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Seriously Concerned

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by MacMe, Aug 27, 2011.

  1. Hi,

    I started a teaching post in September 2010 as an NQT. As part of my responsibilities I was given both a GCSE class (by myself) and an A Level Class (teaching with other experienced teachers). Everything appeared to have gone well. The GCSE class, I should add were a class which were of relatively low ability, ie would be sitting Foundation Teir.

    So A level results came out and all pupils met their target grade, and I was both pleased for them, working hard and securing their grade and happy that I myself had taught them as best I could.

    The GCSE grades are an entirely different story. The majority of my group were below their target grades by 2 grades.

    The spec was covered in sufficient time, we had went over a number of past paper questions and revision lessons were scheduled prior to the exam (no one attended).

    What is causing me a great deal of concern and a significant amount of sleep loss is wondering if disciplinary action will be taken against me as a result of the underperformance, especially in light of a news story which highlighted how inadequate teachers could be sacked under some new law (or something).

    I have been observed by both my HoD, 2nd in Dept and Deputy Head in line with the requirements of my NQT year. These have all been good. Random learning walks also took place which also was fine.

    Essentially what I need to know is
    1. What happens in this case?
    2. Could I be disciplined / sacked?
    3. What should I expect on the first day back?

    Any advice to settle my nerves / prepare me would be most welcome!


    Nervous NQT.
  2. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    1. Not an awful lot to you personally. You HOD is responsible for standards. If they judge your teaching to be good, then you are not underperforming. They might ask you about it, they might not.
    2. No. You might find you have to show progress of this coming year's year 11s more frequently as monitoring of standards, but that would actually be reassuring for you.

    3. One the first day? Nothing. Senior staff will be doing the panicking, it is what they get paid extra for. Leave them to do it.

    I know it is scary for you, but please don't worry. If it was me I would make a quick spreadsheet with columns for name, starting grade, any grades through the year, target grade, actual grade, comments. Comments to include things like 'invited to revision classes but did not attend', 'had to phone home for coursework', 'missed next grade by 3 marks', and so on. Then give it to your HOD (or put it in their pigeon hole) with a note that just says you were disappointed, but here is a record of the year.
  3. Sillow

    Sillow Senior commenter

    I had a similar thing at the end of last term - primary, but in the same boat with lots of children not doing well in Maths. I was convinced I would be disciplined and/or sacked, despite reassurances of experienced teachers. When I finally came to talk to the HT about something else, the lack of progress was mentioned but it was stated that we had focussed on Literacy during INSET and staff meetings this year (I'm only in my 2nd year) and that was it! Nothing more was said, although I've been brushing up on my Maths over the holiday and am determined to try harder this year.
    It is nerve-wracking, but if they fired all teachers for not meeting targets, I doubt there'd be many of us left! Please try not to worry, it did me no good and was all for nothing!
  4. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I have a similar concern and was wondering if I could ask for some advice. I have a Year Ten class who had their GCSE English exam this year and from what I can see, quite a few of the class have underperformed on one paper and some have performed well on the second paper. Their Controlled Assessment folders have been looked at and my teaching and learning walks have all been fine. I achieved an 'outstanding' with the class for my final year observation, some have achieved their target grade on both papers, but I am worrying that I will be labelled as a rubbish teacher. What should I do?
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Sounds about normal!
    One paper often brings the other up or down. Look at the overall grade before you worry!
  6. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Well, one got a U on the reading paper and the other paper was a grade D and the target is a C grade. The Controlled Assessments the pupil did was a C.
    I think my days as a teacher are numbered.
  7. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    When you say 'one' do you mean one child or one class?

    If the former, then stop fussing, it is normal. If you mean the latter, then errrr you might have to rethink your career!
  8. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    It wasn't the whole class. No. Some of them have either got one grade below their target or achieved it. I haven't seen the whole class yet, only the ones spoke to on results day. But there is one pupil who achieved a U and a D on the exams, the pupil is targetted at a C, but is weak. Another, is targetted an A and got a U on one paper and a B on the other, but rarely attended the lessons for the reading paper.
  9. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Surely, if it was me, then at least two I have spoke with would not have got high B's, if it was my teaching?
  10. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Please reassure me that the reading paper was the one he got a U on?
    Errrmm with that grasp of probability it is a good thing that you teach English!

    Out of my group of 30 year 6 (top set) maths (I used to teach secondary maths, but became disillusioned with the 'need to get a C' mentality) there were 18 targeted at a level 5, only 12 managed it. So 20% of my class underperformed. Have I lost my job? Nopes. Have I had any tricky conversations? Only one and I did what I suggested someone else do with a spreadsheet and it was fine. Am I a rubbish teacher? Nopes.

    A target grade usually means that is the best grade one can hope for, not a certainty. Please, please stop worrying.
  11. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    It was the reading paper.
  12. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    So you could be the most amazing teacher ever in the world, but he won't achieve if he doesn't bother to turn up. It cannot be a reflection on your teaching now can it?
  13. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I have been observed with the class on numerous occassions, one of which was by Ofsted. But I am concerned that when I go back in September, they are going to be asking me what I have been playing at.
    However, I have got a candidate who got a C, and another two who have got B's. The others are very vague at the moment as not spoke to any others on results day.
    The results are worrying me. What I thought wasn't such a big issue at the time, has now become a huge worry. I always want to do the best for my pupils and want them to do well - not fail.
  14. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    There isn't much more I can say.

    You don't have the results of the whole class, nor even very many of them, all the rest could have As! You have cited a handful of pupils who haven't done as well as hoped, but some of whom rarely came to class anyway! You have been observed as a great teacher. You really have nothing at all to worry about.

    Of course you want the best for your pupils, doesn't everyone? But you cannot do the work for them. You can only do the teaching, it is down to them to learn it.
  15. I'm sorry - I have to say that I hope when you are teaching them English you don't use sentences like ' the two I have spoke to'. I don't mean to sound patronising but you've written it like that time and again, which for an English teacher worries me! I hate people who comment on typos but this just stood out as possibly being pertinent to your concerns.
  16. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I can assure you that I do not talk in that way, thank you. I was rushing my ideas on here as I was not really sure what would be best. My Standard English has never been criticised at all on PGCE and after it.
  17. Just one thing for me to add here. All teachers do need to be aware of the difference between responsibility and accountability.
    As teachers we are all responsible for the quality of our teaching and preparation and all associated duries such as marking, coursework etc.
    Overall we are not responsible for the results, but we are accountable. So we need to show what we have done and where possible provide reasoned explanation for the results the class takes, it may well be that despite our best efforts some pupils simply did not work hard enough or they were not interetsed in the subject enough to care about their grades. It mayt well be that the predictions were wrong, the data led us to the wrong conclusion about their potential.
    There can be many reasone for not achieving the results predicted proivided you remember the difference between responsibility and accountability then there should not be an issue.
  18. Crowbob

    Crowbob Established commenter

    That is an extremely succinct way of putting it, James!

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