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Are UK kids/teaching situations really as bad as people say?

Discussion in 'Overseas trained teachers' started by Ann B, May 27, 2007.

  1. Hello! I'm pursuing a job in London, and I keep hearing that UK students are more difficult, and schools are harder to work with in the UK. I understand that there is often culture shock and adjustments, and I don't expect teaching in the UK to be a piece of cake, I just want to sort out the exaggerated rumors from a realistic point of view.
    Any help? This wasn't a judgement so much as trying to get a grasp of the real situation. Oh, I'm coming from America.
     
  2. Hello! I'm pursuing a job in London, and I keep hearing that UK students are more difficult, and schools are harder to work with in the UK. I understand that there is often culture shock and adjustments, and I don't expect teaching in the UK to be a piece of cake, I just want to sort out the exaggerated rumors from a realistic point of view.
    Any help? This wasn't a judgement so much as trying to get a grasp of the real situation. Oh, I'm coming from America.
     
  3. It totally depends on the school you are at. I'm posted at an inner city school and it is absolutely fabulous. I have so much support from the management team and the children have their moments. I wouldn't change a thing but I know that it is not the same for everyone. Just give it a go!!
     
  4. As said, it totally can depend on which school you're in and then which class you have. I had my own class(Yr.5 and then 3)and now I'm in my second year of supply. I have some lovely days but for the most part, behaviour is a problem. My first own class was a real handful.
    Overall, I'd say behaviour is worse here (I'm from Canada), you will have good days, bad days and days from hell.
    But ultimately, it will depend on your school, the management and the particular class you get.
     
  5. No it is not that bad.

    It is much, much worse.

    Just look in the headlines for the amount of gun related crime and the number of yufs stabbed and or shot in the last week.

    A friend visited a hospital because of a suspected heart attack. On A&E that night there were 3 separate stabbings involving young teenagers and 3 kids (around 13-14) who had been severely injured in a drink-related road accident.

    If your intended school is in Hampstead or somewhere nice, it is probably but have no illusions.
     
  6. typo
    'probably OK'
     
  7. There are **** schools everywhere. If you've seen one you've seen them all. I've taught in them in both Canada and England.

    The difficulty with teaching in the Uk is that the shortages of teachers are in the **** schools (largely) and places where you can't afford to live. The nice jobs are taken by teachers with QTS and the leftovers are for OTT's. Also, if you are not familiar with the area you will not know (until you get there) what kind of school it is likely to be.
     
  8. The last posting is absolutely true.

    If you start walking north or east from Liverpool Street station in the City of London- one of the wealthiest areas of the planet- you soon walk into various parts of the East End. The degree of ghettoisation is amazing. It is impossible to tell from a map what a place is like and where the unofficial boundaries between poor and well-off areas are.

    Even places like Brighton, Scarborough et al. are now full of homless druggies living in hotels. Very sad.

    Gun and knife related violence has never been more common. Prisons have never been more full of young people. The suicide rate among young males in prison is shameful.

    Drugs are a big part of teenage life in the UK, even among rich kids. Cannabis has had a profound effect on behaviour in the last few years, and has even caused an increase in the number of teenagers seeking help for severe depression or other psychiatric problems.

    Then there is also the question of teenage pregnancies, which are at an all time high. Binge drinking, obesity and smoking... OK, issues in other countries as well, but in the league tables for pregnancy the UK leads the way!

    It is now even higher than Ireland!
     
  9. I worked briefly in a school in a 'deprived' area and it was ok. This is definatley the exception to the rule.
    A major issue for me (apart from having to deal with unruly kids all day) was the fact that the children and their parents know the system. They are highly deceitful and will do anything to keep things going the way the are and keep you from making any changes that will benefit their education. I had several occasions when children or their parents told blatent lies about me because they were p--d off and wanted to get back at me. I never suffered any difficulties from this because the heads all knew it was rubbish but I know that under the right circumstances it could have been big trouble. I decided I was never teaching in these areas again because it wasn't worth putting my teaching certificate at risk.
     
  10. The UK school system is significantly different than almost any other system in the world, particularly compared to North American systems. Over 3 years I have found the basic skills of students to be significantly lower, due to the fact there is no need to 'pass' anything, they are simply passed on. Several of my year 11 students currently at a 12 year old reading/writing age are strong examples of this. The behaviour is significantly worse here than to any school I have taught at in Canada. Those who say it is similar and there are bad schools/students in both countries are diluting themselves into believing something that is simply not true.

    Now that said, I wouldn't trade my experience here for anything. I have been in a special measures school (came out in December) and it is particularly difficult. I am now confident that I could teacher anywhere successfully. If you are mentally strong, and expecting a massive change you should be okay but I won't lie to you, my wife and I are 2 of the only OTT's to last as long as 3 years in our school. Most wash out in the first 3-4 months (we lost 4 before Christmas last year!). It is an experience well worth trying although most of the horror stories you have heard are probably true.

    Good luck, k
     
  11. Well I've taught in some pretty unpleasant places in Canada!

    How would you know whether they are worse in one country than another? My impression was that the UK kids are not as well behaved and cannot read as well as Canadian kids. But this may be because of the schools that I taught at in the Uk. As I tried to point out - as an OTT you will see the worst and it won't be balanced by seeing the best.

    We pretty much passed them on from one year to the next in Canada as well. I think the main difference was that professional teachers were expected to provide programs suited to a child's stage of development when I was in Canada (or have a pretty good explanation why you hadn't). In the Uk you have to teach the National Curriculum (regardless). If you have done that properly you have done your job well. It's the child's problem if he/she hasn't learned it. It's the difference between a child-centered approach and a curriculum-centered approach.

    Any of the international assessments of reading ability I have ever seen show Canadian children ahead of their British (and American) counterparts.

    I am in Toronto right now (on holiday!). I live near the Bloor subway. It's interesting. There is hardly any graffiti. Just bins for recycling. And the buses will let any single women off along the route after 9pm. It's a different kind of place!
     
  12. Read the Behaviour forum. While often you get the real horror stories, I think it gives a fairly accurate account of daily life in schools today. But then I live and teach in central London.
     
  13. I teach in what is considered a deprived area in Norfolk UK, and I have taught at almost all the schools in this area - as the first couple of posts stated, it is entirely dependent on the school, it's intake and the support you receive within the school.
    I am now permanently based at a school where they acknowledge that some of the kids are very difficult, but don't get hung up on it. Those kids are dealt with appropriately by Senior Management if necessary, and we have a system that gets those kids out of the classroom if they are causing major problems during a lesson (obviously followed up on afterwards). I am very happy here, even though the kids can have their days.
    Skills-wise I have to agree with the person who said that their skills aren't very good here. I taught 3rd, 4th and 5th language English speakers in South Africa who had better basic skills than many of the students I teach here. Many of the kids reach high school without being able to read/ write effectively, but this is a system fault that will hopefully be addressed with the literacy intervention schemes being piloted.
    I came over as a supply teacher for an agency originally, in order to get an idea of the schools in my area before accepting any permanent posts. This helped me get a more rounded idea of what I was going into. I will not lie, some days I considered leaving teaching. But now, having found a school that I feel I will thrive in, I enjoy my job.
     
  14. London SUPPLY?


    How much can I expect,


    I've been offered 120 GBP from HAYS and 130 from another agency. Is this average?
     
  15. UK kids and UK teaching situations are as bad as people say. It is not a case of "balancing" out good classes. There might be good schools but, if they don't need OTT, they don't really count do they?

    The proof is really in the pudding. UK test scores are very low compared to other countries in english, science and math.

    http://www.pisa.oecd.org/document/50/0,3343,en_32252351_3...
     
  16. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    You shouldn't need me to tell you that league tables are good for nothing and even PISA should be taken with a pinch of salt as even OECD admit it is difficult to compare like with like across different countries and educational systems. But anyway, for what it's worth, in 2000 England scored well above the OECD average of 500 points in English (7th overall), Maths (9th overall) and Science (4th overall). In 2003, results from the UK were not even taken into account because of the low rate of return and I'm just looking into the 2006 results now.

    Not like in Germany, where I work, where they did so badly across the board that the parents are desperate for a dramatic change to the whole education system and the government and those involved in education, being German, are almost flatly refusing to admit that they could be wrong in any way, shape or form.
     
  17. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Occasional commenter

    "Not like in Germany, where I work, where they did so badly across the board that the parents are desperate for a dramatic change to the whole education system and the government and those involved in education, being German, are almost flatly refusing to admit that they could be wrong in any way, shape or form."

    I'm a little concerned about the tone of the remark "being German". But maybe I'm just too sensitive.

    As for being in denial, methinks that England/ Britain/the UK could give the Teutons a run for their money here. Yes I know they tell us year after year in our country that we have 140 000 incompetent teachers, or has it risen since the days of the Blessed Christopher, but they are certainly in total paranoid denial over behaviour, non existent work ethic, routine mayhem in the vast majority of classrooms.

    Admittedly statistics only tell us a limited amount, and international ones are even more fragile than national ones, but they do at least give us a place to start the comparisons.


    Apropos PISA stats, am I not right in suggesting that the latest ones have either just been published or, if not, they are due out on Tuesday 4th December at the latest? I don't recall any rockets being launched by the government here recently which does suggest to me that they might not bring unalloyed good news to Tony & Gordon. Nor for David, let it be said.

    A well, back to tinkering with the structures. "How about para-independent-non-state-quasi-autonomous-voluntary-free-standing-public-schools? Might they vote for that? Would somebody bung us a few million to have their name on the letterhead?"
     
  18. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    Sorry if it sounded insulting. Wasn't meant to be. Just that the Germans don't really like to change much is all. That's why the system still exists as it is and a myriad private or state approved alternative schools are popping up all over the place in the hopes they can do something differently (though if the one I work in is anything to go by, it's more of the same up to now).

    Yep, the new PISA is out on the 4th. From what I've heard the UK hasn't done fantastically anyway. I think really it is a good starting point for flashing up areas of concern within a country rather than comparing who does what best (or appears to).
     
  19. BigFrankEM

    BigFrankEM Occasional commenter

    I really would like to know from someone who works there whether the much vaunted "parity of esteem" within the 2/3 tier German system really exists? It certainly seems to fly in the face of all my experience that German parents should welcome attendance at a "secondary modern". [Or has the comprehensive system made more headway there than I think?]

    Comments on day to day classroom reality there would also be very interesting, given what hell life is like here.
     
  20. invincible

    invincible New commenter

    Oh it exists all right. It's Gymnasium or bust for most and mostly middle class kids get there and the minorities are left behind. There is a call for more comprehensive schools but, for now, the three-tier system remains and it looks like it will for some time to come. As for day-to-day stuff, it's the same as the UK - behaviour probs etc.
     

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