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Honesty at Retirement

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by subman68, Jun 26, 2020.

  1. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    Dont post that much on here now but I need to get this off my chest.
    Fully staff meeting in school, we all had to go in. This so the HT could tell us all how great he is and that he is going to a new job. Yeah great but why do I have to sit through 35 min of you telling us that you are great. Just go and do one.

    Then we had the normal retirement. People standing up saying how great this old boy is, how he is a true inspiration and was born to be a teacher, loved by everything and has done so much for every pupil ever to set foot in his class. Now as a Guidance teacher I had real issues with this guy, refused to do bi level classes, he would just let the nat 4 fail/not complete the course. Refused to teach any Nat 5 if they were in his Higher class. Told people they were not clever enough for his subject (yes he was a science guy) I had battles with him as he refused to teach people in his class. PT would say that is just his way, but he gets good results. Yeah anyone can teach the clever kids.
    In short I just wanted to get up and tell the truth....Am I just a grumpy old man\\?
  2. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    He sounds awful. The only plus point is that you're not going to have to put up with him next term.
    Emzo and bigjimmy2 like this.
  3. xmal

    xmal Established commenter

    No one should be teaching bi-level classes.
  4. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    I feel your pain.
    We once had to sit through a morning briefing consisting the Head bemoaning that he hadn’t got a job he was interviewed for the previous day - how unfair it was, how lacking in judgement the panel was, how demoralising it was not to get this job, the interview panel didn’t understand the effect rejection had on him, etc. etc.
    All this to a staff room of people who had also ‘not got the job’ including a number whom he himself had rejected as internal candidates.

    And the 10 minute pre school briefing extended to about 25 mins for this (at the same time we were being admonished if we were late to form registration)
  5. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    Yeah. It's not the teacher's fault if some pillock in management or guidance thinks you can teach multiple courses simultaneously (I've got to do N3/N4/N5 maths all together in 3 hours a week; it's a case of "who do I neglect the most?"). Sounds to me like the guy had to triage to make sure the bulk of his students succeeded. I'd have been a bit more diplomatic about telling the kids who aren't up to studying science but it's arguably better that someone tell them in advance so they can pick something they'll be successful at.
  6. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    1) Teachers are odd. They really are.

    2) A new word should be invented for "management" in teaching. Most PTs, FHs, DHTs etc have literally no idea of how to manage people or an organisation.

    3) There's an awful lot of HTs that would be disciplined for the awful levels of morale in their school, had they been the heid bummer anywhere else.

    Fwiw, I was told yesterday, by an ex-colleague, that I was a great teacher. Totally unexpected, totally out of the blue - and very, very surprising. At my present school I am constantly pulled up by my FH for a stream of really trivial things and have never been told anything remotely positive wrt my teaching. A simple "thanks" or "well done" etc doesn't cost anything but goes a long way.

    I would imagine subby's HT has been mulling what he has done in (what we now call) teaching and simply feels insecure in that his achievements don't really add up to much.
    subman68, Marisha and sicilypat like this.
  7. MilkyBar Kid

    MilkyBar Kid Occasional commenter

    Yes, you get them in every school. I remember a former colleague who had become particularly skilled in filtering out the time wasters from his classes. He was basically a bully and would be downright cruel to the pupils he didn't want opting for his subject and set them impossible tasks leading up to their option choices. SMT were scared of him as well so they couldn't face the hassle if he didn't get the handful of A* pupils in his Higher class. It worked a treat every year and he ended up with the best results in the school.

    The problem is, of course, that these 'time-wasters' need to be taught by someone else, and they would be 'encouraged' to opt for less academic subjects, which we all know doesn't exist, so we would simply be passing the buck on to someone else.

    This is a long-standing issue in our schools which has never been addressed. We are basically qualification factories trying to shoe-fit everyone in the system to move on to further or higher education. We now give pupils three opportunities to pass (or moreso fail) a Higher, and so they scrape a C pass at the end of S6 thinking they are fit for uni. Back in the day I left school at the end of S5, as S6 was viewed as being for losers who failed some of their Highers in S5. You basically got one go at it and that was it. Some of my mates left in S4 to go on and do apprenticeships, and ended up doing well as electricians and plumbers.

    We need to have proper accredited, highly valued vocational paths for pupils which begin in S3 or earlier, providing them with the opportunity to do something which they enjoy, are good at, and has realistic career prospects at the end of it. What we have now is a system which allows pupils to sit any subject at N3 and N4 level which is a complete waste of time and they end up with a meaningless qualification which will get them nowhere.

    Over the summer I need some work done in my house so I'm looking for a decent joiner which are few and far between, and charge an arm and a leg for their skills, and quite rightly so. But if you're looking for a failed uni drop-out...
  8. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Excellent post MBK.

    It's the assumption by "management" that pupils NEED to be given the chance to take, eg N5. By the time we've got them to S4 we have 3 years of overwhelming objective evidence (academic as well as poor attendance and lack of homework and/or poor-quality homework) that said pupils are simply not capable of passing, yet somehow they MUST be given the opportunity.

    And then the parents come in and tell us what to do! And "management" is scared stiff of these people! Manage, f_f_s, do the thing you're paid to do.
    Marisha and sicilypat like this.
  9. mousey1394

    mousey1394 New commenter

    I agree with what you say about vocational courses. My school has done these in the past, usually through the colleges. The problem is that pupils doing car mechanics think that they just get to tinker with cars all day and not have to do the theory, so there have been issues with behaviour and the pupils are then sent back to school to do something else. Beauty/hair is much the same but often the lecturers stop turning up.
    Marisha and bigjimmy2 like this.
  10. mousey1394

    mousey1394 New commenter

    I could also say that some pupils, particularly in S5 are just slotted into classes where there are spaces even if they have no interest or are simply not capable of the work. I’m sure that I’m not the only teacher to have had a pupil who barely scraped S4 put into a Higher class.
    Some guidance teachers are worth their weight in gold, others are anything but.
    I don’t think you’re a grumpy old man, I’m sure the majority of us have had to bite our tongues on these occasions.
    Marisha and bigjimmy2 like this.
  11. leapingtim

    leapingtim New commenter

    I have been teaching multi level classes for 39 years! I imagine you have been too.
    Emzo likes this.
  12. Hubris

    Hubris New commenter

    Look pal, it might not be exactly your own fault that you seem to have, in your admittedly long and one supposes illustrious career, missed completely the omnishambles that has befallen Scottish Educatiion in the past twenty years (Higher Still, anyone?) but let's not pretend that it's a wholesome way to nurture 'Successful lLearners' or even 'Confident Individuals''.

    Money spent on the SQA would have been better spent in the classroom, but then I would never have been able to have a wee lunch at Parkhead while someone from the SQA failed to answer questions anent assessment.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  13. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    So do you just let kids fail and refuse to teach 2 levels? Every teacher would agree there should not be bi level but in the real world it happens. By refusing to teach the “stupid ones” as he called them it compounded the issue
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  14. leapingtim

    leapingtim New commenter

    Ah, you are over here!
    It’s not that I have missed anything, my point was and remains, that it is too simplistic to just blame SQA for everything. Someone on that other thread is blaming them for a lack of safety this coming August!! SQA tries to deliver what is requested by Scot Gov. often I’ll-defined, under funded and at short notice. CfE was the brainchild of the Labour Party yet they escape blame on forums like this.

    I think my school does exactly those two things you mention. I have seen many confident and successful learners. The Parkhead lunches were quite good but in my subject we were well directed and questions answered. I never detected any dodging or obfuscation from SQA guys.

    Overall, I have always found such events helpful and informative.

    Ps- long but not really illustrious

    Cheers pal, stay positive
  15. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Lead commenter

    I would suggest that if teachers organised and refused to teach classes with divergent courses (some subjects have courses that articulate rather well, I understand) the problem would have had to be solved rather than ignored.
    sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  16. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Don’t think many courses articulate that well in classes of H/N5 or whatever dreadful mix you have sitting in front of you, the more so since the SQA, in a fit of corporate rage at John Swinney removing the requirement to do NABs (or whatever they’re called now - lockdown brain) inserted Assignments to ‘make the courses more robust’ - but not in all subjects. With no consultation with the people actually delivering the courses. And no support beyond unreadable - and sometimes virtually unfindable - pages of online waffle on how to administer them.

    The twonks who come up with this stuff may have taught for a year or two, but the vast majority who tell us what to do are not teachers but administrators, in the same way that Dominic Cummings isn’t an MP, and with much the same sense of responsibility and empathy, I’d say.
    Marisha, sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  17. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    I really don't like being misquoted by SQA lickspittles

    What I did say was that SQA undermined H&S at the start of the lockdown and that they have been responsible for a degradation of teacher confidence and teacher welfare (workload)

    So run along back to your SQA brown nosing
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  18. Marisha

    Marisha Occasional commenter

    At one point, the Principal Assessor for one of my Nat 5 subjects was a very experienced subject PT on secondment. During engagement with teachers he was very diplomatic, but it became clear that he'd had a lot of sorting out to do. Nevertheless, problems remained.

    One particular question was causing concern across the board. (The concern was over the fact that exactly what was required was unclear, and no one at the SQA had been able to clarify the matter.) He told us that the question would be remaining in the paper for the foreseeable future. My impression was that he was not being allowed to alter the format.
    bigjimmy2 and inthered like this.
  19. inthered

    inthered Occasional commenter

    Assessors, setters, markers, verifiers and so on are from the teaching ranks, but the format of the exams is decided by administrators with little or no teaching experience. And teachers are only included in the decisions about the exams (and the whole of CfE, for that matter) in the most peripheral way. This is not the correct way to run an education service. But we knew that, right?!
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  20. leapingtim

    leapingtim New commenter

    Not quite what you said but I will let it slide. I have clearly touched a nerve with you. I can virtually hear you in the staff room- “everything is rubbish, but its not my fault”. Blame kids, blame management, blame SQA, blame everyone but not you! You had all the answers and have been shouting about them for years. If only everyone would just listen to you everything would be great.
    At the start of lockdown everyone was winging it. SQA like everyone else was trying to do what was best, on the hoof. It is very easy to criticise in hindsight. Your LA is more culpable in this than SQA !

    You might read this but you might not. You much prefer the staffr

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