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I feel like I don't know what I'm doing anymore!

Discussion in 'Early Years' started by Salleriano, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. As others had said, im am SO glad i found this thred. I too have been totally disheartened by the EYFS. Up until i discovered this thred, I was beginning to think that I had totally lost the plot and after 10 years of teaching I no longer actually knew how to teach. I too am totally disheartened by the EYFS. How many times are the goverment going to implement yet another pathetic, impractical strategy/policy/curriculum etc only to be replaced a couple of years later (probably because there's another election in view)?
    Our LEA advisors have given 'advice' on planning...some of which is positive, in the respect that we can be more flexible with our planning and do some of our short term planning retrospectively...as in should a hot air balloon land in our school field, we can change our previoiusly planned activities and explore that...whooopee...finally we have permission! (I only hope that they dont suddenly get amnesia when OFSTED come in and say otherwise...if they do.)
    My gripe...which to my relief seems to be everyone else's...is what seems to be so much child initiated play and what seems to be nothing but observations and no 'teaching'. I totally understand enhancing play and encouraging the children to develop their play though wonderful enhanced play areas...but at the end of the day if all 'Joe' wants to do is be a power ranger and run around the setting, then thats all he will do no matter how fantastic the areas are and how much persuasion/direction he gets to explore other possibilities.So is teaching supposed to happen through osmosis now?

    I am rebelling in the form of doing 2 adult led focused activities each day ...as in a small group activity focusing on different aspects each day, such as thred coloured cotton reels onto piece of string to see who can make a pattern, and who knows the colour names...

    As another poster said..we have letters and sounds to implement, P.E, assemblies, PPA time to consider,along with everything else. It would be great if every setting had the man power to purposely play with a small group af children all day every day, and develop their language, imagination, links to and from previous knowledge, etc...but realistically this is impossible in a poorly funded finacially failing school... grr..it makes my blood boil...
    And on top of all that the EYFS (in my opinion) is rubbish...i wasnt a big fan of the FSP...but in comparison, bring back FSP any day!
    Debbie hurry up with that website...count me as a regular visitor and contributor!!
    Ok ranting over...apologies all!

  2. there does not seem to be one person defending the EYFS and the way we now have to work, everywhere i look there are confused, miserable, undermined professionals who are drowning in a sea of conflicting advice. i've tried my damndest to make my classroom and practice reflect the EYFS ethos, i've followed advice from 'experts' and read and researched as much as i can in order to get this 'right'. i'm relatively new to early years (KS2 background) and adored it when i first started, now i just feel that this is wrong, wrong, wrong. why do i feel guilty when i have to do a formal assessment? why do i feel like a flipping spare part when my class are playing and i'm sitting there watching them and writing down stuff that is of no use to me or anyone else? like any EY practitioner i don't want my little darlings sat on their bots all day listening to me, i want them to play, sometimes with an adult, sometimes alone. i also want them to learn and progress from skilled practitioners and not just be 'observed' and effectively ignored by someone frantically scribbling on a sticky label. i want my own professional opinion to count for something in my planning and assessment rather than have to evidence every move i make. so now i'm going to make changes to the way i work, i'm no longer going to blindly follow what we're told is 'right'. i'm going to do what all of us are more than capable of and that is use my judgement as a teacher to provide what my class need to thrive. this one size fits all model is clearly not working, let's have belief in ourselves and our practice and do what we were trained to do - teach.

    i only meant to add my support to this ever-growing thread, but that was all rather cathartic!!

    peeper x
  3. Someone asked if there was a way that we could use this thread as 'feedback' for the government.

    Definitely, yes - that is why I encourage people to describe their experiences and their views.

    I have no difficulty being a critic of the government - but I have often written that this must be about 'more than me' - that I need to be sure that my analysis of the current scenario in the Early Years domain (and in the teaching domain generally) is REPRESENTATIVE - and not just me being an old dinosaur-type.

    You can all rest assured that this thread will form part of the feedback that is requested because I shall make sure that politicians - including Gordon Brown and Ed Balls are notified of it.

    What I need, therefore, is ALL people to describe their views.

    And to be truly representative - this needs to include people who may well be positive about the EYFS and all the observations, evidencing, paper-chasing and so on. Now is the time for people to defend these practices if they think they are worth the time they take etc.

    So, please, everyone keep contributing knowing that your words will not be wasted - but will support what some of us have been saying for a very long time.

    As for the website - I have just told MrH that we're all chomping at the bit to build up the evidence on the site!
  4. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    agree with the above

    I have spent Saturday night sticking up my profiles. I too have spent most of last week following children around with a clipboard and post it notes. I have done little teaching. I feel if I am seen teaching ie on the carpet things will not go well for me. This is Inspite of being given a written damnation last year for not having a clear learning outcome for each activity. We still have to have that and increased literacy and numeracy displays targets and activities. But there is no time to do them. Here is an example of my evening.

    "X can hear the older children in the construction area. She walks over a stands next to them. She smiles then sits next to them. the children leave and X follows them. They move to the book area. X sits on the floor and the read her a story. The book has flaps. X tried to open one but the girls say "no". She sits down again . The child reading the story says "You open this one". X opens the flap. They continue this till the story is finish. She then moves to the sticking area with the children. (mistakes are copied and in the observation).

    This is half a page of handwriting. It is better than some I am sticking in profiles. I have one that says "X joined in well". That has to be the worst.

    X also ran into my heels twice on Friday. She follows people (usually me) around. I didn't need anyone to tell me that. She was following me around outside on a little car thing and could not stop when I did. What X needs is a lot of support and an adult to play with her, read her stories, look at what she is doing and talk about this......

    ......an avid mark maker she has sophisticated schemas to represent all sort of ideas and she loves to cut things up (with quite good control). She does not speak English. She joins in songs now .....eyes intent on the teacher and smiling. She gravitates towards older children from her own community who are able to communicate with her. She was massively tearful at first (six weeks ago) and is quite recently more relaxed and happy to come to school although she frets as it nears home time and she likes our "Going home" song, this reassures her. She loves to sit one to one with an adult and have stories read to her. She will comment on them. She can thread beads she has great concentration, she is interested in counting. She is very watchful and alert and curious.

    I could tell you more.

    But I have to spend my weekends sticking in nonsense. And my teaching time writing similar spurious data. Alas alas.
  5. I am a teacher with nearly 30 years experience.I have always been confident in my abilities and happy in my job.I am a good teacher and happy to try and impliment new initiatives even when I don't agree with them.I have never been as miserable and lacking in direction as I have over the past 4 years in the foundation stage.
    I know longer feel like a teacher and the job I am asked to do with nursery an idiot could do.I am frustrated at having to try and teach my children without any one noticing.My children come from deprived backgounds.Little parental interest,poor language skills and poor social skills.They love playing games and interacting with adults in nursery.They need adult imput.How are they supposed to learn anything if I am expected to follow them around with a blessed post it note and pen.I am not recording anything I don't already know about the child,I know for certain the reception teacher will neither be intrested or have the time to read these observations,why are we doing it.
    I have to fill in target tracker half termly which feeds the information on how we will perform in sats. Do I put in the correct level as to where my children are, no of course not. If I did that I would put too much pressure on the subsequent teachers in case they didn't make enough progress.So I have been told by HT not to score further than point 3.I have heard that same from other colleagues in local schools.
    The EYFS is a waste of paper.
    I am seriously thinking of jacking it in this year it is not worth the stress. Who is going to want to work in Nursery from 2010 working an extra 5 hours a week compared to other colleagues in school. I just can't see things getting any better .
    I also hate been called a practioner,I am a teacher thats what I trained to be.

  6. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    I have had a bit of a mad thought writing and then reading the above poster. As Liz says we have been told to get our FSP down and even though we passed our Moderation visit our judgements are being questioned, so now everyone is just observing and not teaching. That will push results down of course it will. Or might not. It depends.

    I would not be thanked if our nursery were going into YR with 123 points on FSP. Thus my half termly tracker would not register any progress. They would be yellow. Only a few with much soul searching would be on blue stepping stones, very rarely and with much evidence on blue. I feel sure that I cannot win. If they make no progress (although how would that look?) I'll lose, and if they do then YR and Y6 etc are in bother not to mention Mr. Crackitt. worrying about scores being too high. I could just lable them 30 to 50 months but how is that going to help anything?

    And we are talking about precious early childhood here. Not rocket science.

    Standards are slipping. We were good for Care (OFSTED) but now we have no keyworkers in YR, no water to drink, no laundry facilities, etc etc. I found a tot drinking from a sterilising fluid bottle. It had been added to enhance an area. I think I am going a bit mad. How is having a toaster out of reach in the snack area more dangerous than playing with an OHP on the floor unsupervised near the water tray?

    What we need is a right good dollop of common sense.
  7. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Sorry if I offend anyone but EYFS seems determined to make Early Years education into daycare.
  8. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    That is actually what the documents and policies require. But the enforcement police in some areas witter about literacy and numeracy before childred like mine can actually speak or manage their hands and feet. It's all double think.

    I would not mind if it was daycare. I think that would be OK.

    It is managing the daycare aspects of 26 very needy tots whilst simultaneoulsy writing post it notes that is the madness. Then going home and spending all night sticking them somewhere. Some time to do my housework/talk to my family might be useful.
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    [​IMG] Invasion of the post it!

  10. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Lol, Msz.
    Last time I was observed, I decorated the markmaking table with an intricate pattern of pink and yellow Post-Its. What a success! All the boys flocked to the table and scribbled happily, hee hee.
    I quite often make availablt clipboards and sticky wotsits so that children can pretend to do obs. Their meaningless squiggles can then be stuck in their profile books as evidence.

  11. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    My children love sticking them all over the staff ... I wonder if they will include the moderationteam when they visit ...

  12. inky

    inky Lead commenter

    Child [to me, writing obs]: What are you doing?
    Me: I'm writing down what you are saying.
    Me: So that everyone knows how interested you are in what I am doing.

  13. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    We have all got to do it the same way now.

    On address labels

    But we don't have any.

    Post it notes are not good enough for us anymore.
  14. The thing that I cannot get my head around is how the EYFS is supposed to be managed in mixed age classes, which are pretty common. I am an NQT in a mixed R/1 class (I was previously a nursery nurse - no, sorry an 'Early Years Practitioner') and I have my classroom set up as an Early Years room - all areas of EYFS covered inside and outside etc. My year 1s find this incedibly difficult, especially as we are moving more and more into a formal KS1 curriculum with them in preparation for moving into the 2/3 class (where there is 1 teacher and no TA) - they need lots of focused adult led work as they can barely work independently and will HAVE to come September. They are continually distracted by the R children who are 'working on our jobs planner' (playing!) and it's all they want to be doing too! The R children manage better, they get quite a bit of formal 'teaching' (I cannot manage it any other way - I have to 'teach' the year 1s afterall!) and they love it! The R chn also get a good balance of CI play and adult led activities. However 90% + of their observations have come from adult led sessions - I do not have the time to give up to sit and watch them play. Not only do I have the Year 1s to teach, I also have children working on programmes such as 'Write from the start', social skills programmes and 1 child working on a spelling programme. If I ever do get 10 free minutes in the day I use it to hear readers etc not watch children play - I would feel I was wasting precious time! I have several able R children and at 'jobs planner time' they often come and ask if they can join in with the adult led activities as they want to be challenged - I end up giving them challenges to work on in my CI areas - but hey this is not CI is it? But it's what they WANT!
    The other thing I do not get is the obsession with being outside all the time. I totally get the benefits of a range of learning environments etc etc but please tell me, if a child was at home would their mother ever, ever sit outside with them in the freezing cold, snow, rain, ice, fog etc watching them play and waiting for them to show evidence of embedded learning? No! Most parents would think you were insane if you told them this is what you do with their child at school! What is going on?!!!!
  15. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

  16. I find this thread so comforting - it is so reassuring to know that there are so many other people out there who feel like me! I too have now decided to do it my way, but only because we've already have Ofsted (in the second week of September - how wonderful) and moderation is external this year! I am sick and tired of feeling rubbish about everything I do and desperately trying to find out how I am supposed to do it. Teaching is not meant to be like this! So now I am structured in the morning and child-initiated in the afternoon, And to my surprise I have discovered that I have some children in my class who can write! Using their phonics! And I have some who can form their numbers correctly! If I had left them to their own devices they would never have chosen the activities that have enabled me to see how much they have learnt. And now I know where to take them next.

    Children need to be taught, not observed. The EYFS is an absolute pile of rubbish. I think the intentions are good, of course children need to play, but they are at school after all, so there is surely a place for learning? We desperately need someone to hear us - so I am so grateful debbie for your plans for the website. I will be a regular visitor!!
  17. mac64

    mac64 New commenter

    L.I.T 'If only the parents knew...' That seems to be a key point. What would they actually feel? Would embrace the EYFS or would start to question the Gov et al? One of the strongest forces we find in the inde sector is PARENT POWER and I'm sure it's the same in the maintained sector. If they only knew would that shake things up? The key seems to be informing them rationally but how?
  18. JEH

    JEH New commenter

    Dear Rousset,

    I'm a Nursery teacher too and do a similar adult focus activity and 'assessment sheet' to the one you described, as well as incidental post-its. I also do a daily whole class 20 minute CLL / story session and an end of session carpet time - maths game, singing, another story etc. We are expected to do PE once a week in the Hall, and book groups every week too. I feel like I'm running to stand still some days! We now have 20 children per session (26 in the summer term) and only myself and a non-early years trained TA, working in two huge classroom areas and the outside area. Sometimes it can take 3 days to work with every child on one activity, as we always have to have one person 'floating'(changing knickers, sorting out fights, writing names on paintings, picking bits of playdough off kids' shoes - never mind responding to children's requests to read them a book, talk to them, watch them build a tower etc!). I don't plan for each child's interests (how could I do that for 40 kids a day, many so young that their interests change from one minute to the next?). I do try to reflect at the end of the week and fine tune the next week's plan to fit in with the perceived concensus of 'what grabbed their attention', but this still has to be within the framework of my medium plan to fit in with the whole school topic!

    Another major gripe I have is the different ratios required. In the private pre-school nearby there has to be 1 adult to 8 children, but because we are a Nursery class in a maintained school we have to work on ratio of 1 to 13. The children in the pre-school are the same age as ours - am I supposed to have a magic wand that changes their behaviour and needs, just because I am 'a teacher'?!
  19. Hi JEH, and thanks for your reply.

    hmm, what about letters and sounds (surely that has to be adult led!), 'music time', library books (being chosen and logged), assemblies or 'collective worship' as some refer to it as...
    Ditto! I also cant understand how the 'key person' system can work in its true intention when we have 26 x 2 children. How can we possibly provide the same level of care, attention, nuture and tailored learning that other nurseries with more staff and lower ratios can give?
    You dont know how relieved I am to hear that! And you do carpet time too-phew! (Thought I was really breaking the 'rules' doing that!)

  20. We do one focused activity each session, and the adult not doing the activity does one 3-5 minute observation both during the morning and afternoon.(How many sesions we spend on an activity depends upon what it is.Eg.Box modelling takes several sessions, using scisors to cut straight or wiggly lines is usually a quick one in F2.)

    And no-one is spending ages following children around writing with a clipboard instead of teaching! Two observations a day is plenty-that's 6-10 minutes for one adult. We do use post its too, but only if it's to record something pertinent so that we can plan the next steps.

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