Following the Advice

Vignette #1


I have been a subject teacher for more than 15 years. I teach History and German.  Among my students there are also many with various additional needs. I was a substitute for a class teacher of the fifth grade, who teaches Social studies. In that class, there was also a student with difficulties. I was not familiar with him. The class teacher informed me about him, she gave me some instructions, and I felt quite ready to meet him. I wanted to act according to her advice, but everything turned out badly. Her well-intended suggestions had the opposite effect. The student has become increasingly offensive, counterproductive and restless. I felt caught between personal anger and professional response. At some point, I simply decided to ignore him. It worked. I was surprised because it was opposite to the advice and experience of the class teacher and opposite to what I regarded as an appropriate teaching strategy. Ignoring is for me the worst way of punishment. 


I am puzzled because I am not sure if it is OK to use approaches, which are contrary to my own belief and to professional standards.


  • Discuss the situation with a colleague after the incident (Reflection tool – tool 23)
  • Discuss the dilemma with other colleagues (Collegial consultation - tool 21, Peeling the onion - tool 24)
  • Use some self- coaching techniques (Core reflection – tool 22, reflection - tool 25)
  • Get an impression of the class you are taking over (Talk to colleagues – tool 9) 
  • Try different approaches in the classroom with different students