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Are there any decent new blood student / probationer teachers on the way up?

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Potatoes005, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    I was out for lunch with friends this afternoon, who are all retired. Two of them are retired Depute's and are stupid enough to be back working for Universities as tutors to student teachers. Personally, I think they're mental when they could be up the road with the slippers on watching Bargain Hunt at the age of 65 but that's just my opinion which is worth nothing.

    I know that say by 2017-22 there will be crisis in the baby boomer teachers retiring when there's nobody left to teach the weans and we are looking at class sizes of 40.

    But is there any decent blood on the way up in the student and probationer body to fill these gaps?

    My colleague who is out working with students in schools told me of one of his students studying English teaching. A cleverer and more knowledgable person you won't meet. Can they teach a class? No. But you need to practically strike a pupil to fail, so they'll pass and become an ineffective waste of space.

    Is it the case that there's such a bad press toward teaching, that there's simply not enough good quality candidates on the way up. We need teachers, we need future Heads, someone will have to end up a future Education Minister.

    Where are they? As it sounds like the quality of new teachers means we are becoming a dying trade like Blacksmiths.

    Sad, as I hope naturally my grandchildren would be able to get teachers and a Headie that was as good as me. (Naturally.)
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Is it a feature of the retiring baby boomer generation that they have to moan and put down everyone else as somehow less clever and competent?
  3. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Don't see how that answers a question.
    I wasn't a baby boomer so it can't apply to me.
  4. lescargot

    lescargot Occasional commenter

    I think the problem is that the good competent teachers (dare I say it like myself) often feel extremely undervalued and unappreciated. We put the needs of our pupils first and are chastised for it. There's something wrong there. We quite often can't be bothered with the BS required to get promoted. 'Just' being a good teacher, having great relationships with pupils, getting excellent results consistently and helping/supporting colleagues isn't enough any more. So many promoted staff I see have hardly taught (3-4 years in class) and they're on to 'leading'. Often it's in non academic subjects too - do they have less workload and more time to work on getting promoted. So, in answer to your questions the good ones with the right motives might be there. Will they be the future leaders? Doubt it!
  5. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    CfE bothers me more.
    We are educating (babysitting) confident individuals (ignorant feral weans) who have never been told they're s h i t at anything.
    The country will need problem-solving immigrants to accommodate the expectancy/dependency culture we are brainwashing the current generation with.
    puppyofdoom likes this.
  6. lescargot

    lescargot Occasional commenter

    I think if you're a decent teacher you can try to cut through some of the **** of CfE and mitigate its effects. I do lots of head in the sand in the BGE and focus on what I think is important!
  7. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    I think fundamentally my belief on new teachers is the right one - you can either teach or you can't.

    I think being a truly great and effective teacher is in you from the word go. I don't subscribe to the school of thought that it can be taught.

    But I've not heard a lot of good about what's coming through, and that's a pity.

    New young teachers, also, I expect will have nonsense of CFE, GIRFEC, AIFL and all the rest of it drummed into them and they'll all believe it, glugging the Kool Aid bottle dry.
  8. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    I can't say it often enough, or loudly enough... Pay teachers more. It's a very simple equation. More money = more people wanting to teach, so more choice of people likely to become good teachers. Currently we can't get any teachers, so quality has plummeted... Perfect time for strikes and industrial action, if there were better leadership from unions and more interest from members. Honestly. Google 'teacher's pay related to pupil achievement' and the research is all there. Ignored by government, of course; they absolutely do not value proper education and haven't since the 80s.
    bigjimmy2 and ScotSEN like this.
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You don't see how "yes" answers a question?
  10. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

  11. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Well, bully bible or otherwise, I do still maintain you're either a good effective teacher from the start, or you're not. I believe the ability to be a good teach is a natural thing that's within an individual and can't be taught.
  12. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    Sweeping generalisations from the old guard here, methinks. There are some NQTs in the last few years who I have seen blossom and it is with supportive colleagues and departments.
    Has the "one year probationer year, walkinto a 20K+PA job" of the last ten years lure delivered some chancers? Oh yes. Some deft snakeoil peddlers who zoomed up the promotional ladder - but no better or worse than those of us who went before
  13. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    I never zoomed up the promotional ladder thankfully, took me 9 weeks to become Head. I was 22.
  14. Gotanology

    Gotanology New commenter

    For a job requiring a postgraduate qualification the pay is woeful

    The teaching profession is being bulldozed into the ground

    I fully expect kids to be taught by computers soon then robots...
  15. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    Morning campers.

    Sometime I wonder about Pots. Is he really an ex Heidie or just a wind up merchant. The latter seems to be taking over! Ok, taking him at face value for the moment, we are going to have to disagree here. The argument that teachers are born not made is a cop out. It let's Heidies and other senior staff off the hook and begs the return of the situation which obtained when I started teaching. They gave you a year at college and three short teaching practices the. They chucked you into a school (jobs were plentiful ) and you swam or you drowned. Very often the latter, as tyro teachers were usually given the toughest classes and minimum non contact time. After a year, the Depute ic GTCS registration, talked to your PT and you might have been observed for an interim report, if you survived that long. If you survived a second year, registration was automatic. The idea that you could be taught the trade was anathema. All ****** of course.

    The 2001 agreement put paid to that or should have done if the training of probationers was done properly in all schools. One of my main regrets when I retired was leaving 3 excellent colleagues in my department with whom it was a joy to teach. Two had been probationers in the school and nurtured under the new system. The third had served probation in another authority where the model was closer to pre McCrone. Fortunately, she / he was a natural and had thrived despite the lack of support.

    What I found most rewarding was how being responsible for other teachers helped me to reflect on and improve my own teaching and also take on new techie stuff such as digi whiteboards, school / dept'l website etc. I think I was a far better teacher towards the end of my career than I was at the start. Old dogs can be taught new tricks if they are willing to learn!

    Ironically, what took the edge off the above (as I suggested in another post) was an SMT which lacked any to learn effective management skills and particularly behaviour management. Excuses were constantly made for the poor behaviour of the usual small number of twattish pupils who,would have responded more positively to firmer handling. Even more ironically, the SMT members concerned were all , as far as I knew, pretty effective classroom teachers but they could not work together effectively because they all shared the same basic philosophy of spinelessness. Naturally, they had all done the Heidie's course!

    Regrettably, we seem to be going backwards since money to mentor and support probationers Iain short supply and the training of HTs seems to be all about management rather than leading people (including pupils) effectively.

    And breathe ...
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  16. Dominie

    Dominie New commenter

    Apologies for any syntax , spelling or keystroke errors above. Tries to edit but this seems beyond the capabilities of the new exciting TES forum!
  17. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    On the day I was out with my friends who I mentioned, the question was also raised - why would anyone join the profession when other sectors are paying better money and offering better conditions.

    I do stand by the mantra - I believe you're either fundamentally a good and capable teacher from the start or you're not. However, I also believe that the training process for new teachers' is poor at best.

    I think from listening to those more in the know than me about the training and probation process, is that the "new blood" aren't (from what I understand) taught how to teach a class, or how to manage children. They are more taught the theories that underpin learning and teaching rather than the actual practice. I don't and never have thought that the course included enough teaching practice. How newly qualified teachers' are supported in their first year also varies far too much from council to council, and school to school.

    I had a discussion recently over the fact that there are a lot of people who probably are working in other sectors who considered teaching but ditched the idea over the pay and working conditions that are offered.

    There are I have no doubt some excellent young teachers' in the profession and on the way up, however, I think with the required pay uplift and improvements being made to workload and conditions the quality of young teachers' would improve, along with the numbers choosing teaching as a career.

    I do love a good barney on the forum, but I'm not trying to start one. Also, in any circle of life, not everyone will agree on everything.

    I'll also offer my apologies in advance for any errors in grammar etc.
  18. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    OK, as a relatively recent probationer who is now not teaching in Scotland, here's my thoughts.

    Can you train a teacher? Yes, you can. Some people are naturally good at it, and pick it up with ease. Others have to work at it and can become good through gaining confidence. I fall in the latter category - since I qualified, I've gained experience and my teaching now is significantly better than in my probation year. And my exam results support that.

    Pots is right, though, in there being too much concentration on the theory of teaching and not enough on the practice. It's a bit like learning to swim without getting in the pool - you know the strokes, but can't deal with the water. It's all very well understanding the principles of cooperative learning, but when you're faced with the bottom set English class whose idea of cooperating is everyone refusing to do the work set and you can't figure out what to do next, then it's failing.

    But I also think that you have to look at this alongside the pupils. When Pots was teaching, was there the same level of classroom disruption as we see now? Are people who qualify now really any different from those who qualified 20 years ago, or is it the pupils who have changed and made the job more difficult?

    As for me, I could be the "all-singing, all-dancing" teacher which sometimes the training institutions seem to want and expect. I want a life though.
  19. Potatoes005

    Potatoes005 Occasional commenter

    Amysdad - hits the nail on the head.

    In line with my friend who is out working with the University he is of the opinion that all the Uni's are producing is new teachers that can rhyme off a load of theory, and relate every aspect of classroom practice to something written in 1960. But that isn't enough. They are also churning out, or attempting to, a new generation of teachers' who are conditioned to believe everything that CFE and all that goes with it dictates.

    The notion that you can either teach or you can't is something I stand by. I do believe you have to possess natural ability from the get go, however, I would agree that people with the natural ability at the start can improve and can get better.

    Can't believe I'm going to say it, but in my day, when HT's were considered a threat and teachers' could discipline their class without fear of what rule they may be breaking or who may be recording them - teaching was an easier job.

    My daughter who has been teaching a few years has been told to "f off" more times than I was in my career.

    We need to start teaching our new teachers' how to run classrooms, instead of making sure they know how to analyse literature.

    I don't think the process is nearly robust enough to manufacture teachers' who are ready for what today's classroom has to throw at them.

    However, excellent points from Amysdad I'm glad they came out. Even if it has to be confessed I'm a bit prehistoric.
  20. brothermunro

    brothermunro Occasional commenter

    "I could be the "all-singing, all-dancing" teacher which sometimes the training institutions seem to want and expect. I want a life though."

    Exactly, 'do more with less' is slowly killing off the profession, more and more teachers are leaving and there are fewer and fewer people signing up (especially in certain subjects). The focus of teacher training on razzmatazz and glitz rather than 'how to survive your first year' and 'here's how to maximise performance and engagement with minimal effort'.

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