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Feeling scrutinised by super-bright A2 students at new school?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by rm2014, Sep 20, 2017.

  1. DaisyJTurner

    DaisyJTurner New commenter

    As much as I agree with everything being posted here and you're not at their mercy, may I advise you work on your subject knowledge a little as well? It's not encouraging for high performing students to feel like their teacher doesn't know the subject well and in turn this may get back to parents. I've seen it happen.
    Lilac18 likes this.
  2. Curae

    Curae Lead commenter

    it's a very strict school and I don't agree with all of their policies however teachers are not encyclopaedias (certainly not new teachers). You build up knowledge during your career and experience will guide you as to whether pupils are moving off topic or whether their questions are actually useful to the topic being taught. Of course we should inspire them with extension questions/ clubs and or research work not really spending significant time in class on it. Yes a sad state of affairs but as teachers we need to juggle with what we have in terms of time (covering the specification ), knowledge and expected student successes at examination. Moreover the OP has clearly indicated that she is new and inexperienced and cannot answer some of her student's challenging extention questions. In these situations teachers need to have the confidence to say I don't know that but maybe you could find so and so out for me. This has worked marvellously well for me and my A level students. Sadly and as you rightly indicated this is not appreciated by Ofsted and we are left with little time to pursue such interests especially with the complete removal of science course work which in my opinion is a major flaw.
    jarndyce likes this.
  3. Curae

    Curae Lead commenter

    And likewise it is not encouraging for teachers to believe their students lack trust. OP will build up subject knowledge and at this stage is unlikely to be an expert. I am sure you were not when you were a young new grad. Brush up read up / inset by all means but this is highly unlikey to help the OP respond to challenging questions outside of the specification. She is having trouble responding to challlenging questions beyound the scope of the curriculum and clearly is well qualified to work in a top institution.What she is lacking is confidence NOT subject knowledge. Obviously if asked questions based on her specialism within her own degree she will be able to expand an focus eg the use of nano technology in hip replacement (incidentally NOT in any A level science) subject but very interesting. There is no way any teacher would have time to actually relearn this topic to then go on and teach it in class.
    So in short it's confidence NOT knowledge that is needed. Oh and incidentally the bit about getting back to parents ... not helpful !
  4. frustum

    frustum Lead commenter

    I agree that A-level teachers cannot be expected to answer every extension question their students may ask. Some, yes, but not all. I've certainly had to say "I'll come back to you on that" on occasion.

    In the face of students who appear to be testing, it probably makes sense to operate a policy of "that's beyond this course, so I'm not going to answer now", so that the lesson is not de-railed. Get them to jot the questions on post-its, and come up with a plan for those - eg spend five minutes on them at a later point after you've had time to check things, or dole them out one each as half-term research homework (perhaps with you adding a pointer of where to look, or a more specific question, so it's clear you're not just copping out).
    Maz86, crazypineapple and sabrinakat like this.
  5. Maz86

    Maz86 New commenter

    I have been teaching A level Philosophy for 10 years. The first couple of years were hard because of difficult questions and you do have to have the confidence to say that you don't know. Now sometimes I do the same. With a particularly tricky customer I'd try and get the answer to their question quite quickly. And I might say 'do you mind if we focus on the particular subject matter and then come back to that?'
    crazypineapple likes this.
  6. mollyhog

    mollyhog New commenter

    I've been teaching for years and I'm still waiting for someone to throw my classroom door open and denounce me as a fraud! I have no problem telling the A level students that I don't know the answer to some of their off-topic questions but I enjoy 'pondering' with them. Without a doubt they are far more intelligent than me, but the fact is I prepare thoroughly so that I can deliver the syllabus in the best way possible. I think they appreciate it, despite my short-comings!

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