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Feeling slighted

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Saffron5, Jul 16, 2011.

  1. Saffron5

    Saffron5 New commenter

    My new head of department has made it very clear that I am not considered capable of teaching a top set but has not given a reason, what should I do?
    I have 9 years experience a degree in my subject and I whilst I would agree that I am rusty in some areas that is probably because I never get to use them.

  2. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Take it on board. Ask your HoD if you can observe them teaching the top sets to get a feel for it - Read up on gifted and talented provisions - ask to attend a specific course on teaching high ability students and installing pace and challenge into your teaching.
  3. That way, the HoD will be obliged to give you the opportunity to teacher higher sets. If you are being slighted unfairly, this will nip it in the bud.
  4. Perhaps building it into your PM targets could help?
  5. Same issue. Disappointed that two other teachers, who started same time as myself, have top set GCSE and Sixth Form classes and I, unfortunately, do not. Have sixth form Media Studies and Borderline Sets in GCSE. Shouldn't take it personally really, but can't see a logical reason why this should happen.

    I was ill for last month of last year, and maybe this is being considered an issue. I dont know and unsure how to ask!
  6. baitranger

    baitranger Occasional commenter

    He's not a ship. What do you mean-that he should accept that he's not good enough to teach higher sets?
    Is teaching higher sets more difficult than teaching lower sets, or is it just that higher sets are easier to control, less stressful to handle and therefore more enjoyable to teach?

  7. Have you perhaps got a reputation as being great with lower ability/ challenging kids?? You always getting these classes could be a compliment!
    In both schools I have worked in, the "best" teachers were put on C/D borderline classes and teachers perceived as not quite as effective often got the higher sets, as they are easier to manage in terms of behaviour, getting work out of them etc, and those kids often have supportive parents and are the kind of kids who work hard and do well whatever.
    When I became an AST me, the other AST, the HoD and 2nd in dept were the ones who took C/D sets and below as we were supposedly the most effective teachers.

  8. In what ways has he made it clear?

    You are in a tough spot because it is hard to change people's impression of you once they have decided it. That might because it makes people feel that they are incompetent at navigating life or reading people or such if they accept that they were wrong in what they had thought about someone.

    Maybe you could do something to show you have grown into the position like taking a class on teaching gifted and talented. That way the person can change their idea of you without sacrificing their belief (erroneous though it might be) that they had you dead to rights at the outset. They can say to themselves, "Oh, I was right, she was incapable of doing this before but she has worked hard at it by taking a class and now has grown into someone who can do it."

    For example, someone might have no business whatsoever working with gifted and talented or upper level students. But if that person has taken a bunch of classes on the topic and written an article about it and, of course, most importantly, gotten a reputation for studying or pursuing that topic through seminars, classes, etc. then people will generally acknowledge them as some sort of expert on the topic even though they may be horrible at it. So, I say, become the local "expert".

    When I was in my credentialing courses, we were taught a class on elementary education by a woman who was a self-proclaimed expert on teaching math to elementary school students. She was herself an elementary school teacher. The other college heads and professors identified her as the expert on teaching math to young children. When she was my teacher, I was quite shocked to find out that she was completely clueless about math. She would claim math rules that were just plain wrong and then do mini-lessons for us on how to teach this completely wrong math. That was my introduction to the idea that if someone claims an interest in a topic and claims to be an expert or specialist in the area, the majority of the people around them will not know any better than to believe them.

    So my recommend is to find a gifted and talented seminar to attend, write some silly articles about teaching gifted and talented, take a class if you can find one. Make small announcements about your activities in the area. It will take a couple of years but soon enough you will find that you've suddenly become recognized as one of the local authorities on the subject. It is totally ridiculous but most people around you really are that stupid. All the frills are much more visible to them than the substance. So gild yourself to the nines.
  9. baitranger

    baitranger Occasional commenter

    It's in their interest for it to be known that you are not to be trusted with higher ability groups because it then for other teachers' to take them.
    If they didn't want to take them, you would miraculously become the best person to do it.
    They like to teach higher ability groups because it's pleasant, the behaviour is better and of course the results are good, which adds to their personal success.
    Unless there are good reasons for the OP not to take higher ability groups, the OP should protest.
    For example, if and when the OP took higher level groups, were the results worse than other teachers' results with such groups?
    Does the OP have a lower class of degree than other teachers?

  10. Your system may work differently that ours. So with that caveat, here, teachers are pretty much powerless against their heads. If you were to protest against a decision by him/her, it would just set him against you even harder and then he/she would also begin claiming that you are insubordinate, not a team player, difficult to work with, etc. The only way you would possibly have any strength to do anything is if you are represented by a strong union who would fight for you. But even then you would have to have a case that the union thought they had a chance at fighting and a rapidly decreasing number of teachers are represented by a union. In many places, all teachers are now at will employees, meaning they can be dismissed at any time without cause. A tenured teacher is the only one who can stand up for themselves without the fear of immediate dismissal. So mainly here you have to obtain your goals very discreetly or softly because fighting the powers that be is generally career suicide.

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