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I am in a constant state of panic

Discussion in 'Personal' started by AbsaloutK, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. AbsaloutK

    AbsaloutK New commenter

    Hi all. I'm an English teacher to a Year 11 GCSE class and I am in a state of constant panic and anxiety about how they will perform in their GCSE's. It's literally keeping me up at night. They are a bottom set class with KS2 data consisting of 1, 2 or 3 in levels. All except one is an EAL student and about seven of them cannot write a full sentence in English. Three have moderate learning difficulties. Some are just incredibly lazy and refuse to do work.

    The school is in a very challenging area in north east London where crime rates are high and so many of our students just don't seem interested. They seem like they would like to do well, but have no interest in studying or doing homework or even checking their spellings! We also changed curriculum three times between now and the start of Year 10 (not my idea) and a constant turnover of teachers meant that I only met them in December, with a brand new exam board to teach from scratch. I now have to go in on Monday and teach them a whole question from the language paper in a week.I just feel like I have no time to help them and their poor literacy and English skills means they will struggle to help themselves in any significant way. I'd do anything to help ensure they get their C grade but I always feel as though I am never doing enough.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Why on earth are they even doing GCSE? What good will it do them? They should be studying at a level that is appropriate to their needs?

    This (not your fault - you're a victim of the system too) exemplifies what's wrong with schooling today. It's not about meeting the kids where they are and encouraging them to move on. Sometimes in very small steps in order not to knock their growing confidence. It's about looking at the finishing line and kicking them to try to get them there. They might just as well be donkeys being entered for the Frand National.

    I can't help you. No wonder you're in a panic. Who wouldn't be. The donkeys aren't going to complete the course. Maybe some of them (here's an analogy-failure) will become thoroughbreds in time. But in three/four months? Ridiculous.

    Look for another job and reconcile yourself to 'failure'. Except it isn't. It's a nightmare not of your own making.
    Dragonlady30, senlady, delnon and 4 others like this.
  3. aspensquiver_2

    aspensquiver_2 Senior commenter

    Workplace Dilemmas might have more sympathetic posters, Absalout...
  4. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Several things

    If you met them in December, there is no possibility that you could ascertain their knowledge and understanding, plug the gaps and get them to GCSE C standard.

    Level 1and 2 shouldn't be anywhere near GCSE and level 3 would have to work their socks off.

    Moderate learning difficulties- if assessed as such, should have been having additional support, a different programme of study and it's a moot point whether they should be in mainstream at all.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I badly want to think this is a totally made-up scenario and someone is taking the mick. Because who would ever contemplate doing GCSE with such a group? It's preposterous!

    Sadly it's probably true. I am not wishing to be disrespectful of the OP. I am just shocked that these children aren't getting the RIGHT education suited to their needs and that nobody has kicked off about it on staff!
    Dragonlady30 and ValentinoRossi like this.
  6. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter


    For them to be expected to get a grade C is nonsense, but I suspect you are being pressurised, hence the sleepless nights.

    There are many classes like this throughout mainstream ime, and I'm not sure where else they could be placed..

    I don't think it is. (as I say ime)

    OP, what would happen if you stopped worrying about their results, and taught using more appropriate material? A bollocking from someone?

    It's not you, it's this ****** system, as said.

    (Sorry not to be able to give any practical advice. What about posting on Workplace Dilemmas, or English?)
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  7. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    Sadly, this is what happens.'' Not my problem''
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    But what has happened to teachers?

    Some HTs always wanted you to get blood out of a stone but you have to be the students' advocate. You're not there to do the bidding of the boss. You're there to do right by the kids! Well, that was always my take on things.

    When did it become a case of 'keep your mouth shut' and 'toady to the management'? Teaching isn't just a job.
  9. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    I honestly don't know.

    I never used to keep my trap shut, but it did me no favours!
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  10. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I'm sure it is! Trip trap...
    ValentinoRossi likes this.
  11. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    Surely it would be more beneficial to do a TEFL exam, eg PET or FCE with them?
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  12. AbsaloutK

    AbsaloutK New commenter

    Thanks everyone for your comments. It's nice to hear someone reassure me that I am not a terrible teacher! Unfortunatley the school has decided that they are doing GCSE English Lang&Lit so that is what I must do. Trust me, I believe they should be doing basic EAL/literacy classes until they can at least write whole paragraphs by themselves or write sentences with correct grammar but the school most likely would not hear of it. And yes, I am under very intense pressure. We had to do 5 pieces of coursework in December/Jan to follow the new exam board that we had only just changed to, so we had to squeeze a lot into a short timeframe. I got an email on Friday requesting that all coursework be on a C grade. This is for kids whose overall GCSE target might be a D at most and needed a LOT of help to get even there. Getting a C without full-on cheating will be impossible. But I'm constantly being told that we are not doing enough, that we are 'failing' our pupils.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, you have two options. Unless you quit or do something out-of-the-box.

    1. You cheat on their behalf. This I would never do.
    2. You accept that the course is too demanding for them at this stage and set work from which they'll benefit but may bear some slight resemblance to the course content.
    wanet likes this.
  14. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    I suspect that they email is asking for just that!
  15. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Option one is quite popular. I saw it just last Wednesday
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    That long ago? Wednesday? ;)
  17. aspensquiver_2

    aspensquiver_2 Senior commenter

    Why do one or two think this OP is not for real? I DETEST that about some TES posters.
  18. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Also OP claims to be an English teacher yet writes GCSEs with an apostrophe. Hmmm......
  19. aspensquiver_2

    aspensquiver_2 Senior commenter

  20. aspensquiver_2

    aspensquiver_2 Senior commenter

    That is not unusual, sadly. Bet lots of TES users think there is an apostrophe there. Many many English teachers do. And, of course, teachers of other subjects.

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