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Help - how do I help my student?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ld7675, Nov 8, 2015.

  1. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    Hi, I have not been teaching for very long and have been given a pgce student to work with for over a term. I don't feel that I have the experience or answers to work with the student, I am not the mentor, a member of SLT is. The trouble is, the course the student is on has taken the approach of giving them two weeks in university and then sending them on a long placement with a weekly contact day at university, expecting them to teach up to 8 hours. My student has very little experience of primary education and the university has given them no training on the basics eg planning, questioning etc.

    Can anyone give any advice as to the best course of action? I don't want her to fail but need the children in my class to make progress, but the lessons she has taught so far have more or less been prepared by me and delivered by her as she is not ready to do much more, behaviour has plummetted, making it harder when I teach the lessons, and when I do try to explain things with her, I don't feel that she is listening. Help please!!
  2. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    Difficult to answer this one as you haven't really explained what aspects of teaching she is doing now. Is she teaching one subject, for eg., or a variety? Are you team-teaching or sitting in while she does it by herself? (She's not on her own already?) Could she jointly plan a lesson with you and then deliver it herself with you supporting? Could she plan bits of a lesson (eg. starter, or plenary) and deliver them, making sure it ties in with what you are doing? Has she observed any other teachers? Has she got a list of specific things to focus on - for eg. behaviour management, marking, questioning etc., so she can try and get better skilled in specific areas rather than trying to be good at everything in one hit?

    Also, if she is not taking on board what you are saying, could you have a word with her mentor? They will have to have the overview of how she is doing, and any problems should really be addressed sooner than later for her sake if not yours.

    I don't know if any of this will be any help as I'm not primary, but it might be useful for her to break things down a bit and focus on one thing specific this week, and another next week - perhaps you need to talk to her mentor anyway to get some help with structuring what she does? As you say, you haven't the experience or all the answers (though you will have more than you know, and you remember your own training?) Look on this as a part of your own development as a teacher, and in that case it would be entirely sensible to ask for advice if you're a bit stuck.
    ld7675 likes this.
  3. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    In addition to the above advice, could you give her a list of a couple of books you have found particularly useful for planning and behaviour management. One for behaviour management I recommend is Taking Care of Behaviour by Paul Dix. I do agree that it is better to break things down and focus on one thing each week.
  4. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    If you have issues you need to speak to the mentor at school, asking them the questions you pose here. ASAP.

    In my experience - many years as a professional mentor in a secondary school - you never allocate a student teacher to a new or unconfident teacher.
    wanet, ld7675 and midnight_angel like this.
  5. banjouk

    banjouk Occasional commenter

    Your pay progression may well be linked to the progress your class makes this year. I'd think twice about having a student teacher in my class these days,
    grumpydogwoman and FolkFan like this.
  6. Kartoshka

    Kartoshka Established commenter

    You say the student is expected to teach up to 8 hours... does she actually have to do this much so early on? Or can you build up to 8 hours over the course of the placement? It does sound like a lot is being expected of her quite early on in her training. If possible, it sounds like she would benefit from being given some smaller responsibilities in order to build up her basic skills, before being given responsibility for teaching a full lesson.

    In my first placement on my PGCE I started off doing a lot of observation and working with a small group after the main carpet input. The class teacher and I did some joint planning, which the teacher taught (so I could see some good practice); gradually I started doing bits (eg. maths starter, phonics session), building up to a whole class input followed by some group work, when the teacher thought I was confident enough. In the last weeks of the placement I planned a couple of lessons by myself and talked them through with the teacher, who made a few suggestions/improvements, and then I taught them myself. It took time to build up to that point, though.
    irs1054 likes this.
  7. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I endorse all the comments to date but reading down the thread I was thinking the same idea as this. Small sections of a lesson, demonstrate a method (10 mins) etc. to build up the skills that are evidently lacking.

    At the same time, FF has it nailed. You need to have a word with the mentor as a matter of urgency.
    grumpydogwoman and snowyhead like this.
  8. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    Hi, I have had a word with my mentor, she is concerned about her teaching and doesn't want her to teach too many hours in key areas eg maths and english due to the affect it will have on progress. I've given her some hours in the afternoon which involve topic work where there is less pressure to make progress and have given her a behaviour management focus.

    I agree it's ridiculous to give me a student as haven't had time to bed in myself, the school has taken on a group of pgce students, there are some year groups with very challenging children that they can't be placed in and so there are three of us with equally limited experience that are being saddled with them.

    As to thinking twice before having a student, I wasn't given the option, was told two days before that I was having one. The student has taught small chunks of lessons, and I have more or less told her the lesson plan I would deliver, giving her resources and advising what misconceptions each group of children may have. I am keeping it to one maths and one english lesson per week, building on the teaching hours in the afternoon which are more creative - eg dt, geography etc and am staying in the room (when I left her for a short time so I could assess a group of children last week a fight broke out so never again).

    This week I have timetabled her PPA to be at times when I know I need to get my own work organised for the day and have tried to give her tasks to do where I don't feel that she is dependent on me all the time.

    Is it just me and my experience of my own school based training or are training providers dumping students on schools less prepared than they should be? I did a School Direct course and got very little useful training for the job from the training provider, it was too theoretical and did not really give me good grounding in planning for progression or assessment which I would have thought were fundamental. Will it get any better? I think if things don't improve I will have to speak to her mentor again with my concerns. Not sure that it will have a beneficial effect, I have had several quiet words already.
  9. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    It is which is what I'm worried about. And she has to teach 8 hours by christmas. I think I might be able to get away with it including PE (supervised) in the afternoons.
  10. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    That's simply not acceptable. Difficult to say 'no' now, but that's what I would have advised if asked in advance. What has been done is neither fair to you, the student or your pupils. If I were a parent of someone in your class I would be furious at the lack of planning by your school.

    If the student can't be moved elsewhere, can they be 'shared' between two classes?

    At the very least, as others have said, your pay (and maybe your career in this school) depends on the progress achieved by your pupils - given that I wouldn't let the student teach any Maths/English for a long time.

    Quite frankly I'd be questioning whether this is a school I'd want to work in - 'breweries' and '**** upsa' come to mind...
    midnight_angel likes this.
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    This sounds like a university based ITT PGCE so this must be the first placement of the academic year, in which case the student teacher should be teaching no more than 50% of timetabled lessons building up to about 75% in second placement and 90% in third placement (which mirrors the timetable for an NQT). The whole point of having a reduced timetable is so that the student can observe other experienced teachers and carry out other tasks related to the standards for the award of QTS.

    In my experience as student and primary class teacher, the first placement is all about getting used to the ebb and flow of a primary school - routines, planning protocol, duties of different roles in school etc. rarely should a student teach whole lessons to whole classes in this placement.
  12. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Sadly a sign of the times when so many experienced teachers, who would be very happy to pass on their time served experience have been 'let go'.
  13. bananatree84

    bananatree84 Occasional commenter

    I am doing the school direct route and am meant to be doing 40% of the teaching now, but have little behaviour management experience. You are meant to just ask for advice and have one day a week of very general training I.e. The other week we were at forest school, but no training in planning and as yet none in behaviour. I really hope I improve but it is hard going without any real training. I think the school direct scitt route needs looking at, are we really going to be high quality teachers?!
  14. Amylicorice

    Amylicorice New commenter

    Yep. I had a student last year, on the last of his placements. He was smart and we got along very very well. However, he took ALL of my time. I was exhausted by the end.
    Even though he was judged as a final grade of 'outstanding' he still left the students books in a mess (of course he did- he's new). And I had to fix behaviour management. Fortunately progress didn't take too much of a dive.
    I think any school that asks a teacher to take on mentoring understands that there will naturally be a 'dip'. It's just a dip that I'm not too happy about. Yet alone the very real possibility that you may have a student teacher with you that requires improvement. That is tough and needs to be discussed in a transparent manner.
  15. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    Hi, it was a long time ago that I posted. Still in same situation. School based mentors did not move student, who is about to finish the very very very long placement. I have very nearly walked out of the school at times, had a meltdown, and have had apologies from SLT who have realised what a mistake they have made. I cannot see how this training route is suitable for those with limited experience.

    In a nutshell, despite heavy support, and many failed observations, school have been told by the training provider that they don't fail their student teachers and so when mentors come in they insist on passing lessons which are inadequate (children walking round the room, talking, copying answers etc). The student is as a result under the impression that it is the school, not them, that is at fault. I cannot wait to have things back to normal again. This is not an experience I will ever repeat.
  16. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    I did that route as well, the training we had was shocking, no planning training, behaviour management consisted of bits being quoted from Sue Cowley's book, and the maths training was just a bunch of nice investigations that we had to do. It took me until half way through my NQT year to understand how to teach maths properly. All post graduate teacher training needs to be revised I think.
  17. bananatree84

    bananatree84 Occasional commenter

    We have not had any behaviour management training at all and it is almost Easter. In all honesty, I had only volunteered in schools before applying for the SD route and of course only did group work not whole class teaching, and I don't think I should have been accepted on the course without experience in whole class teaching and behaviour management as I am struggling massively.
  18. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    Mentoring a student is becoming more and more of a challenge. I have been mentoring for 11 years and the quslity of students is definitely going down even though they all have very good degrees. Last year my school had probably the worst student i have ever seen.Totally clueless. Never listened to anything class teachers told her. I was screaming cause for concern early on. University tutor came in and said things were fine. PCM got the tutor in a second time as clearly things were not fine. PCM refused to sign her off at the end of first placement but hey the uni let her continue. Second placement school had the same issues and surprise surprise refusd to sign her off. The student made a formal complaint and claimed neither schol had supported her adequately. I spent hours working with her as did my colleagues fact is some people are just not cut out for the job. Incidentally the uni passed her though as far as i am aware she hasn,t got a job
    ld7675 likes this.
  19. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    I think this is the root of the retainment crisis, some of the young graduates coming out of uni have no life experience and not the breadth of experience that a BEd course would give them. They have been told how brilliant they are for years and the reality of school hits them very hard. I think there should be a mandatory year minimum of working in a school as a ta for all post grad routes, the shortage of teachers has I think meant that anyone with a couple of weeks experience and the willingness to pay back a loan can get on. Universities cannot fail students as they are Ofsted victims too so failure makes them look bad. Maggie M your situation is identical to mine, school tried to finish the placement but provider said no and a contract had already been signed by the school to provide training. There are only so many jobs I can give the student to keep them away during the last few days now, it's awful.
  20. ld7675

    ld7675 Occasional commenter

    I have just read my last sentence, which sounded worse than intended. What I meant to say is that as the student has limited social skills and are extremely hard work I am trying to get her to do things that don't involve being in the classroom with me all the time. Three teaching days = 18 teaching hours. Not too long then.

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