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    Inner city
    By Grace

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    MY biggest piece of advice for inner city children is don't yell at them. Many of them get that at home already, so it's no big deal. You will also frighten the poor quiet souls who are probably the ones you won't need to get to. The secret for me in dealing with inner city kids is being consistent. If you say no, mean no and don't change your mind. That's often the problem with parents in inner cities, they give in for the sake of peace. Children aren't stupid, they will soon get to know that you mean what you say. Have some music playing quietly as they come in, to set the scene. You can buy a CD with relaxing music on it. I would get them all together in the one place at the start of each day, say on the carpet. Do some hand movements for them to copy. Just say, Hands here, hands here, hands here and put your hands on your head, shoulders, knees, ears etc as you say it. This even works with older kids. Finish with the arms folded. Let them "help " make a new set of rules for the classroom. Ignore any silly suggestions and praise good ones. You could also make a pictorial display of the day's activities and talk them through it so that there are no surprises. These kids need a structure to their day, because many don't get it at home.
    It is really hard to do, but try to ignore as much bad behaviour as possible and praise the good stuff. This is exhausting, but believe me it works, because you are getting them to focus on the good behaviour. Most of them want to please so if you say "There is a boy sitting just beautifully, well done, you're great" you will see others copying him. Don't forget to praise them too. This will not work with everyone, but if you can get the majority on your side you're winning. Make sure every child has some success in what they do as quickly as possible, even if you only teach them a new rhyme with actions or a new little song. Praise them again and tell them how great they are. Celebrate their successes to visitors in the room and to their mums, using little certificates or happy face messages outside your classroom door.I could go on all day here, but I won't. Inner city kids are a challenge, but I can't imagine teaching anywhere else, because you get so much back from them, because in a lot of cases you will be the only stability in their world. I wish you good luck and I'm sure you'll get lots more great advice on this board. Grace

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