 

The children carried out many tasks; reading, small maths activities, Easter craft as well as Easter cooking. The children who attended gained a great deal of respect and appreciation for their school as it came to the end of the week the children began to realise thmanxe massive difference a change in environment can make. Even though formal teaching was not as accessible as usual, continuous provision was ongoing. As well as this, trips to the Manx Museum and the local library and park also occurred. 

Another dilemma the school encountered was the debate between the name of our new pop up school, the headteacher was interviewed by a local radio regarding this (Yes, that is me in the feature image… I am famous!)  Interview

I learnt a great amount from this experience. I learnt that teachers lives are not as simple as some may make out, as many occurrences can happen which will alter a whole weeks planning, or a sports event, or a teacher bake off… however some encounters may not be as drastic as ours. 

I also learnt and experienced how a school can come together as a unflexibleit to meet the needs of the children including being flexible. Regardless of the limited teaching, the children had various of learning experiences. I also learnt how to carry out a risk assessment for school trips and how to manage children in these situations. 

I had to scrap my original lesson plans for that week and plan completely different ‘spare of the moment’ sessions that the children could enjoy and engage with. Not all normal school life encounters changed, behaviour was still in order, with usual routines and the children still did their 10 minute zumba every morning… just on the play ground instead of the hall.

The third week of my IOM placement was an unexpected one but it is one I am most proud of and one I will share for many years to come.


Behaviour Management

Underpinning principles:

  • All behaviour is communication-how you or children behave in a given situation, response to the situation, what is the child communicating;
  • Everyone has an internal working model-how are people going to treat me?
  • The brain and body are inextricably linked- nobody can help having emotions and feelings, trigger physical responses, you can choose how you act but not how you feel, children haven’t always developed to think how to react so they just react emotionally;
  • Children arrive in school with a range of experiences-all children arrive in school with different experiences, don’t stereotype families/children just because of their backgrounds, all families are different;
  • In parenting ‘good enough’ is good enough;
  • This is not about blame- do not blame the parents about the child’s behaviour;
  • We are NOT therapists- we are there to support children.


Different types of behaviours:

  • Attention seeking;
  • Controlling;
  • Bossy;
  • Poor resilience;
  • Tantrums.


Some ways to manage these behaviours:

  • make sure you know your children,
  • if you know a child needs attention then you will have to set something up through the day so they feel as though they are getting attention-prevents attention seeking from happening more frequently.


Key Terms:

Attachment- attachment theory concerns the process by which human beings bond with their first caregiver, usually the mother, laying the foundations for the formation of self-image, the building of relationships and self-regulation.

Internal working model- this internal working model is a cognitive framework.



John Bowlby- developed attachment theory with a primary caregiver and notion of an internal working model.

Mary Ainsworth- developed the theory to include different styles of attachment which in turn were evident in different types of behaviour.

More recently- more recently in the terms of Disinhibited Social Engagement and Inhibited Social Engagement have been used to describe these patterns of behaviour.


The Attachment Cycle:

Need: Child feels helpless/not able to meet own need;

Distress: Parent responds adequately: eye contact, touch, smiles, food;

Relief:  Child’s needs are met, child calms and relaxes;

Trust: Child does not trust that needs will be met.


If you’ve got a parent who sometimes responds and sometimes doesn’t, this can be problematic, as well as if a parent doesn’t respond at all. A child’s needs will not be met constantly so their needs will remain high, along with their stress hormones which can become toxic level which can impair all kinds of things.




Why self-calming matters:

  • Self-calming is learned from caregivers in response to a need;
  • Calming the body, calms the mind;
  • Walk-this calms the mind.


What can cause difficulties with attachment?

  • Pre-birth stress- self-harm, domestic violence;
  • Alcohol or drug use during pregnancy;
  • Parental illness pre or post birth;
  • Ante or post natal depression;
  • Prematurity;
  • Medical complication;
  • Illness or bereavement;
  • Neglect/abandonment;
  • Poverty;
  • Instability;
  • Multiple home or school placements.


Types of attachment and what they look like:

  • Avoidant-seek to meet own needs, self-sufficient, emotionally distant, shut-down, dissociated, difficult to connect with, isolated, values achievements more than intimacy, task orientated, over compliant, anxious to keep others happy, avoids confrontations, feels safe when in control, prickly or socially uncomfortable about the proximity of others, occasional flashes of aggression when over anxious.


  • Ambivalent- aims to have needs met by means available, clingy, manipulative, attention seeking, ‘in your face’, fears not being ‘held in mind’, unable to trust adults to identify needs accurately, constantly on edge, high level of anxiety, hostile, resentful or rejecting of others when frustrated, unable to focus on tasks unless supported, feels vulnerable if others’ needs take precedence, leaves adults feeling exhausted or drained.


  • Disorganises- erratic responses, bizarre or extreme behaviours, desire to shock, take risks, control, conflicting behaviours-craving one minute and rejecting the next, fears being or appearing vulnerable or dependent, poor self-awareness and empathy, perceives self as unworthy of care, help, love, highly anxious, over- or hyper-vigilant, reacts to unseen triggers.



What do children need from adults?

  • A safe base-secure attachment figure(s);
  • Emotional containment- receiving and understanding emotional communication without being overwhelmed;
  • Shame recovery- avoiding a shame based identity;
  • Attunement- insight or being ‘held in mind’;
  • Reciprocity- both involved in initiating, regulating and terminating interactions, learning that relationships can be repaired and negativity recovered them.



Behaviour management – changing actions in a context – usually done to alter negative behaviour

Hotspots for behaviour means the times it management may need to occur – routines changing, transition in environment, low level disturbance (noise shouting out) keeping/gaging attention

Key principles

  • All behaviour reflects underlying needs and has a purpose
  • Behaviour is inextricably linked to emotions and perceptions
  • Behaviour is learned
  • Behaviour can change

The issues with behaviour is the problem not the child!

Different approaches for behaviour – rules rewards consequences (class or whole school choice)


The children you are working with:

  • Have a variety of backgrounds and experiences
  • Have different levels of social and emotional development
  • May feel anxious about their ability
  • May struggle with self -esteem
  • May experience high levels of stress
  • May experience significant barriers to learning
  • May have difficulty understanding unwritten rules or lots of verbal instructions
  • Will make mistakes and lack judgement




A model for thinking about behaviour (Ellis and Todd, 2013)





Rewards and Consequence as a strategy needs to e used sensitively

Rewards need to be explain to support the long-term effectiveness

Consequences need to be used softly so shame isn’t caused

  • Good to demonstrate respect to support behaviour
  • Your actions with children and staff
  • Listening
  • Planning good lessons and being prepared
  • Good role model
  • Poor lessons = poor behaviour
  • Ask the children how they think teacher should behaviour

Demonstrating Respect – Valuing Individuals

  • Some children have a history of failure – these children may engage in diversionary tactics to mask their anxiety
  • Some children have learned that the adults in their lives are not to be trusted – these children may push you to test your limits
  • Some children do not like or not interested in what you are trying to teach, they may fear exposure – be aware and recognise this is a valid point of view


Setting expectations before behaviour occurs is essential so children know how to behave

Clear signals for gaining children attention at all times

When managing noise, levels may be beneficial to let children practice their types of voices – spy, whisper, partner, group and outdoors.


Rules – should be few in number, describe the wanted behaviour long term support children in developing, define the ethos of the school, children support in making them at start of year

Routines are the tasks that need to be done to ensure a safe purposeful environment


Intrinsic and external motivation – important in rule keeping

People (Reiss 2013) believe all motivation is intrinsic

5 - 2.PNG


Teaching rules and regulations allows teacher to set expectations, models routine, structure throughout, allows practice.



4 steps to reducing unwanted behaviour

  • Clear directions
  • Acknowledge children who follow the instructions
  • Circulation around the class acknowledging the appropriate behaviour
  • Have a plan for following up

If the behaviour you want is not going to plan offer children choices and offer opportunities to reform relationships, offer reminders to children.

When Challenging Unwanted Behaviour

  • Remain very calm
  • Make eye contact
  • Voice low
  • Body relaxed
  • Separate the behaviour from the child
  • Remind the child of previous positive behaviour
  • State what you would like the child to do positively
  • Allow the child some take up time to process and act
  • Repeat as necessary and praise



In relation to behaviour management through engaging with this seminar and lecture I have developed knowledge of the underlying reasons for behaviour management and some reasons children behave in the way they do. In previous practice I experienced using rewards to manage children’s behaviour. This experience developed my skills in behaviour management however I want more opportunities within this area as on the previous placement myself and the other trainees worked together to manage the behaviour of the class and I would like experience in doing this myself.


Learning Theories  


Behaviourism is a theory which believe children believe in a particular way due to various aspects. There are two versions of this classical conditioning and operant conditioning. 

  • Classical conditioning is where children behave due to a stimulus and response. For example in school children could be taught through route. 
  • Operant conditioning is when children behaviour due to reinforcement. For example children could be taught by a teacher continually telling them to behave a certain way. 
  • Operant conditioning can be positive or negative. 

I have seen operant conditioning on practice in both positive and negative ways. Positively I observed this style when teachers used praise to condition children’s behaviour. On the other hand, I observed negative reinforcement when the teacher removed stickers from charts to condition behaviour. 

I used positive reinforcement on practice and this is evident in a hard copy of my portfolio.  


This is another learning theory and it is a child center d approach. This approach seems children’s as thinkers. 

Three theorists that have believe in this theory are: Piaget, Vygotsky and Bruner. 

  • Piaget believe that children learn in stages 
  • Vygotsky believe that children learn in a social environment and children follow through the Zone of proximal development 
  • Bruner believes in scaffolding children’s learning. 

Behaviour Management

Following the seminar and lecture on Understanding behaviour I evaluated the behaviour management I have seen on Professional practice, exemplar visits and volunteering. 

When on Professional practice, there were many behaviour strategies that where identified and they are listed below:


When observing these strategies in practice I developed an view on there impact on the children’s behaviour. For instance I feel that the strategy of distracting the child with a behaviour trait was a beneficial strategy as the child would be distracted with other tasks. On the other hand this strategy may not work with some children.

When I have experienced reception classes I have observed that their behaviour management strategies consist of reinforcement. This was observed on an exemplar along with when I volunteered. I feel that this is a good strategy for the age because it supports them in understanding why they can not use particular behaviour. 



As well as this, when in reception classes the use of rules was continually reinforced. The schools both had set rules which ran throughout the whole school. therefore, by having rules displayed and learnt at an early age this would support the children in following them if they understand them from a young age. 


At the beginning of Year 1, behaviour management was a target I set for myself. Following Professional practice and observing behaviour management I feel that I have grown in the confidence of this area however the strategies I use in the future would depend on the children I am working with. In my hard copy TSP a reward system can be found. This was the system fellow trainees and I used on Practice. 

In addition to this, when I am on my next professional practice I would like to continue to develop strategies for this area as children all differ in how their behaviour is conditioned.

Reception experience

This week I have had the opportunity to work with a class of reception children. I have logged the learning and daily lessons and routines in a diary which is kept in the hard copy of my TSP.


I have developed an understanding of the transition from nursery to a school setting. I have also experienced phonics, mathematics and different types of continuous provision. As well as this, I was able to experience a EYFS sports day.

Here are bracelets children made me during their free flow play time.





The  past two weeks have been based on Active Inspire and our Expression devices. The sessions have been hands on and I am still practicing and testing out the devices. I am exited to try them out in the classroom as I feel my knowledge of the devices will develop and flourish through these experiences.


Today’s session was out final session and started with a Alice and wonderland themed celebration. As well as he lowvky cakes, it taught me how acheivements can be celebrated as well as a learning experience. For example the theme of Alice and wonder land rand brought the session and offered fun activities using Klikaklu. A treasure hunt app, this would be great for science and also for assessment!


I will definitely use ‘Class Dojo’ on upcoming placements because I feel it is an excellent was to incorporate children and their parents. It also offers motivation to children in your class and can be developed further. As well as this, parents can log in and check the children progress in behaviour as well as seeing what their child’s one that day, this is done with a code so parents ca. Only see what their child is doing. This us supported me in developing my knowledge in TS7 which was an area for development of mine at the beginning of year 1. The teacher can ha he the point system/comments and points this could then link to areas the children are not doing so well in or are doing well in eg using their indoor voice.

Understanding children’s behaviour

Behaviour management (my definition)

Strategies and skills to manage and control any behaviour, so children can learn in a safe environment.


It is important to take your own vocabulary into consideration regarding behaviour. This is because what you say may caterogrious children’s behaviour as negative, when the child may be acting a particular way for a reason.

Rules I would like in the classroom.

  • Respect your fellow peers, teachers and school by being kind and treating out school and the people in it like you want to be treated.
  • Enter and leave the school and class room sensibly.
  • Take turns with others, let others speak and take turns in talking

When creating rules in a class room this is the consistent process that could be followed.


When offering a rule to the children I would go through this process by asking the children what rules they would like to put in place – offering suggestions to condition the rule. After this it would be essential to model this behaviour to the children and other members of staff. I would always ensure respect is given to all children and staff so the children learn and understand they have to do this. If the children see this behaviour they will be have a good role model and see a consistent behaviour and respect.

phases of incident

I feel that this process is important when identifying behaviour incidents before they escalate. If a teacher was able to identify the trigger stage to the acceleration stage and intervene, then this may impact the escalation of the behaviour incident. The teacher should know their pupils because it will then be easier to identify the change in the children’s behaviour. Therefore, I feel that the important aspect of this phase is to, as a teacher, know the pupils and identify when their behaviour is starting to deteriorate and stop this before the incident occurs.

Plan for how you will respond to situations when your expected behaviour isn’t shown. Also plan for building the relationship after the response. For example, when a child does not show expectations, a striker could be removed. Later on in the day, reward the child for showing the expected behaviour, giving the child that sticker back.

“Effectively managing behaviour is about building relationships based on trust and respect.”

I think that relationships are essential when dealing with behaviour because the children will then gain respect as there is a relationship with the teacher. Also if there is a relationship the teacher can learn about their pupils and their personality traits.


  • listen to the children
  • have an interest in what they are telling you
  • remember what children tell you
  • model respect with other teachers
  • show respect to the children  – e.g. do not use sarcasm

I feel that these areas are some of the ways to demonstrate respect to children.

CLEAR Expectations.

Teachers should support children in following the rules. If children are not clear on the rules it may make the children feel anxious because they don’t know what they are being asked to do. The children may then struggle to follow the expectations if they do not understand what is wanted from them.

Come back to behaviour expectations during the session to show that that children’s good behaviour is recognised. When praising ensure the behaviour rule is quoted to demonstrate to other children why the child is being praised.

Children all develop at different rates and have different strengths and challenges. Therefore, the expectations set my teachers regarding behaviour should be made age appropriate to the children – again relating to a teacher knowing their class.

Hierarchy of needs – if children’s needs are not met, this may progress to affecting their behaviour. For example, if a child does not feel like they belong in a class they may act differently to feel this need.

On Professional Practice, other trainees and I designed a reward system to condition the children’s behaviour. If the children shown the expected behaviour an emerald was awarded to their group. On the other hand if the children did not show what was expected an emerald was removed. An explanation and images of this can be seen in the hard copy file. 

This session and reflection link to Teacher Standard 7 as it links to managing behaviour to ensure a safe learning environment. It also links to Teacher Standard 8 because when managing behaviour is essential that teacher’s model and maintain the behaviour and professionalism wanted from the pupils.