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RELOADED: The Disruptive Girl

March 14, 2008

This is a rewritten version of an entry that has appeared previously but is no longer available. Apologies if you have read it before.

I described Jordan, the archetype of a naughty boy, in a previous entry.

The problem girl, Chantel, is very different. Chantel is older and studying for her Key Stage 4 qualifications. She wears make-up and has modified her school uniform dramatically through a variety of accessories and by losing her tie at break. She has a large group of friends who, nevertheless, seem quite close-knit. They have a strict hierarchy in which each girl has a place signified largely by volume. Chantel’s position is as the leader and this is signified by her greater decibel level.

This friendship group is very dedicated to the discussion of make-up, television, clothes, parties, what Darren said to Chelsie, and who committed what sexual acts with whom. Chantel’s major issue with teachers is their expectation that these conversations will cease during lessons. Anything that prevents the conversation, (eg. a seating plan, a request for silence, the setting of work) is a sign that you have failed to respect Chantel’s World. It is particularly grating if it is a subject where Chantel is not particularly gifted and she risks achieving less than those of a lower social status.

The first priority for Chantel is to establish dominance in class by provoking a confrontation. Not working, and sitting, mirror in hand, doing her make-up is a good first strategy. If this doesn’t work then other back ups include: doing her Design homework (unless it’s a design lesson); asking to leave the room to get something from a child in another class; declaring undying hatred for the subject; complaining that somebody else in the room smells (accompanied by the extensive and hazardous use of aerosols); or accusing a girl who isn’t in the gang of giving blow jobs to a skanky boy in Year 11.

Once the confrontation has been engineered then the argument begins.

You see the thing is:

  • She shouldn’t have to work at school, she’s going to be a beautician.
  • She’s just doing her make up, it’s not big deal.
  • Her Design homework is really important.
  • Your subject is gay.
  • Darren really does smell (and so do you), and unless toxic amounts of deodorant are sprayed into the air she will be sick.
  • And Nicola is a slag.

And she can’t believe that any teacher thinks she shouldn’t be saying this, they should chill out, get a life, get out of her face, and stop being “puh-fetick”.

And now the routine has begun. Techniques honed over years of bullying other girls are now to be used against an adult. You are the pathetic teacher who has given her a detention “for nuffink”. She is not going to work in your lesson ever again. Neither are her friends who also hate you. Any complaint you make about her is a lie and all her friends will back her up. You don’t understand the rules. Everybody else lets her do her make up, talk to her friends, listen to her iPod, text message her mother in lessons, turn up twenty minutes late and tear up her book. Nobody believes you anyway as you are a rubbish teacher, everybody says so even other members of staff. She is not going to work (and neither are her friends), if you get in the way they’re going to shout at you, or walk out, and they’re all going to do it because you are in the wrong.

And puh-fetick.

Of course, it’s all your fault, she doesn’t have a problem with anybody else. You are the only one that gives her detentions or complains about her behaviour.

Except for Mr Canning.

And the teacher who taught her your subject last year.

And Miss Everitt. And Mr Peters

But other than that she’s fine for all her other teachers. And it’s all your fault, you can’t teach and your breath smells. And even if you manage to get her moved into another class she will come to your classroom anyway to talk to her friends and verbally abuse you.

There’s one benefit to Chantel’s routine. You can use it to test the quality of a school. In a good school then somebody in authority (be it Senior Management or a good year head) will get to the gang and threaten them with parental involvement if they ever cross you again. Chantel, for sake of her position, will comply with this request, after all the fact that Chantel has to be asked to behave by somebody important just shows what an important person she is. In a bad school you will be told it’s your fault for having a bad relationship with the students and you can do nothing but count the days until Chantel leaves at the end of year 11 (or becomes a perpetual truant). The implicit message from SMT in these cases is clear:

Chantel’s right. You are puh-fetick.

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10 comments

  1. I don’t want her touching my hair, either.

    Please keep us posted. I want to know how it goes when she’s finally busted for good.

    You will, of course, get comments from “teachers” who truly believe it’s all your fault for not being interesting enough or kind enough or understanding enough or knowledgeable enough about her home life/lifestyle, but the fact is, life is full of choices, and this girl and her minions have chosen to be idiots.

    She’s in almost every class, every year. It makes me lose heart.

    And you are absolutely spot-on correct about the difference between what a good school will do in such cases, and what a bad school will do. Or, rather, what a bad school will NOT do.


  2. Oh, this is spot on!

    Our Chantel is just about held in check. She has – Lord help us – decided that she wants to stay on past 16, and has been told that compliance is a prerequisite.

    She habitually becomes ill on test days, particularly when she has failed to study for the tests, because she is just too busy with more important things like her part-time job. (Needed to pay for all the make-up.)

    In different subject departments she has: claimed to have a pulled neck on a test day; burst into tears and started screaming when an external examiner had to see her (only to be seen happily stuffing her face with crisps in the pupil area five minutes later); faked a heart attack. (SMT actually had to call out an ambulance.)

    And she has to have her mobile. It’s her human right and there might be an emergency, you know.


  3. “You will, of course, get comments from “teachers” who truly believe it’s all your fault for not being interesting enough or kind enough or understanding enough or knowledgeable enough about her home life/lifestyle, but the fact is, life is full of choices, and this girl and her minions have chosen to be idiots.”

    When I first posted this I had a number of people make comments along the lines of: it’s the teacher/school’s fault for making her do pointless academic work when she is clearly going to become a beautician.

    Of course, she is a composite and none of them people she was based on have, to my knowledge, become beauticians yet. If I hear of Chantel again it’s because her younger brother tells me she’s pregnant or because she is trying to get back into the sixth form to do resits and worthless vocational qualificiations. I have even known Chantel to get offered a college course in beauty (or whatever it is) and turn it down because she can’t imagine leaving school. When a girl tells you she wants to become a beauticians she means she wants to do her, and her friends, make-up all day. It’s barely more credible than the boys who think they are going to become professional footballers because they want to kick a ball around in the park all day.


    • “I will be a beautician” = I want to do make-up all day.

      “I will be a professional footballer” = I want to kick a ball all day.

      From my experience:

      “I will be a manager” = I love spending money.

      “He [she] loves computer science” = he [she] spends all day playing Counter-Strike [chatting on Facebook].

      In the last example, at least the pupil does not claim that s/he is good at computer science, because s/he understands the difference. Only the parents don’t want to see the obvious.


  4. [...] presents RELOADED: The Disruptive Girl posted at Scenes From The [...]


  5. [...] my disdain for Chantel and Jordan and their efforts to disrupt the learning of others I don’t actually hate children. [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (72.34.53.165) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP () and so is spam.


  6. [...] students to behave in a civil and mature manner.” This is exactly the point repeatedly made by a secondary school teacher in Britain who blogs at Scenes from the [...]


  7. Ah yes, the Chantel/Latisha/Donna/Tasha/Samantha of the average British comp.

    I have dealt with many of these over the years. Each one more sickening than the last. You pick up the phone to talk to the parents and then you realise oh yes, the apple hasnt fallen far.

    I remember a colleague of mine making the mistake of giving a Chantelle (real name) a 5 day exclusion for bringing in a blade. He found his car vanadised so badly that afternoon it had to be written off.

    But that is an extreme example. I have found the best way to alter their behaviour is to remove them for about a week and then put them on a strict contract for a full term. You will almost never have the parents on side so there is no point trying to involve them. The girl and her parents will bleat and whinge but if you dig your heels in you will win in the end. I would claim 80% success rate on this tactic. other tactics I have used; honestly 0%.

    contract:
    1. Never to bring any make up to school
    2. Never to socialise in any lesson
    3. Never to argue with the teacher
    4. If chantel/Tasha is unusure on any issue they may seen their Head of Year at lunch

    Any violation: 2 day external exclusion.

    Kids HATED this; staff LOVED it. Rarely did we have to resort to exclusion.

    So you can beat the Chantels of this world if you stand shoulder to shoulder. frankly its what we pay our taxes for. Because Chantel is likely in your sons class, or your daughters class or your neices class.


  8. one of my Chantel’s was in my tutor group. she left school 4 years ago. i happened across her facebook page last week, which she has open to the world. she says now she wishes she had worked at school, ‘got ‘er ‘ed darn’ as she says.

    I work at a bad school, the new deputy head feels we teachers are responsible for the behaviour of the students in our class. This is the first year I have been sexually harrassed and openly humiliated by students in my year 11 class. This is also the first year I have felt that for some of them I won’t go that extra mile that I usually would. This is the first year that I have actually felt dislike for some of the students I teach in that class. and its also the first year I have had a parent apologise to me for having to teach their child

    I love your blogs; they keep me sane. Enjoy your holidays


  9. lindsey;
    may i ask what happened to the student who harrassed/humiliated you?

    perhaps your union/LEA should be informed?

    this tends to concentrate the mind of the SLT who are supposed to be upholding school policy and in this case possibly british law

    if you sexually harrass a student you might get a custodial sentence or be dismissed.

    and the law is clear that this incident should in no way affect your promotional chances or your career. In fact it would be an expensive mistake for any school to not follow the equal opportunities legislation on this issue.



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