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PGCE student - an unwilling accomplice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by pavot, May 4, 2012.

  1. I'm a PGCE student at a difficult school and one of the classes I teach is a FCSE/Entry Level group for Spanish.
    It has come to my attention that the class teacher for the parallel set (not a PGCE student) has not covered all the tasks required by the exam board. The other day in the MFL Workroom I saw this class teacher with a calculator, and they openly admitted to me that they were averaging out marks for the tasks they hadn't done.



    This would be bad enough on it's own, but they also asked my fellow PGCE student how they felt about forging students' handwriting to present to the moderators. I've emailed my PGCE tutor but from the replies I've received, it sounds like he's going to brush this under the carpet, for the sake of keeping it as a partner school, as there have been problems with this school in the past.



    I have a meeting with him on Tuesday, but I'm not sure what I need to do now - if he decides not to support me do I go to the head of the PGCE, the head of the school, or both?



    If you're a headteacher, would you want to know?
    If you were in my position what would you do?
     
  2. I'm a PGCE student at a difficult school and one of the classes I teach is a FCSE/Entry Level group for Spanish.
    It has come to my attention that the class teacher for the parallel set (not a PGCE student) has not covered all the tasks required by the exam board. The other day in the MFL Workroom I saw this class teacher with a calculator, and they openly admitted to me that they were averaging out marks for the tasks they hadn't done.



    This would be bad enough on it's own, but they also asked my fellow PGCE student how they felt about forging students' handwriting to present to the moderators. I've emailed my PGCE tutor but from the replies I've received, it sounds like he's going to brush this under the carpet, for the sake of keeping it as a partner school, as there have been problems with this school in the past.



    I have a meeting with him on Tuesday, but I'm not sure what I need to do now - if he decides not to support me do I go to the head of the PGCE, the head of the school, or both?



    If you're a headteacher, would you want to know?
    If you were in my position what would you do?
     
  3. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I think you should worry about your own class/set and leave other staff to worry about theirs. There is no way on this planet anyone at all will appreciate the interference of a trainee. Let the classteacher for your set know and leave them to it.
     
  4. The teacher is the class teacher both classes, but he only teaches one because I am taking the other one.

    I think you've misunderstood - a teacher has openly admitted to forging and inflating results, and asking trainees to join them in doing this. This is GM and as the thread title says, I don't want to become an unwilling accomplice, as if I let this happen, I'm effectively sanctioning it.
    It undermines the work of not only me, as a trainee, but the also the work of the students, and also the work of teachers in general.
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You are a PGCE trainee you do not have responsibility for any class. You may well be teaching one of them, but the classteacher is responsible.

    No I haven't misunderstood. But you are unlikely to pass your placement by trying to get your teacher sacked. Nor will another school be keen to take you for a resit placement. The vast majority of schools are not 100% squeaky clean when it comes to coursework results, you will need to become more tolerant.

    It is not your place to kick up a stick, nor is it in your best interests. If it bothers you that much speak to the HOD and leave them to deal with it or not.

    It goes without saying, I hope, that you say no to being involved.
     
  6. I have to be honest, my school's not squeaky clean in terms of c/w results - none are, as far as I know, but actually asking PGCE placement students to forge children's handwriting is beyond anything I've ever heard before. If you *** up, normally it's dealt with on the QT. The fact that pavot's class teacher was doing it so openly suggests that the HoD doesn't care.

    To be honest, it bothers me. I work bloody hard to get all of my kids through their assessments and fill in all the paperwork accurately and so on. Making up results would be a damn sight easier, but it's completely unprofessional, and not only that, it pisses on all of the hard work that I've done.

    Pavot, I'd definitely go to the head of the PGCE (probably for an informal chat, rather than as a formal complaint), and discuss with him taking it up with the head. When are you next at uni?
     
  7. Ok, I am not 'responsible' for them (however I have been teaching them for several months and have taken them through formal exams... as responsible teacher would - but that's besides the point). The class I teach is all up to date and on top of things.



    I may not have any 'responsibility' and I am quite aware that there is a certain massaging of results here and there among departments, but I assumed it stopped at this. However this teacher asked us to forge students handwriting - i.e. do the exam for them.



    Are you suggesting what I can take from my PGCE course is that teachers cheat and commit GM and they shouldn't be countable for their actions, even when they try and drag others down with them?



    My HOD is incredibly unsupportive (which is why the school's had problems in the past). I won't fail my placement for reporting something that is a) illegal and b) morally repugnant. If anything, I think it'd be my duty to do so.
     
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    And I honestly think this would be the quickest way to fail your placement. There is no way a HT is going to want to keep a student who makes this sort of fuss and they will find a way to get rid of you. HTs talk and there is very little likelihood of you being able to resit in another school, let alone get a post for Sept in the area. But if it makes you feel better than go ahead.
     
  9. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    You are incredibly naive if you think this.
     
  10. This is irrelevant, I already have a job in September abroad.



    I have a week of my PGCE left, I have filled all QTS, with only two formal observations to my name, no concerns raised before and my classes achieving excellent assessment scores, I can't really see how they could fail me.



    The only way I could see me failing is if I actually did what the class teacher asked me, and forged handwriting and pass it off as a students.



    Anyway, this isn't about whether I'll fail my PGCE - I won't fail. It's about what action I should take next to report a teacher that is giving teaching a bad name and doing a disservice to the kids. They deserve better than this.
     
  11. Sorry, what grounds do you think they'd fail me on?
     
  12. If pavot's only got a week left, then I can't really see how they'd fail him/her at this point, unless s/he were already cause for concern. I'd agree that it'd be a poor move earlier on in the placement, but frankly, someone needs to make a stand about it. The teacher involved needs a bollocking at the very least.
     
  13. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    I would suggest it's up to that PGCE student to decide what they want to do about it.
    Your decision rests on what to do about the situation that has "come to your attention".

    In your position I'd keep my mouth shut. I agree with minnieminx.
     
  14. A bit of a hyperbole, but if you saw someone being murdered in the street, would you keep your mouth shut just because it wasn't happening to you? Or would you do the honest thing and report it?



    My fellow PGCE placement student also wants to take this up, so I suppose this question comes from the both of us.
     
  15. anon8315

    anon8315 Established commenter

    I'm quite surprised at this advice. As someone has pointed out, it isn't just notes being smuggled into controlled assessments: it's cheating in its purest form.
    I think at the very least the student needs to talk to the PGCE mentor.
    Suppose they had witnessed or heard about a teacher hurting or harming a child? Would we all be saying "oh, ignore it?" I bet we wouldn't - so why is this OK?
     
  16. phatsals

    phatsals Occasional commenter

    You really need to be absolutely clear here on what you are alleging. Were you actually asked to forge details or has someone else told you they were asked as stated in your first post? It would be for your fellow student to raise that, not you.
    As things stand you have no actual evidence, what you have could very easily be denied, it would be your word (student) against that of a full time member of staff. You have a very low opinion of your placement school, have you tried to be moved elsewhere or has it suited you in some way?
    You need to be very careful about what you are saying and you do need to take care about who you repeat your suspicions to. You may be right, but you may not. The one thing that will be evidence based would be your written allegations and you really will be risking your PGCE.
    Are you prepared to sacrifice your course to back up what you say as it is highly unlikely you will be able to stay in the school if you do 'whistle blow'. Any investigation would be in-house, where exactly do you think that would leave you? You certainly won't get any support from the school to finish your placement.
    Keep your powder dry until you are signed off, then make a report if you feel you must. Until then put up and shut up for your own sake.
     
  17. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    Because the situation is different? Yours is a false comparison but what the school is doing is still cheating.
     
  18. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Lead commenter

    It's not the same thing at all.
    Since you don't plan to stay in teaching and only did the PGCE because of the bursary, I don't see why you're so bothered, to be honest.
    It appears from what you say that the other student was actually asked to falsify pupils' work (or so you've been told) but you've merely seen cheating going on. If you report it it's your word against that of a more experienced teacher who might well have covered their tracks by now.
    Cheating is not uncommon (I'm not saying it's right) and by and large no one's very interested if it's reported.
     
  19. Agreed. As much as I think OP should report what he/she has seen/heard, I think comparing it to murder and child abuse is well wide of the mark.

    I think that perhaps an anonymous note in the head's pigeonhole on the day you leave might be the way forward, as well as talking to your PGCE tutor.
     
  20. Thank you for your answer! On this advice, I think we'll leave it to after we've finished the placement. But I would like to hear other thoughts too. The reason I'm asking on here is to get anonymous advice. I'm not trying to 'out' anyone, or get anyone the sack, I'm just trying to do what's right. At the very least, if the teacher doesn't do things by the book, they should at least try not to share it with us naive pgcers. Rather scary stuff!



    I was with my PGCE student when the class teacher asked my co-PGCE placement student if he'd forge handwriting, on replying no of course not, the class teacher asked 'Why, is it a religious thing or something?'


    Bloody ridiculous!
     

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