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Is the quality of student teachers slipping?

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by Aelfric, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. Aelfric

    Aelfric New commenter

    Random question but the right forum to ask. Is the quality of student teachers slipping? Over the past couple of years the student teachers we have received have really been poor.

    Back in the day when I started teaching I used to plan a weeks worth of lessons, resource them and then forward these to the teaching staff for feedback / quality to make sure they were fine. But the past few we have had have been unprepared, lazy and I certainly wouldn’t like my children to be taught by them. We had one girl who had severe mental health problems, how she slipped through the net I don’t know.

    I’d understand if you got the odd student teacher who was chaotic but we have had six on the bounce now who have been shocking. We are thinking about changing the uni / provider of where we get them.

    I tried to weigh this up, yes there is a recruitment crisis are the majority of good quality students going to careers elsewhere? It’s understandable really ..... are more unsuitable candidates getting through the net? It’s really food for thought.
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Of course the teacher training courses are scraping the barrel. There has been so much "bad press" for teaching and of course a lot of it has been right here, on the TES. Lecturers at teacher training colleges do not want to see themselves getting made redundant, so the solution is obvious: lower your standards and give a place on a BEd course or a PGCE course to anyone and everyone who applies.

    The reason there is a recruitment crisis in the UK is because there are not enough teachers. Simple, really. Why are there not enough? The lousy salary and the UK's insane house prices are two major factors, of course. Added to that, many NQTs pack it in after a year or so. Lots of teachers get out of teaching in a variety of different ways, such as going overseas, retiring early or finding another career.

    I started teaching back in 1982 and I have always accepted that this job is going to involve a certain amount of work in my own time, whether that is marking exercise books, correcting exam papers, writing reports or preparing teaching resources. However, I have a strong feeling that many young teachers do not want (or expect) to do any "unpaid overtime" in the evenings or at weekends.
  3. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    ITT providers cannot now insist on applicants having had recent and relevant experience in school before applying. They have to go on 'potential'. Trainees are being recruited who haven't been in a classroom since they were at school. Of course the bar is lowered.
    agathamorse, Aelfric and PGCE_tutor like this.
  4. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    I am on the other side of it, I am often given my topics to teach on the morning that I am due to teach them or told to do whatever as it is "my lesson".

    I am really struggling to the point that I don't know what to do but I can't quit as my family depends on me financially.

    I would love to know what I was teaching a week in advance but there is no Scheme of Learning for many of the year groups that I am trying to teach so what am I supposed to do?
  5. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    Yes! And it will get worse under the current regime.
    Aelfric likes this.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    The DFE said quite explicitly - they should not be planning from scratch. You should provide them with the pre-existing planning and then move them gently along until they can plan from scratch. If you do not have schemes of work in place you should not accept trainees. We have to have a directed time budget like you and it really does sound you need to see that some will come with a different starting point and that it is the exit point at the end of the NQT period that is important, not the standard while they are at any particular point on the course.
    DfE, 2018, Addressing Workload in ITE, available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/addressing-workload-in-initial-teacher-education-ite

    The reason there is not enough teachers is because they are leaving in the first five years after being burnt rather than supported during the first five years.
  7. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    I think you will find that in many schools whole departments are staffed by teachers with one or two years' experience. Who is there to support them?
  8. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    It depends what you mean by 'being supported'. If you mean, have realistic expectations of someone in the first couple of years of being in the profession and not have crazy six weekly data drops, learning walks, marking policies and constant emailing by a top heavy SLT then I don’t see why this isn’t achievable.
  9. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    I used to plan all of my lessons and resources as a trainee. I then forwarded it to my mentor together with a lesson plan.
    No feedback.
    She would then watch me deliver the lesson and slate me for what I had done. Why didn't she query this when I submitted the lesson plan?
    She never helped me with planning. We did not have weekly meetings. I only remember one afternoon when she gave up the time to help me. That was made to feel like a biggie.
    Whose fault was it if I was a useless teacher?
    CalypsoDalma and Blotty123 like this.
  10. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    What a ******* your mentor is (or was), saluki! That was absolutely dreadful. I am sure that you are NOT a useless teacher and that you give your students lots of helpful advice and comments. It's just a pity that your mentor never (or hardly ever) did the same thing!
    CalypsoDalma likes this.
  11. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    When I trained I didn't have schemes of work to teach from. We were given topics and then our colleagues would share ideas/resources but then we planned out own lessons.

    Sometimes I think some issues have been created by trainees teaching off existing lesson plans (sometimes essentially cover supervising) and then they are mentoring 2 years later and haven't really got the hang of writing a good scheme of learning themselves.

    We're in a recruitment and retention crisis which means the bar is lowered in some places. I have trained some excellent trainees but have had more challenging situations to navigate recently.
  12. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I think it worth making clear that trainees are expected to exit the course being able to plan schemes of work. What we are saying is that at the start of the placement they begin by using pre existing planning. As the placement progresses, so they wrote more and more of their own planning until by the end they have got it nailed. We lose quite a few in November from those placed in schools who ask the trainee to provide all their own planning. We don’t lose those who have been provided with planning and are being helped with co planning and a supportive mentor. It really is very much the case that if the school loads the trainee up with work and they don’t cope then the school thinks the trainee isn’t cut out for teaching. Yet the same trainee, moved to a more supportive school, thrives.
  13. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    The role of the uni tutor is to show the students ways to plan activities. Ideas for possible tasks etc. In school the mentors are there to guide them in selecting appropriate activities and to tailor them to their groups.
    CalypsoDalma and jvintagek like this.
  14. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    You would think. But schools are quite distinctive these days. I have to show them both social constructivist planning techniques and all the knowledge rich stuff. But when they go to school, they are often banned from using some pedagogies. Then they go to another school and the banned pedagogies are mandatory. We are working on mentors seeing that they are developing teachers for any school not just their school and that means teaching them a range of pedagogies not just the ones their dept likes. So pair work, group work, dual coding, retrieval, interleaving, low stakes, high stakes, question taxonomies - and all the limitations and strengths of any of them. Needs a good mentor really. Got some schools that ban PPT for God’s sake.
  15. cathr

    cathr Occasional commenter

    PPT = Power Point?
  16. PersianCatLady

    PersianCatLady Occasional commenter

    @purplecarrot - May I ask you a question please?

    How far in advance were you given the topics for each lesson?

    Thank you
  17. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    The scheme of work would include 2 assessment tasks and suggested lesson topics (e.g. lesson 1, recap poetic devices).

    I had that information around 2 weeks before I started teaching the group. If we needed to spend longer on a skill then we could, as long as by the end of half term the two assessments had been completed.

    We'd talk to the class teacher and colleagues would offer material they'd used previously. It was a good approach in my opinion as I saw a range of ways to plan and teach the same topics.
    MrMedia and meggyd like this.
  18. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    cathr likes this.
  19. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Instead of complaining about "Death by PowerPoint", how about providing some good examples of PPTs that work really well? Or even some tips, guidelines or training? Or some advice about what to use instead of a PPT, if all PPTs really are so awful?
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  20. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Some schools have interpreted 'trad' to mean no technology, all activities from text book and lots of uninterrupted teacher lecturing. None of that is pedagogically correct. Trad is based on theory and research to be fair to them. So dual coding (PPT), social constructivist pedagogy (pair work) and questioning within teacher talk are all features of trad teaching.

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