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"Outstanding" teachers from girls grammar showing us how to teach!!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by mathsboddeen, Jul 17, 2013.

  1. "Strangely I don't think a 'nice easy life' is what we became teachers for, Prime. I love my job in a comprehensive, thanks. "The point of this thread is that it is a fallacy that teachers in elitist schools are in a position to tell the vast majority of the rest of us, who teach across the ability range, how to do our jobs."

    Exactly. Blue117 has summed it up nicely, although I would prefer a few f****s and w**kers in with the post, just to (in my opinion) drive home the point.

    My job is great, with wonderful, caring team-playing staff, committed to helping those in a (mostly) deprived or disadvantaged situation. We focus on what matters to students and do our best. My students don't get tutors, multiple attempts at GCSEs, endless revision clubs and 1-1 help, horse-riding lessons on Saturday, a wide and constant range of trips abroad or even in this country, trips to Cambridge and Oxford and so on. The teachers in princesses' schools have no place coming in to where we teach and giving us "advice" based on their experiences of teaching Pruscilla and Daisy. They have forgotten what it is like to have a class of very wide ability children, some who may have not eaten that morning or had the sh1t kicked out of them the night before, or are being pressured to join gangs, and on it goes. It is a vastly different environment with totally different needs and completely different approaches. I won't ever leave this environment because I believe in what I am doing and I will continue to think of those who come here with their tips and teaching strategies from their girls grammar school experiences with nothing except contempt.

    And still, no one has has come up with specific reasons why Pruscilla and Daisy's Maths teacher knows how to teach in my environment.
  2. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    How do you know that Pruscilla and Daisy's Maths teacher has never taught in your environment?
  3. m4thsdotcom

    m4thsdotcom Occasional commenter

    I think most would say its because teachers who are outstanding can teach anywhere and adapt to the environment they find themselves in fairly quickly.

    I have been fortunate enough to work with outstanding teachers in each school I have worked at. I really believe they could land anywhere and quickly do a job along with supporting others.

    I still believe keeping an open mind will make me a better teacher and remaining positive.

    How would you respond if you watched a lesson and really thought it was excellent? Would you be more open to taking new ideas on or has your mind been made up that they cannot better your team?
  4. This makes me very sad. How can you hold fellow professionals in such contempt?

    I work in a local girls’ grammar school and I would hate to be asked to ‘show the local comp how it’s done’. Imagine walking into a class of 30+ children who you’ve never met. You have no idea of their individual levels/needs: who responds well to praise, encouragement or humour. Who is unlikely to understand and will need additional support. Who is suffering from home traumas or needs tlc. What the school’s behaviour/reward policy is. It’s worse than the first lesson of the year with a new class and then, added to that, you are going to be observed by other teachers who don’t want you there, may even be hoping you will fail. I would not presume to think I could teach better than the normal class teacher, and I don’t believe anyone else in my department would either.

    Did you have the opportunity to speak to these teachers before/after seeing them teach? What have they done that has offended you so much? Perhaps some, like myself, will have previously taught in similar challenging environments. I enjoyed a good 10 years teaching at a failing inner city comp, originally in special measures, and only left recently to be nearer home for my own children. Yes, it does need a different approach to teaching and different strategies. How hard it must have been for these grammar school teachers to have been dropped from a great height into the centre of your classroom wearing an “I’m an outstanding teacher” badge. Was it their choice?

    The problem, as I see it, is not with the local grammar school teachers but in the way this has been foisted upon you (and these same teachers). Surely an exchange – seeing each other teach and the opportunity to discuss different aspects - would have be mutually beneficial. As you mentioned in your opening post "The department is all for shared experiences, reviewing teaching methods, learning new tricks". I am appalled at the manner in which this has been managed but also saddened by the level of your contempt. We can always find something to learn from watching others teach.

    Finally, look at the positives, many would envy your situation:

    It’s just a shame you seem to have to suffer under a similar blinkered SLT as many of the rest of us!
  5. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    So, do you teach your students that copious swearing will lend weight to their arguments?

    Yes, you sound just the kind of teacher most parents would want for their kids.
  6. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Why? You claim you work harder. Perhaps you do with respect to behaviour management. However I seriously doubt that you get through anywhere near as much material as the grammar school or deal with as much marking.

    My experience has been that teachers who arrive from the struggling schools have serious issues in managing workload with respect to what is being taught. Their teaching skills are more based on "edutainment" rather than anything rigorous. A generalisation, perhaps, but not one without basis.

    Some manage to make the transition, but very many do not.

    It is a commonly held belief that a good teacher in one environment will be an equally good teacher in another. I would disagree. A good teacher in one environment may become a good teacher in another environment, but it is by no means guaranteed and it certainly will not be immediate. There are different skill sets that need to be applied and different demands upon ones time.
  7. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    I just don't buy that at all. A teacher can be outstanding in one setting and borderline inadequate in another. I started my teaching career in a fairly rough comprehensive and, in short, I failed. I couldn't cope with it and didn't teach well. I teach in a different (though still comprehensive) setting now and do very well. The skillsets required for teaching classes of predominantly well motivated, compliant and good humoured children are rather different from those where the balance shift in favour of those who are rude, confrontational, and have so many other problems in their lives that learning maths is the last thing they want to do.

    I should add, for the sake of fairness, that there are plenty of teacher who can work miracles with bottom set year 10 in inner city Blackburn who would be lost trying to teach my Advanced Higher class effectively.
  8. We have two grammar schools where I live, plus a big private school. My school is down the road from a girls grammar school. Our school by comparison to the grammars is run down, has a feel of every thing being a struggle and many of our girls (and lads) feel second rate as a direct result of the "posh" schools close by. We are also a struggling school. I've been to the girls grammar school and the boys' for meetings and to see their classes, and the idea that their teachers should come into our environment and somehow impart their wisdom to us is just rubbish. I don't care how good a teacher someone is in their grammar school environment; an "outstanding" grammar school has by and large well-behaved, privalaged students, very supportive parents, opportunities that my students can only dream of and classes that are a different pace, using different techniques, a different ethos and completely different feel. If we had them coming over to our school, I think I would be smiling sweetly and nodding in the right places as they show and tell us how it should be done, and privately thinking about what I will be cooking for the kids that night.

    On a more constructive note, I would get the teachers from the OP's school to visit other schools that are *similar* in type. They should be given *time* to sit together, perhaps with others outside school, and discuss and plan strategies for improvement. If their situation is anything like ours, I suspect that the real root cause of all of this is that classes are too large, too mixed and the teachers are so busy trying to implement the latest school initiative and following every school policy that they don't have time to think, let alone improve.

    And longer term, the 164 grammars in this school are making life very difficult for the other schools around them. They should go, al schools should be mixed and all children should be given the same opportunities.

    In summary, I agree with the OP. Girls' grammar school teachers: they should **** off.
  9. m4thsdotcom

    m4thsdotcom Occasional commenter

    I have witnessed teachers who have been able to adapt and have been outstanding at both ends of the spectrum (even the key stages too).

    It could be argued that they are the outstanding ones? (again its all subjective isnt it?)

    As long as a teacher is servicing their pupils needs then to a high level I'm not sure every teacher needs to be outstanding in all classes, sectors or key stages.

    The only issue may arise if they were looking for work and couldn't find it in the area they excelled in before.

    You could draw parallels with football managers (if you wish!). Some club managers have been brilliant and failed at international level and vice versa. Will they be seen as great managers? Who knows!

    I still go back to my original point and feel we should be open to new suggestions to become better teachers regardless of our view of others job roles.
  10. weggster

    weggster New commenter

    I've taught in a range of schools including sink schools, seaside comprehensives, private schools, secondary moderns and very nice middle class all girl comps and I think you can learn something from anyone coming in. If you teach in a school with few, relatively, behaviour problems it gives you more time to create really good lesson ideas that could be shared with other teachers.

    If the visiting teachers were being smug then that is down to them and not all grammar school teachers.

    I've been in to a fair few schools (allegedly as an expert) to share ideas and always I've made sure that everyone realises, at the outset, that every school is different and that ideas are shared both ways.
  11. Guish

    Guish New commenter

    I used to have an old Italian teacher as a mentor for my IB training. It was very easy to learn form him because of a few reasons.

    First, he actually cared about students he taught. There were never things like " I think, you should". There was always "I tried this and it worked, maybe you could". I'm highlighting the lack of ego and genuine commitment displayed by the gentleman here.

    Second, he was open to learning as well. He was actually taking our ideas on board and thinking how to refine his own ideas during workshops.

    I think teachers can learn from each other under such conditions.
  12. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Quite the opposite! And I'm surprised a woman would suggest this.

    Girls do better when they don't have their lessons ruined by immature, disruptive boys. They are also often happier as they don't have to put up with being pressured into doing things they feel uncomfortable about (e.g. sexting).

    Also, when one is just teaching one sex one cannot adopt specific strategies that work better. For instance, most girls respond well to being treated kindly, while many boys take it as a sign of weakness.

    Apparently, there is some evidence that boys might be better off having girls around, but we are not one of those Asian countries that value boys more highly and are prepared to sacrifice girls' welfare for them. Or are we?
  13. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Tough one, isn't it?

    I mean, we'd probably all subscribe to the view that we should be doing the best thing for every one of the children we try to teach - but the problem comes when there's tension between the interests of those individual children.

    It's pretty clear that girls generally do better in single sex schools but boys often do better in mixed schools.

    Also brighter kids tend to do better in grammars. (Actually, I don't know of a counter argument to that.. is there any evidence that "kids who would not have passed an 11+" do worse in a comp in a selective area than in a selective one? How was the data collected??)

    So whose interests have priority? Should the girls' need for single sex education be a higher priority than the boys' need for mixed?
  14. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    My understanding is that it has usually been measured by comparing overall pass rates in areas that retain selection with those that don't. You'd then have to correct for family background etc. A glance at the raw data by county puts the grammar school counties like Kent and Lincolnshire marginally above the national average for 5 good GCSEs, but that doesn't tell us who fudged the results with BTECs and so on (at a guess I'd suggest that secondary moderns are more likely to need to pull that sort of thing to stay above floor targets)

    If memory serves the data on girls doing better in single sex education is decidedly mixed, except as far as subject choice goes, when girls are more likely to go for STEM subjects in a single sex setting.

    One thing I love about teaching though is the anomalies it throws up - like the young woman I taught a few years ago at a fairly dire comp in a semi-selective area who got 3 A* and an A at A-Level and has just gained a first from Cambridge in Natural Sciences.
  15. All schools should be mixed ability. I have no problem with single sex mixed ability schools, although I suspect the desire for single sex schools is more to do with paranoid white parents in professions and religious zealots than any other reason. Girls have to learn to mix and deal with boys in all settings, whatever the issues like sexting and peer pressure, and all pupils in our mixed society deserve equal opportunities - to allow eg girls to be sent to a girls school by sections of the muslim community simply encourages and reinforces the idea that girls should be segregated and does not help those girls trapped in the beliefs of their parents in a modern Britain.

    The point here is that the grammars in my area result in many youngsters feeling worthless in schools like mine and that is just wrong at such a young age.

    The maths teachers in these schools have no business coming to the 'scumsville' schools as the op puts it, (like mine as well) 'advising' us how to do our job as their environment is so completely different to ours. This is the wrong way to solve a problem. I can fully understand the obvious disgust by the op at having to host these geniuses from the grammar school.

    Just smile sweetly and nod in the right places and they'll be gone back to teaching 'Daisy' and Pruscilla' before you know it.
  16. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    The kind of fudging, I vehemently object to is quoting exam results in terms of the number of students who sit them. I get the impression that, in many supposedly good schools, students are often prevented having a good crack at an exam in case they fail or get a low grade, thus lowering the school's average. As far as I'm concerned this is nothing less than fraud. If schools report their results they should be compelled to do so as a percentage of students in the exam year, not those who sat the exam. In Enfield, where I live, I am told that several of the best schools are guilty of cheating kids out of their chances, simply so that they can look better.

    When they are young and vulnerable, there is absolutely no reason why they should be placed in an environment that adversely affects many of them. I wonder if cawlady has any experience of teaching in an all-girls school. I have, and I can tell you that I saw lots of happy girls, who were benefiting both emotionally and educationally from not having to deal with boys at this crucial stage of their life.
  17. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Sure, but it's also the case that the kids who go to the grammars tend to do better than they would have done had they gone to a comp.

    So we're trading one form of disadvantage for another one.

    I don't really see the moral high ground for "mixed ability" there..
  18. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    A school near me achieves very high science pass rates by not teaching "triple science".

    (A friend went there for a science job and when she was told this she just told them she would be taking her application no further and left!)
  19. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    Are you sure? It's instructive to look at somewhere like Lincolnshire, and sort a league table by value added, and see how much more effective some school are than others. There doesn't seem to be an discernible pattern. Indeed, it appears that in Skegness the grammar school drastically underperforms while the comp, now an academy, drastically overperforms.

  20. "When they are young and vulnerable, there is absolutely no reason why they should be placed in an environment that adversely affects many of them."

    This is hardly a problem in a modern Britain - the vast majority of schools are mixed sex and cope. Where problems exist, they are dealt with. Segregating / protecting the brightest girls by putting them into their own grammar schools after a test aged 10 and then sending out the teachers in these schools to "Scumsville Academies" to sort out their problems for them is not exactly the way forward. Neither is syphoning off the brightest 1000 girls in an area and thereby condemning 10,000 girls to be members of "Scumsville Academies". I suspect that it is because the parents of the 1000 are perhaps more paranoid and far better educated than others generally so know how to kick up a fuss when their "Pruscilla" or "Daisy" are in danger of coming into contact with council house boys and girls, perhaps on the bus or even in the classroom.

    I like where I teach but we and other similar schools are at a huge disadvantage by not having some of the best, most talented pupils come to our school. There should be a mix so everyone has a fair and equal start, and then we can share teachers and support each other across schools in a meaningful fashion.

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