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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Ms Chipping, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Ms Chipping

    Ms Chipping New commenter

    I did a GTP in my late 30s after having two kids. The school where I studied and did my NQT was awful to me (I'd never experienced such bulling), and I nearly stopped teaching altogether then. I applied to another school and got the job. I remember the first day thinking 'I may not be able to cope past half term if its the same as before'. Thankfully the school was completely different (supportive HOD and SMT) and I've worked there happily ever since. However...... Since joining I have taken on more teaching every year. In the first year I taught AS along with KS3 and KS4, the following year I taught AS and A2. Last year I agreed to teach another A level subject aswell and this year I am teachind AS and A2 in two Alevel subjects + year 8,9,10 and 11. That comes to 9 separate classes a week, all on different schemes of work (120 pupils a week). I am used to spending weekends preparing lesssons, but teaching 2 A levels is really taking its toll and I definately feel out of my specialism in one of the A2. I'm having to teach myself before I teach the kids.
    I have also been put on a middle management course. I stepped in for someone else. I'm not currently in middle management and am really only responsible for mysel at work. I've found the course interesting, but also depressing. It is very clear that OFSTED expect near perfection when they observe. They focus not only on outstanding lessons every lesson, but on closed marked exercise books with regular feedback and progression. All of this is of course what any parent would want, me included, but working as a teacher I feel that I am trying to tackle an impossible job. How is it possible to prepare amazing lessons for 9 groups (42 hours) a fortnight, when the GCSE syllabus has changed and I'm teaching many lessons I've never prepared before. I find it takes a hour at least to prepare a lesson from scratch esp A level. How is it possible to close mark 120 pupils work on a regular basis? I expect the school to be OFSTEDed next year and I can imagine it being a dreadful experience. The SMTs who give the middle management course talk about pressurising teachers to meet targets. Having difficult conversations with failing teachers. The whole drive is to make teachers work harder or get rid of them.
    I worked in industry before I had my kids. We were given tasks that were paid for by a particular 'pot' of money and each week we filled out time sheets showing how we had spent our time. In teaching they give you a full weeks teaching work and then expect reports, marking, preparation etc etc to be done aswell. They don't care where the time comes from, they just expect it to be done without any time management assessment. Every month it seems as though we have to address a new issue that may be assessed by OFSTED and we are directed to 'find evidence' adding to this impossible list of tasks that need to be completed.
    Its like the fairy story Rumplestiltskin where the woman is asked to spin straw into gold. I increasingly feel as though I go to work to do an impossible job. Sadly I have no Rumplestiltskin.
  2. kittylion

    kittylion Established commenter

    Mrs C I really feel for you.

    I think it is unreasonable to expect people to teach high level classes out of their specialism area with no support or extra time to allow for the extra preparation they will need. Was there no discussion of this when you were asked?

    I only teach in KS3 within my specialism. I have 10 classes and even I find it a chore to keep up with marking. A lot of this is down to the exhaustion I feel due to age and the behaviour of the lower ability classes - and even middle ability year 9 - but I remember I was even more tired when I had GCSE classes too. I haven't had GCSE for a few years now because of the low numbers opting for it in Y10, but I still feel I am running just to keep up.

    Can you not discuss this with your line manager - you could quote parts of your post as they express the problem so well. Is there anyone else in a similar position to you at your school? If so surely they are experiencing the same problems and you could seek advice together.

    Personally I feel that something will have to give - either one of the A level classes which are new to you, or the course or something. Surely anyone can see that if it takes an hour to prepare a lesson, then there aren't enough hours in the day to do close marking, record keeping and all the 101 other things we have to do (keep meaning to write a list but don't have time) and as soon as something like reports come along then something else has to go.
  3. Ms Chipping

    Ms Chipping New commenter

    Thanks for your reply
    I've decide to talk to my HOD about reducing the A level teaching next year. I just can't keep spending hours every weekend preparing new lessons. Its like being a permanent NQT. Even then I still don't believe the task is doable. SMT don't believe in SMART targets for teachers

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