1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

MFL in a difficult school/area

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by LINGUIST2, Dec 10, 2018.


    LINGUIST2 New commenter

    I wonder if anyone would be able to share some strategies with me. I have been teaching a while but recently changed schools . I'm now in a small school but with large classes of 29 in a deprived area. I am the only MFL teacher. The pupils have only been getting one hour of French a week and there is no uptake in senior school. It's going fine apart from the S2s (13 year olds)whose behaviour is the worst I've ever seen. I feel it is so hard to engage with these pupils - has anyone been in a similar situation and made a success of it? Would anyone be willing to help? I've started lunchtime clubs etc but it's only the younger pupils who come - they are at least a bit enthusiastic. I have the more difficult classes at the end of the day and it's making me ill and doubtful of my own abilities although I have a good track record in a fairly mixed comprehensive. Thanks for listening!
  2. veverett

    veverett Occasional commenter

    I don't think this is about teaching tips. Have you told your line manager this is making you ill? A lot of the stress isn't just from the actual classes, it is from blaming yourself or worrying that others will blame you for the class's behaviour.
    BrightonEarly likes this.
  3. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Only taught in very socially deprived areas and it was always a massive struggle ( consider the days of languages for all ! ) because the students did not see ' what was in it for them ' re language learning - which I completely understood by the way....not sure what the school is expecting from you and not sure what you are expecting of yourself given you are the sole specialist the curriculum allocation and possibly entrenched attitudes towards your subject ? Seems to be this is tokenism at its best. You say that everything is going fine - I 'd take that - given the circumstances in which you find yourself yourself. You say you are experienced so important to get in perspective the one ? class which is very problematic . An ill motivated class in any subject can be difficult at the end of a long day when both you and they are more likely to bring baggage into the room ? Talk to other staff members about them and use the school's Code of Conduct .....is it just your lessons? This may help with your confidence and well being in the short term but in terms of making a ' success' of the post long term ? not sure what this may entail - Good Luck ....
    Lara mfl 05 and Dodros like this.
  4. FredfromFrance

    FredfromFrance New commenter

    I'm so glad that you have shared this! I too have these troubles! Some classes just do. not. care. It seems that anything I do or say doesn't make an impact as they do not give a poo. It's heart breaking to spend so much time on people who throw everything back in your face and it can feel like you've been locked in a room with animals for 50 minutes. When it gets to the point that even consistent sanctions don't work it makes you feel even worse as all the weapons at your disposal (including designing meaningful and action packed lessons!) just don't work.

    Being half French I also take it personally when I am told that my language is pointless!

    I also feel your pain re: feeling sick about feeling responsible and/or fearing SMT find out and hammer you.

    Please keep talking! I think we need to share ideas and support!
    jubilee and LINGUIST2 like this.
  5. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Don't take it personally. You are the adult here . This phenomenon may be new to you but the disaffection with languages has been around FOREVER . Try to see it from the students perspective ? I do understand why they consider it pointless - no offence. Very often you are not there to teach the language or respect for the culture but address an exam brief in the long term which often demonstrates very little and the students of whom you speak are savvy enough to know this. It's a curriculum not fit for purpose and you / they are there to fit a gap in a timetable. I don't have any answers but believe you me I have never ' taught ' anybody but reluctant, difficult, disengaged and those who were labelled ' non academic ' learners. That said, I wound desist from the animals / locked room analogy ! - no matter how much it may feel like that .You say that sanctions don't work . This does not suprise me either. The behaviour and attitudes of all / some ? of your classes is likely to be entrenched and the same students may be problematic for other specialists ? If you have options as a linguist to move on then I suspect it would be in your interests to find an alternative setting ? No guarantees of course that this would not in some capacity happen again ? Yes I understand why it may help to know others in similar situations but the reality - another issue
    agathamorse, LINGUIST2 and Dodros like this.
  6. adrixargentina

    adrixargentina Occasional commenter

    From September we are back to '''languages for all" which in my setting is not appropriate. In fact the first year I taught at this school 8 years ago, was the last year they did this. The head is new and obviously has no idea what is going to happen. I am dreading September but I don't think I'll find another job before May 31st in all honesty.
    minnie me likes this.
  7. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    I could not conceive of having to do this again. That version of insanity and repeating stuff hoping for an alternative outcome ! Best of luck to you whatever you decide
  8. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    With the EBacc targets set by the government I can see more schools returning to Languages for All.
  9. minnie me

    minnie me Star commenter

    Gun to head emoji :eek:
    adrixargentina and agathamorse like this.
  10. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    Yeah. I was there the first time around too!

Share This Page