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Is this normal/legal?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by LJD0102, Sep 11, 2019.

  1. LJD0102

    LJD0102 New commenter

    Hi, I am after some advice.

    I am two weeks into my teacher training role (Schools Direct salaried route) and wanted to check if the situation I have found myself is normal.

    From day one I have been on my own in the classroom, as the main teacher. There are 3 TAs also.

    I have seen no long/mid/short term plans, no lesson plans or any paperwork on anything, and have only had brief instructions for some lessons- for example, “do something on place value”.

    Having come from a children’s services background (not education) I am quickly googling ‘place value lesson ideas’ at the start of the lesson as re children are coming into the classroom.

    We have a class of 34, with 4 with EHCPs, 3 EAL, and a majority working at pre-key stage ( v deprived area, and apparently 5 different teachers last year).

    I have discussed my concerns with my mentor, who whilst verbally sympathetic, has not advised me in any way of what to do, or told me what I should be doing.

    Is this normal? I am very concerned, and could really do with some advice.

    Thanks in advance,
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    As I understand it, on the salaried route you are employed as an unqualified teacher, learning on the job. That suggests you might well be expected to be doing all the teaching, but you'd think there would be substantial support and guidance.
    Is there a parallel class? If so, and they have a more experienced teacher, ask if they can share their planning with you. If not, does the school have and planning from the teacher who had that year group last year? That would at least be a start. I think you may need to make some fairly firm requests for help, reminding them that you are supposed to be learning on the job, and do need some guidance. Can you have some time off timetable with your mentor to get some medium term planning done with their help?
    Make some specific requests, keep a record of them: "please could you provide me with a list of what I am to cover in maths this half-term".
    Was the instruction about "do something on place value" only given to you on the day? You need to know what you're being expected to teach in time that you can do your lesson preparation before the day you're teaching it.
    Is the school part of a consortium providing the training route? Is there someone outside the school you can talk to about the lack of support and guidance?

    Unfortunately it sounds like you've landed in a school which is struggling to recruit staff and probably doesn't have the experienced staff to support you.
    Flanks, jlishman2158, steely1 and 6 others like this.
  3. TheOracleAtDelphi

    TheOracleAtDelphi Occasional commenter

    Frankly, it sounds awful. It's quite common for primary teachers (compared to secondary where there are more often established SOW) to do their own long term plans but it seems extremely unfair to expect a trainee to have to do this especially without any guidance. However, I have also known a few schools who have completely freaked out about Ofsted's curriculum pronouncements and have made drastic changes to what they are teaching this year in terms of approach and/or topics where everything is a bit up in the air (although the better ones dedicated time last year to working this out!) - is this likely to be the case for your school?

    Related to frustum's question, who is telling you to do place value? Is there a parallel class and if so are they expecting you to plan jointly? Have you been told what topics (history/geography/potentially science) you are supposed to be doing his year as these are normally centrally determined to ensure curriculum coverage? Does your school use target tracker, classroom monitor, pupil asset or similar and are you expected to take the LOs from those?

    I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything but I have jumped into the deep end a few times and I would be happy to help you if I can with more specific suggestions if you want to PM me.
  4. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I am actually stunned that this is possible. At a time when we're trying to recruit teachers in to the profession from outside, we still seem to think it's OK to chuck them in a classroom and basically say "there you are, now get on with it"?
  5. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    I would quickly join a Union online( NASUWT or NEU) later in the day before you run into serious problems.
  6. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Join Hamilton Trust for your planning, use it as a starting point and add to it as necessary, ie look on TES resources for additional material. Once you've got hold of the plans look at all the Primary sites out there, ie Primary Resources, Topmarks etc. Have look at Literacy Shed for literacy ideas/writing stimulus (superb).

    You've clearly been dropped right in it, do what you can, ask for help and mark days out on your calendar to your breaks. This is the longest term of the year, 17 weeks, if you can make it to Christmas you will make it through.
  7. JosieWhitehead

    JosieWhitehead Star commenter

    I think it is absolutely abysmal, to say the least. Those of us who are/were qualified teachers had to train both in our subjects and as teachers for a hard/long time. There is definitely something very wrong in what they are doing. I hope it isn't normal.
  8. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think the route probably makes sense for some people - those who have previously worked as TAs, for instance, who will have plenty of experience to draw on. It probably also works a lot better in schools which are able to provide reasonably detailed planning and guidance, either from a departmental scheme of work or from a partner teacher.
    jlishman2158 and agathamorse like this.
  9. LJD0102

    LJD0102 New commenter

    Hi, thank you all- really appreciate all the suggestions and support.

    It is a single form entry, so am unable to speak to a teacher in the same year. The advice was “would you mind doing something on place value today?”, as the teacher was waking out of the classroom. I think because she is very pleasant, it makes it harder to assert myself re the lack of support. Also, without knowledge of what is normal etc I feel less confident to challenge what is happening.

    However, I spoke to the Head of English today who said it should not be happening, and that she would take it to the head. This gave some relief in knowing that, in her eyes, it isn’t right. I have now also got some PPA time booked in, so things are better today.

    I have joined a union just in case!

    It is difficult, as coming from social services, I know the strain on the public sector. I just needed some guidelines. So, thank you to all for all of your advice. Feeling far more confident.

    Tonight I will start doing my own planning!
    mothorchid, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You need to be doing this in your PPA time and then sorting out a lesson or five.

    Talk to your training provider, your mentor and your headteacher. They need to teach you how to sort planning.
    jlishman2158, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  11. Shedman

    Shedman Star commenter

    You've been well and truly chucked in at the deep end with zero support. When the complaints come in or the exam results don't come up to target you'll carry the can and be hung out to dry. If alarm bells aren't ringing then they should be.
  12. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    I have a schools direct student in my class. He has lots of ppa, observations of others and is building up to teaching 5 lessons a week.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    In some ways what you have is a blessing, with so little paperwork and plans available you will have more freedom to teach your way. There are schools out there that probably plan that Owen can breathe out at exactly 3 minutes 48 seconds. It is not usual though and you would at least expect a long term plan somewhere.
    Is there a more experienced colleague you can go to for help and a framework for long term plans? You may have to do the lesson by lesson planning yourself.At absolute worst you might need to look at a National Curriculum resources to get an idea of what you should be teaching. Maybe the school has winged it up to now but in this day and age such schools are probably few and far between.
    Any brief instruction should give you time to plan. I would say 24 hours notice minimum, ideally you should have an outline a week in advance.
    Your mentor might be in the difficult position of knowing this is a deprived school and the support is far from ideal but not being able to do the schools planning for them. It will be a baptism of fire for sure!
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  14. teapot24

    teapot24 New commenter

    No this is not normal!! Shout about it to your training provider. School direct salaried trainees should be receiving support, should be in addition to the regular class teacher, should have a mentor who helps with planning etc. At this point in the year you should be observing other teachers and be shown how planning and assessment work in your school. They are completely taking the mick.
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    you need to be doing this several days before!
    jlishman2158 likes this.
  16. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    this is normal, but the EAL numbers are low, and the TA numbers are high
  17. LJD0102

    LJD0102 New commenter

    Thanks to all. It is good to get the different perspectives, and I will take the advice forward.

    Hoping that with the support of the other staff, I can learn planning/assessment etc and start to improve soon.

    Thanks again
  18. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    Look at White Rose for Maths to get you started, it’s free and gives you term by term coverage for the year.
  19. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I trained via the GTP (secondary, so probably a bit different) some time ago, and I was expected to teach classes solo from day one, early on showing my lesson plans to my HoD beforehand. I found it tough, but it meant I learned very quickly. Did my NQT year at the same school, and it was a doddle.
  20. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Star commenter

    You can also ask for advice on Primary and there some really experienced, kind posters who will help you. Have a restful weekend!
    jlishman2158 likes this.

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