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If you were, or are, HOD (please read and advise!)

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Faldamir12, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter

    Hi all,
    If you were, or are, a HOD would you allocate a non-specialist to teach MFL (the person concerned is bilingual, primary subject is history) to a bottom set year 7 SEN class?

  2. Yes. Often teachers are required to teach additional subjects and if this person is fluent then surely it's not a problem? It's only y7, not a top set gcse class!
  3. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter


    The perception is that because they are a bottom set year 7 class with SEN that they won't do much writing. But surely there is much more to it than that? They require a lot more additional support and guidance and for a HOD to give a bottom set class to a non-specialist seems rather off.

    Certainly if I was a parent I would not be happy.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Yes, if by being bilingual they speak the language being taught. And definitely yes to a year 7 lower set class as the best possible place.
  5. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter

    Hm....just because they are bilingual it dosen't necessarily follow that they can teach it effectively though surely?
  6. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    In most 11-18 schools, I've known, non specialists have often been given KS3 classes to fill their timetables. No HOD would choose to give exam classes to a non specialist unless they knew them. And definitely bottom sets. The rationale is that the more able children in the lower years are the potential GCSE classes of the future. Being blunt, non specialists are usually placed where they will do least damage until they are known and trusted in a department,

    What is your problem with the class? Assuming you speak the language you are teaching, you'll be well qualified to teach them!
  7. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    In response to post 5, with low ability year 7, patient repetition, praise and encouragement will be more useful than subject knowledge.
  8. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter

    It's not a problem at all for the person concerned. However the person concerned has agreed to take on additional responsibility and given the fact that their is no present HOD in his subject area, there is a likelihood that he could have management responsibilites as well as teaching KS5, on top of his normal timetable.

    He was willing to offer additional help, however there is helping and there is abusing. With a bottom year 7 SEN class in a subject he has no specialism of teaching in, the HOD has clearly stitched him up on top of other responsibilites he has, and will have, in the future.
  9. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Well, I suppose it could be problem solved if he takes on a TLR because there'll be extra non contact time and so the y7 class might have to go! That aside, a bottom set y7 class is not a big deal and it is quite usual for non-specialists to be timetables in this way,
  10. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter

    Well it is wrong to assume that not a great deal of progress will be made.
    The children have different needs and if they find english difficult, heaven knows the challenge he will face trying to teach them a second language.
  11. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    Not sure what you mean here.
    Well, yes. But that would be true whoever taught them. Your friend will be fine. Often the cloud on your new timetable turns out to be a bright spot once you get started with them.

  12. Faldamir12

    Faldamir12 New commenter

    Well it is wrong to assume that not a great deal of progress will be made.

    What I mean is that with a SEN class there will not be a substantial amount of writing and they will struggle to construct basic sentences in French. In this respect the pace will be incredibly slow to the point that one would question if good progress was being made.
  13. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    Am not really sure what you want peole to say? That it's wrong? In an ideal world, yes it is. However, this happens all the time; in every school and in every subject as far as I am aware. Many teachers are given non-specialist areas to teach, particularly at KS3. In my last school, we had non-qualified teachers delivering core subjects at KS3 - much more 'wrong' in my opinion. Two former colleagues were also delivering 6-8 subjects each and way way out of their comfort zones - one was a Head of Faculty and another was a Head of Year. In theory, the PGCE qualifies us to teach any subject at any key stage - obviously it doesn't work like that but in many instances the old adage holds true 'the teacher is only a page ahead in the textbook'. It was certainly true for me when I taught Year 7 History (am an English teacher) - it was an enjoyable distraction but the level of understanding needed by me to deliver the subject at this level wasn't too onerous; however, you do notice that you lack the understanding brought to the teaching by a subject specialist (to answer all those tricky questions around a topic). To be blunt - does your friend have a PGCE? Is he fluent in the language? Then he is more than qualified to deliver a Year 7 subject as others have rightly pointed out. If they are very low ability then he may even find he doesn't need to have any level of fluency. The marking will be minimal. Planning may be a bit more in-depth if very low ability but there you go, that's the job we do! I would like to say that the support will be there, but since I was only given two textbooks for Year 7 history and sent on my merry way without so much as a scheme of work, keep your fingers crossed!
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    So few children and little marking, sounds like heaven to me!
    I would expect to see progress in all sorts of ways. Yes the class might be playing games and singing songs rather than writing, but they can still learn.

    As someone else has said. Your friend is a teacher and is fluent in the language and so is more than capable of teaching it. I taught year 6 mixed ability French for two years, despite knowing little more than a few colours and counting to 20 when I started. And without the support of a HOD or any planning in place.

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