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

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

  1. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    "Cope" is not a measure of excellence. It's an excuse.

    Agreed. Syphoning off the worst behaving 1000 might do a lot for the other 9000 though. But, until that happens:

    And why is that a bad thing? (In the absence of being able to separate out the bottom 1000?)

    Why? What good does it do the brightest to be denied the best opportunity for them simply because of your idea of "fair"?

    Should we cut off Usain Bolt's legs so the 100m is fair for the rest of us?
  2. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    No, they kick up a fuss when they realise that their kids are not being taught properly in their classes because the school is too weak/ineffectual/tied by legislation to deal with bad behaviour in class. Very many of the kids who get in to grammar schools are no different from the kids that do not as far as social background is concerned. Each time bad behaviour is excused because of the background of a pupil, discrimination is taking place and that discrimination sends a very clear message.

    Ask yourself this question: Is your school an equal environment? Do all kids - irrespective of their background - get treated in the same manner? Do all of them get equally disciplined and praised irrespective of their background?

    If your school in itself is not an equal environment, then how can you even begin to tackle how it feels in comparison with other schools?
  3. "No, they kick up a fuss when they realise that their kids are not being taught properly in their classes because the school is too weak/ineffectual/tied by legislation to deal with bad behaviour in class. "

    Rubbish. There are thousands and thousands of brilliant primary and secondary mixed ability, mixed sex schools. There is no need whatsoever to have grammars.

    "Very many of the kids who get in to grammar schools are no different from the kids that do not as far as social background is concerned. "

    It's difficult to generalise but by and large, children going to grammars are in a much better position for all kinds of reasons already stated than students who go to my school. Creaming off the academically able into cacoons leaves huge areas across my county (and beyond, as the grammars take from more than one county where I am) where schools become sink schools, or are immediately at a disadvantage.
  4. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    And at least the same number which are rubbish.

    However your argument doesn't negate the need for Grammar schools. What you are wanting to do is sacrifice the needs of some for the needs of others. That is your opinion. Others have a different opinion.

    Those children will be in a better position irrespective of the existence of Grammar schools. Whining about the existence of other schools is not going to change the reality of your charges. "Creaming off" the most able does not create sink schools. It is the attitude of the stakeholders at the schools - staff, students, management and parents - and circumstances that create sink schools.
  5. I don't believe there are any easy jobs available for classroom teachers, each school brings its own set of demands.

    As for some teachers being 'universally' outstanding, I'm not at all convinced since the demands of different schools vary so widely. I do think it's possible to learn from colleagues in different situations but clearly the exchange at bobdeenmaths' school has been handled terribly.

    I've always had the greatest of admiration for colleagues working in challenging inner city schools. The posts that have come to this thread from teachers working in those schools have really shown that they are absolutely dedicated to the job. I know for sure I couldn't get up every morning and face what they do.

    I have friends working in the full spectrum of schools but in my experience, and it seems to be confirmed by this thread, I've never heard of anyone saying 'I used to teach in a nice comfy Independent/International/Selective school but now I teach in an inner city comp'.
  6. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    While on the face of it that is true, it's also true that some jobs are much easier than others. Going from teaching 150 kids a week in a rough comp to 20 in a remote Scottish high school I'd be lying if I tried to claim my current job is as hard as my old one. Teaching people who at least have no particular objection to learning makes an enormous difference. As does being able to do all your marking for the week in your preparation time and still have time to try out physics experiments. There are different demands here, certainly, but they're not as great as those in a larger school.
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    There is nothing particularly holy about teaching in an inner city school. People teach there because they wish to. I have respect for colleagues who teach in those schools, but no more than I have respect for colleagues who teach in all schools.

    I have known of a number of teachers who have made the switch back to UK inner city schools. Some have stayed, most have returned to the independent or international sector.
  8. I wouldn't mind betting that teachers who land a cushy job in a girls grammar school end up staying for large parts if not all of their remaining career! I wonder if it is because all they have to deal with is a bit extra marking, a few more vocal parents and going 'there there" to "Daisy" when she has a sprained foot from horse riding on Saturday. You hear of very few teachers moving from a cushy girls grammar back to Scumsville, although I am sure it happens from time to time. The idea that these teachers in grammar schools are somehow working as hard as the stressed out teachers dealing every day largely with baggaged children from deprived areas in run down Scumsville Academy down the road doesn't hold up. And then to think of these teachers in their relatively cushy jobs, who are paid the same as us incredibly hard working teachers are then sent guru-like into Scumsville to impart their enlightened wisdom and knowledge from the top of a mountain is a joke. The more I think about the OP's first post, the stronger I agree with them.
  9. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    You poor thing! Would you like someone to give you some cheese with that whine?
  10. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    It is also curious that those who presume that teaching in a Grammar school is easier are not asking for more pay for themselves but for less pay for others. This suggests that rather than looking at this rationally, there is an element of jealousy and vindictiveness at play.

    The bottom line is, if you are happy with your job, then why do you want others to be paid less for what they do? If you are not happy with your job then get a job in another school.
  11. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Perhaps it's because they enjoy being in an environment where they can get on with teaching their subject, rather than zoo keeping. It might also be that they get a lot of satisfaction from having students that really appreciate them, and treat them with consideration.

    From your join date I'm guessing you are still very young and somewhat naive. So, here's some free advice. Most kids from better off families are hardworking, ambitious, and nice.
  12. fieldextension

    fieldextension New commenter

    Of course, what kids from socially deprived areas really need are teachers who create wild overgeneralisations from limited experience, are jealous, potty-mouthed and exude unrelenting negativity.
  13. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    ... which makes the job easier. Is that really that difficult to comprehend? From your tone I'm guessing that you're old and somewhat arrogant and think age equates to wisdom.
  14. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    Not really.

    The job of teaching maths isn't really different. What's different is the behaviour management.

    Now, in environments where poor behaviour is "excused" or "selectively ignored" because "we have to be sympathetic to the difficult backgrounds these kids come from", etc., then it's almost impossible to ever actually get to the teaching maths bit.

    But don't imagine this is really because of the kids.

    It's because of spineless SLT who will not support staff in properly dealing with behaviour.

    There is no "God Given" reason why teachers in Scumsville Academy should have to tolerate behaviour in lessons (or outside lessons) that would not be acceptable at Princess Grammar. But they do have to tolerate it because of management (and, it must be said, some teachers) attitudes that, ultimately mean "as long as I don't get to hear about it, that's OK".
  15. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Paul, you just beat me to replying to the same comment.

    In Scumsville Comp, as long as Jonny hasn't molested Jenny, or broken a chair over Jame's head, and maybe 10 minutes of the lesson was actually spent on some very basic maths, then it's regarded as a good lesson. No one is likely to complain that their teaacher hasn't explained something clearly.

    Meanwhile, at Good Girls' Grammar, the teacher may well be explaining the ambiguous case for the sine rule, and every student (their parents, and SMT) will expect that explanation to be clear.

    In the first school strong zoo-keeping skills, will be required: the maths teaching skills aren't going to be tested much. In the second school it' the other way around. But who is to say which job is easier. It depends on which of these the teacher is better at.
  16. DM

    DM New commenter

    I'm not sure repeatedly suggesting children who attend state schools are wild animals adds a lot to your argument David.
  17. BillyBobJoe

    BillyBobJoe Established commenter

    Problem is that you get both. Even in the roughest comp there are bright kids who want to do well. You can be faced with a class of 30 of whom 10 are capable of an A* and need a decent explanation of the sine rule as much as anyone in the grammar does, and some will indeed have parents who will expect it. Some of those 10 will have parents who expect it but the child in question is more interested in causing havoc, standing on tables; and parents will complain when their little darling is removed from the lesson as a result. It doesn't matter how good your support is if there isn't a critical mass of well behaved students to set the tone for the rest. And you will still get it in the neck when the little sod in question doesn't reach their FFTD target. Rough doesn't mean the kids are thick, necessarily. I've already mentioned in this thread the student of mine who has just graduated from Cambridge.

    Even if the claim was true, trying to maintain order and teach people who struggle with basic maths, while maintaining your sanity in the face of verbal and sometimes physical abuse is very difficult. I don't know where you get the idea that teaching basic maths is easier anyway. It is if you're teaching it to able students, it's not if you're teaching it to students who can't reliably subitise or even (and yes I've seen this) miscount their fingers.

    Have you ever taught (and I'm not talking about a few days on supply) in a rough school?
  18. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    During my teaching practice was probably the roughest school, though by no means as bad as far too many are today.

    I've got zero tolerance for disruptive kids, as I regard what they do as logically equivalent to stealing from their classmates. In fact what they do is far worse, because a bit of money or a mobile phone is less important than a wrecked education.

    Anyway, I got the 4 or 5 boys (it's almost ALWAYS boys) removed from my year 10 class. The improvement and benefit to the rest of the class was truly amazing!

    I'm more than happy to face down any parent who complains about a kid I kick out of a class, and SMT should be supportive of this. Another poster mentioned that a lot of the problems in Scumsville are down to SMT being far too willing to condone poor behaviour.

    With the defence cutbacks, what many of these schools need is a retired drill sergeant on their payroll. In fact, compulsory CCF, with the uniform worn and inspected every day, and some drill every day, is just what these kids need. And those who don't want to be in class would spend the time marching up and down the parade ground.
  19. Karvol:

    Your reply seems to confirm my thoughts; people who work in selective/independent/international schools rarely go back to teach in inner-city comps, other than as a temporary means to return to the UK.

    I'm not certain that I implied people teaching in inner-city schools are doing something holy, but what I said was that I personally admire them, that's my choice.


    Your posts pretty much mirror my own thoughts.

    My own personal experience has been gained in schools 'in a city' as opposed to 'inner-city' schools. The schools have been mixed comprehensives, both with a mixture of children. I've taught classes with students sitting the STEP papers (I coached them), whilst at the same school I've taught classes with students who were very street wise and capable of testing even the most capable of teachers.

    I think some measure of support from leadership is necessary for success in such schools, a culture of success and taking a pride in work goes a long way. I think a fair part of it is down to the skills of the classroom teacher, and if there is a bulk of teachers who have good class management skills (keeping order and teaching as well) then that really helps.

    I think the worst informed comments in the thread seem to have come from those with no real (or recent) experience of any type of state sector school.
  20. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    It is not really a shocker is it? In International or Independent schools ( generally ) there are less issues with behaviour management and the pay is better. Once one is used to working in that environment, one would presume that there is little incentive, other than personal ideology, to return to the inner-city comprehensive.

    I have a colleague who started teaching in a comprehensive school where he was assaulted a total of 17 times in 2 years. I asked him why he stayed after the first assault. His comment was that when he was first assaulted and he reported it to the head, she just shrugged and asked him what the problem was. Swearing was something that was so minor it wasn't even sanctioned, including swearing at staff members. After a while it becomes normal and it becomes the accepted level of behaviour.

    Now I am not saying all schools are like that, but it is a tale I have heard repeatedly from colleagues who are either teaching in the state sector or have recently left it. Even if it is just a small minority of schools, is it still acceptable?

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