The final piece: Dismissing your class

Paul Raynor

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

So here you are at the final countdown! You've finally made it to the end of your lesson so surely it is time for you switch off and tell the students to head off home...Or do you?

The way in which you dismiss your students is as important as the way you meet and greet them and treat them during your lesson.

 

Why?

Dismissing your class is still a critical part of your role in whole school behaviour and your responsibility towards whole school safeguarding of students. If you just allow students to leave as they please then it opens the doors for a free-for-all.  A handful of students will inevitably push and jostle for position, becoming loud and boisterous within your classroom and on the corridors.

Disruption will be evident for all to see on the corridors and some students, even though not intentionally, could become injured. The students who have become excited and boisterous will turn up at their next lesson in that frame of mind, making it difficult for the teacher to get a calm and positive start to their lesson.

If we look at what we achieve by a controlled dismissal, I hope you will agree the benefits are worth that extra effort from yourself at a time when you are ready for a break.

 

In summary:

  • You are continuing your journey to build and maintain a professional and respectful relationship with your students.

  • You are undertaking your responsibility in the management of whole school behaviour.

  • You are undertaking your responsibility towards safeguarding all students.

  • You are assisting your colleagues who receive the students you have dismissed in a controlled and calm manner.

  • The other side of the coin – if you do not do this then you are clearly failing in the above areas.

 

How do we ensure dismissal is done in a calm and controlled manner? 

  • Be calm
  • Be fair
  • Be consistent
  • Be in control

You need to have a system that flows in line with the way you have your class set out. Try ending your teaching a little early and calmly explain to the group your system and expectations regarding class dismissal.

Make sure the system you adopt is fair, ensure rotation takes place and that it easy for all the students to understand. Once introduced,  be consistent as if you start changing the routine without discussion, some of the students will challenge you.

 

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"If you need to give a student a message then remember to keep them short!

 

Be in control by placing yourself outside the door/corridor; it is your dismissal and you should be in control.

You may want to thank a student, or just let some students know you saw a behaviour and you expect improvement. This is ok, but it is not the time to delay students when they have another lesson to attend.

The students will become anxious about arriving late at the next lesson and in extreme cases they may well not attend. You are not doing your colleague any favours in that case!

If you need to give a student a message then remember to keep them short! It is common for some students to leave quietly and turn up the volume when they think they are far enough away from you for you to bother. Unless a serious incident takes place, this is not the time to challenge.

However, you must not ignore it either. Make sure at your next meet and greet with this group that you reiterate your expectations regarding class dismissal and tell them you need to see an improvement.

You may feel you need to inform them that any similar behaviour will be put through the sanctions system or you may feel they have listened to your warning and that will suffice at this stage. You have dealt with it, you have probably shocked the loud group who would not be expecting you to deal with it.

Keep chipping away in a calm, fair, and constant manner to build that professional and respectful relationship.

From meet and greet, through your classroom management to controlled dismissal please remember one thing – If you tell a student or group of students you are going to do something – DO IT.

The first time you don’t, students will perceive what you say as an idle threat and you will have undone your previous great work and undermined your own position.

 

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About our Community Expert

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Paul Raynor
Community Expert

Community expert and former Detective Inspector, Paul Raynor has direct experience in teaching educators how to better manage behaviour within secondary education.

Paul has experience with safeguarding, and has supported schools with writing behaviour policies in conjunction with senior leaders. He is an expert in his field.

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