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I visited an academy yesterday...

Discussion in 'Education news' started by Oldfashioned, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    a shiny new build, one of a few within the trust. I didn't care for it.

    I went for a job interview; I left after the lesson. On arrival I was handed a pile of literature about the place that included a long list of rules that staff have to follow. This included lots of nonsense about the lessons. As such, I was curious as to how my lesson would be viewed.

    I like to think teaching English is relatively straight forward and I planned my lesson accordingly. I could tell the observers were expecting a show and couldn't cope with pupils getting on with work after I'd explained and demonstrated. After the lesson I was asked what other tasks I would have included if I'd had more than 25 minutes. They were horrified when I said none. I explained English is a heavy writing subject and I expect pupils to spend a considerable amount of time writing. I went on to explain that this is how pupils improve.

    Then I had time in the staffroom and listened in on staff conversations: things did not sound good, with staff clearly worked to the bone, with many mentioning an extra , 7th, period on some days. They had a stream of late meetings and CPD opportunities meant staying until 7pm on short notice. Staff spend so much time preparing multi-part, all for show, lessons they don't actually seem to be covering the syllabus.

    I had already decided I was going home before I saw an old friend who was their on supply. He mouthed to me: "run"

    I did. This place did not have a good feel to it.

    BTW what's with the windows that make you feel you're teaching in a gold fish bowl? Oh no I do not like that.

    I fully admit I'm much more a work to live person than many, but I think even those who immerse themselves fully in the job would be put off by this place. If this is typical of academies I'm surprised they manage to employ anybody.
  2. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    I have been in 5 new builds. One built for 1000 went into special measures and closed. Another SM became an academy. None of them made provision for storing anything. They all seem to be designed by an architect who prefers sloping walls and windows. Many have flat roofs that are bound to be compromised and leak. Changing light bulbs requires a work permit and moveable gantry ( too high for step ladders) and when the outside acrylic cladding has faded in the sun, cracks and looks shabby it will cost a fortune to replace. Some primary new builds are even designed to be open plan so the first thing they need to buy are screens to separate the classrooms (sorry - learning environments) and try to limit noise / disruption when teachers are trying to teach. BSF obviously got no input from anyone who teaches.
  3. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    It doesn't have to be new build to end up with no storage. A 1960s primary I know was built with fantastic solid wood floor cupboards and work surface running the length of the room, and also wall cupboards with sliding doors. Storage - no problem. Areas for displaying work / leaving art / DT stuff half finished - no problem. And the classrooms were huge.

    Last new head has ripped out all these cupboards and replaced with a few movable drawer units. Teachers' resources now have to be kept at home, as there is nowhere to store them.
  4. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    We really do need some sort of anonymised system to tell each other what these schools are like. I wonder how hard it would be to design and run a free app to do this?
  5. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I went to a shiny new academy recently - looks fantastic from both inside and outside.

    But......would I like to work there ?........no.
    Bumptious and stonerose like this.
  6. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    In the Academy that I left, the contract stated you had to smile at everyone...
  7. peter12171

    peter12171 Star commenter

    Unfortunately everything has to be enjoyed nowadays. Teachers have to entertain and the idea that students might occasionally have to just knuckle down and get on with he work is definitely old hat.

    I completed my PGCE a few years ago and the vast majority of training was focussed upon effectively making the lessons a show. Whilst we need to try to make them as interesting as possible there are times this is not possible. I'm sure that I only just passed the PGCE; in many ways my approach was too 'old fashioned'.
  8. FarSideofParadise

    FarSideofParadise Occasional commenter

    I work at an academy and I really enjoy it, it's not at all like some of the horror stories on here. If only more were like that. It's such a shame.
  9. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Never! I don't believe it!
  10. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    I cant beat that I used to work in a college many years ago and my contract stated that verbal abuse, threats of violence and violent acts towards staff were not to be considered exceptional.

    I still have the contract.
  11. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    There's a school near us that has a "smile line" a la Disney painted over the entrance to the car park. I did once question whether it was designed to be used on the way out but was somewhat acidly informed that it was there to be a prompt on the way in.
  12. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    What is a "smile line" a la Disney?

    I'm really sorry to ask, but I've no idea what this might be..:oops:
  13. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Well, I'm very pleased to hear that there is an Academy which is a lovely place for teachers to work!
  14. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Me, I was kind of a mix of work to live and live to work-I admit I loved teaching. But that's why I, too, would have hated this kind of place!
    stonerose likes this.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You aren't the only one...I haven't a clue.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  16. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    True- and they don't even look as good as the beautiful, hundred year old buildings they've knocked down for them. But hey. They were schools. Run by teachers.
  17. hhhh

    hhhh Lead commenter

    Constantly? While you were telling them off? Talk about creepy clown masks...
  18. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    I think you had to be on medication to survive at that Academy. You had to greet everyone professionally and smile at everyone when you first met them. I thought it was a mistake when I first read the this, but I realised before October half term that at least 90% of the staff were mute during staff and INSET meetings.

    When they did utter anything, the statements were stilted and worryingly subservient. There was an awful lot of ego stroking, flattery that took bizarre forms like asking a more powerful SLT member what diet they were on, emulating the way a favoured or powerful leader dressed, imitating peculiar quirks of language....

    It was twilight zone hell.
  19. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    That doesn't sound very flattering!!!
    agathamorse, Landofla and stonerose like this.
  20. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    What if you join them on this diet, then start to go to the same gym, and start attending the same classes together? I found it quite interesting that the SLT member who was being imitated, was unconscious of all this, it never seemed odd to her.

    Please don't tell me there was romance in the air, because I will vomit!

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