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

Pressure to conduct live lessons at a secondary school

Discussion in 'Teaching & Learning' started by boznia, May 14, 2020.


Is your school expecting all of the staff to carry out live lessons?

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Up to us

  1. boznia

    boznia New commenter

    Hi, I am wondering what other people's experiences of conducting or being asked to conduct live lessons.

    Are school has encouraged us to do this more recently and many members of staff have reservations. I know that the union guidelines are that we do not do it - are schools ignoring this?

    As a department head, I have so far taken the decision to respect staff's wishes if they wish to carry out such things and also if they would prefer not to.

    Some are concerned about being recorded and the audio, video being misused. Some want to be in control of their online presence and carrying out live lessons would seem to lose control over this.

    There are many issues surrounding safeguarding of students and staff as far as live lessons are concerned and I fell this would need deep discussion in any school before we start carrying these out.

    Workload - as we would be preparing live lessons and the non-live work this will increase the preparation time ( I could see how there would be some overlap, but not always ). Those students who are contacting us through email or MS Teams or any other method who cannot attend the live lessons will still need our help and we would have to carry this out after the live lesson. Teachers of Core subjects are being asked to do more of this than teachers of non-core subjects, which causes division. In my particular subject we are setting work on a lesson by lesson basis ( as this is necessary ), whereas teachers of other subjects might be setting work for a series of lessons. I feel like are workload, which I get the impression is already higher than that of my peers, is potentially about to double.

    What are other people's views/experiences of this within their school?

    Apologies if this turned into a rant!

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter


    Just heard that my school may be going the way of live lessons. I would resist this for reasons you mention. Added to this, if you're teaching up front 5 hours a day, who's minding the kids/elderly relative etc?
    It's likely that parental exhaustion is pressurising schools into this. I know my students are content with what we've got going at the moment and the temptation to change this is for me zero. TBH, I'm not persuaded of the benefits. I may change my mind, if I've got one left after this pandemic.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. TheHeadteachersOffice

    TheHeadteachersOffice Occasional commenter

    To be frank, I think the unions cannot have it both ways. On the one hand they are saying children should not be back in school until it is ‘safe’- they know full well that no-one can provide a risk-free environment until we have a vaccine.

    On the other hand, they are also refusing to facilitate online teaching. So effectively they are proposing that pupils get very little education at all for the foreseeable future.

    I know the unions’ default position is to oppose any change at all but private schools are managing to offer online teaching without any of the problems unions have invented to stop it.

    Surely the workload would be no more than teaching normal lessons in school that also require marking and planning?
    RoelienPlatt likes this.
  4. agathamorse

    agathamorse Senior commenter

    Our school decided against live lessons for the following reasons:
    1. In families with more than 1 child, we can't expect each child to have access to their own laptop/computer to be able to access live lessons. Two boys, both expected to be in live lessons at the same time with 1 computer- it's not possible.
    2. Teachers have children and families too. Especially for colleagues withyoung children they cannot teach live from home and look after their own children at the same time.

    So we decided to put lessons up daily onto our VLE. Yes, it's time consuming to create lessons in this way. We're all marking work and giving feedback the students can contact us via the VLE or email for help. It works for us and our students.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I cannot vouch for other schools or other teachers but my students have certainly got much more than "very little education at all ". I prepare all day, assess, feedback much more frequently now. Writing a lesson which is being learned remotely is damned hard. My students are engaging in online learning (98%) and are enjoying the best of what the situation is. I am opposed to making a teacher perform for 5 hours a day on camera risking all manner of jiggery pokery from tech savvy students. It is very different from teaching in a classroom. The tech answer is also to do with bandwidth. not everyone can deliver lessons in this way. People are moving mountains to educate our children, let them alone.
    jiin71, jubilee, Corvuscorax and 4 others like this.
  6. boznia

    boznia New commenter

    ACOYEAR8 - I agree teachers (certainly those that I know of) are moving mountains as it is. I wonder if perhaps not all are doing so and this is what is causing the problem? partly through leading to parental pressure.

    I also worry about the gap that will develop between those that can get involved and those that can't.

    How many emails will we get from parents saying '2pm is difficult for us because ........ can't you do it at ....' or even record it and publish it, which many staff would not be comfortable with.
    ACOYEAR8 likes this.
  7. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    Parents have asked for it. Our school has refused at the current moment. Work packs for collection and a suggested timetable have been provided. Any not collected are delivered by SLT. Teachers are in regular phone contact with parents to respond to any questions or queries.

    Too many of our children do not have access to a device for online learning. Providing it when only some could access it would put the rest at a disadvantage and would not be a good use of staff time or resources.
    Jonntyboy, agathamorse and ACOYEAR8 like this.

    ACOYEAR8 Star commenter

    I don't teach in a particularly disadvantaged area but there are families that say they are unable to access online learning. However, these families all have smart phones and tablets as well as the usual variety of gaming devices. Providing packs is useful -I've found also that some parents lack entirely the literacy skills to support their children. Offering these children spaces in schools under lockdown should also be considered.
    Piscean1 likes this.
  9. jlmorgan100

    jlmorgan100 New commenter

    I have been making narrated / voice over PowerPoints. No video, just my voice. Feedback from students has been positive as they can access them when they are able and rewind if they need more clarity.
    I like them because they are easy to do and can be used for multiple classes. And if this goes on for another year, then I will be able to use them then.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You do know that there is a fairly large union membership among independent school staff don't you? And an awful lot of union activity there at the moment, possibly more than in state schools as SLT/governors don't have to negotiate with unions, but do have to accept that members will fight for what they need.

    For us the recording just means children can access at a different time if they need to.
    We record what might be called the 'input' of the lesson and then leave children to get on and ask questions in the chat section if they need to.

    Is apparently working well and nearly 100% children engaged and parents happy.
    LadyPsyche likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    Do not feed the troll . They only look to cause trouble..
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I agree in a way, but we do get threads sometimes asking if it is worth cancelling union membership from someone moving to an independent. I felt it was a point worth making on this occasion.

    But I am back at work tomorrow, so the troll will starve...:D
    agathamorse and install like this.
  13. install

    install Star commenter


    And good point. Always important to be a member of a Union.
  14. CabbageWhite20

    CabbageWhite20 Occasional commenter

    I’m teaching a full timetable of live lessons in an independent school. They are recorded for students in different time zones/anyone in that class to access later. I have two young children at home with me all day. It’s not a picnic, but it’s (just) doable. We have some kids with their own device, others where they are borrowing phones etc. 4 weeks in and we have got pretty much 100% attendance and I wonder if that is partly because the kids really like that ‘live’ contact.

    I’d still rather turn back the clock and be at school though.
  15. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    some teachers are ill

    some teachers are coping with bereavements

    some teachers don't have the bandwidth

    some teachers have young families

    some teachers are caring for elderly relatives

    some teachers are without a quiet place to work, with enough space

    Some teachers have other issues

    So no, not all teachers are doing as much as parents want. Tough luck
  16. TheHeadteachersOffice

    TheHeadteachersOffice Occasional commenter

    Better not tell the unions- according to them online teaching is totally impossible for teachers and students!
  17. sparkle1243

    sparkle1243 New commenter

    I'm in an independent school and like many other indy schools some staff have been furloughed.

    Those of us not furloughed are teaching live online lessons all day to our pupils. It's been a steep learning curve but I really think the pupils appreciate some semblance of normality at this time. It is doable, despite what the unions may say and I think it will be necessary for more schools to do the same where possible if this continues too much longer.

    My worry from this is the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils widening even further. As those who are unable to access online learning fall further and further behind.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    They actually say it isn't advised...
    And from what we read on here of the behaviour and attitudes of pupils and SLT in some schools, I can see their point.
    marsdenhurst likes this.
  19. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Star commenter

    One of my friends has had a hacker get into an online lesson and show pornography to a year 7 class
  20. hs9981

    hs9981 Lead commenter

    Tough day at the office!

Share This Page