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Shared gcse class

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by pegaleg1989, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. pegaleg1989

    pegaleg1989 New commenter


    In the department we have a GCSE class with two teachers. However this is not working. Communication between teachers is not working and students behaviour is at an all time low.

    Has anyone got any strategies of how we can overcome this? Does one teacher do revision? Do we split the lessons so teachers teach two different modules? Any ideas welcomed
  2. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Split the modules; it means each is responsible for their own area and when results come in, it is clear who taught what, etc.
  3. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Why is communication not working? There is a lot unsaid in your post, yet they are quite strong assertions you make.
    With the best will in the world, not matter how you divvy up the course content, you will not be getting the best from the children if you are not communicating. What's going wrong?
    If you can make inroads in that area, then you can tackle the behaviour too. You need to share not just academically but also pastorally, seating plans, behaviour sanctions, class routines, chasing up lost books, eliminating opportunities for them to give you the runaround. All that.
    GCSE class sharing is possible in so many ways, but the strictures of not liaising with each other are going to cost both of you extra time and planning too. If you communicate there is scope, for example, for one person to do a "finishing off" lesson which the other started. Or to alternate between planning whole modules and spoon feeding the other teacher until it's their turn to plan.
    What's going on? Is it that bad? Or is it simply a question of, say, impossible logistics between 2 part timers?
    monicabilongame likes this.
  4. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    Definitely split the modules of the course. Even with colleagues who do communicate well, I think this makes it much easier and clearer.
  5. pegaleg1989

    pegaleg1989 New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. It is between two part timers. I have tried several times to get both to talk but one is unable to email consistently (we are dealing with that separately). It has got to the point where they have fallen out over this class and their different approaches so are holding a mediation meeting today and then propose ways forward.
  6. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Ah, tricky.
    And you are HoD?
    Sounds like some delegation is in order...

    (whatever is decided how to split things, recommend an actual book in the room, where they log briefly what they have done each time, so the other can have a quick look)
  7. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    Listen to both parties first, let everyone air what their problems are and then tell them you all have to move forward as time is running out. Minute the meeting and action points. Include an SLT member.

    Clearly split the work so everyone knows what everyone else is doing. Have a log book on your desk so each teacher can summarise in a few sentences what was covered immediately after each lesson and you can see what was covered. Is there a week by week plan of who is doing what from now until May? Emphasise that school policies should be followed for everything from behaviour, phones etc. Fix dates now for regular departmental meetings where progress of each student can be discussed, issues raised, action agreed etc. Include SLT random drop-ins to check progress. State expectation that they will work together as highly paid professions, and deal with problems in a professional manner.

    At least one of them is a ******** so you will need to monitor closely and frequently in tbe short term. Apart from SLT, also drop in regularly.

    What support do they need to get behaviour back in track? Ask them. Help them deal with behaviour. If it is off track it will take a lot of effort to recover it.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  8. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    most schools I have worked in have split GCSE and A level classes.
    It really should not be a problem.
    You need clearly defined boundaries on who is teaching what, and stick with your own.
    wanet likes this.
  9. ILoveTeaching

    ILoveTeaching New commenter

    I have had success with shared classes when were not allowed to split the units up and we did the following:

    Set up a simple spreadsheet in a shared area that both teachers quickly update during planning and/or after their lesson.

    Date, teacher code, topic, essential info the other person needs for their next lesson, etc.
    how far you got on the topic, what exercise in the textbook is next, what method you used, etc.
    It can also have details of who is setting the next homework, when you are collecting books, etc.

    As much or as little info as the teachers need.

    It takes a minute to fill in, but helps out the 'other person' and can really help communication without the need for busy teachers having to find each other and meet up face to face all the time.

    One very skeptical colleague that I shared with, initially refused to even look in the spreadsheet, but then really liked it once she started using it. It helped our sharing go from very tense, to easy!

    Not for everyone, but it might help?
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    This. Who wouldn't want the best outcomes for the students? Who wouldn't cooperate with a colleague to ensure that this is so? Only some kind of numpty.

    One or both of them is behaving badly. I think they need to be told. There have been lots of concrete ideas already and I've never taught GCSE but it doesn't take a secondary specialist to know that a lot of guidance/direction is needed. It's outrageous that kids be allowed to "fail" just because two teachers don't get on.

    The joys of management! o_O
    phlogiston likes this.
  11. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    The easiest way of doing this is by one teacher teaching paper 1 and one teacher teaching paper 2. (If the gcse has 2 papers). Each teacher has their own SOW. Otherwise do it by topic. Would it be possible for the students to have an exercise book for each teacher? e.g. one for European History and one for British History. We did this for A levels - although we had progressed to ring binders by then.
    The thing I hated about shared classes was that the kids always said 'X doesn't make us do this. X does that. We hate X. X never gives us homework. X doesn't make us write in out books. (This one was true!). X is a horrible teacher. X is an idiot. X doesn't know what they are doing (also true)' I always took their comments with a pinch of salt and said nothing. Unfortunately, some of my colleagues believed the complaints about me and passed them on to SLT.
  12. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    A refusal to deal with e-mail these days is a refusal to engage with normal school procedures. The same goes for a refusal to communicate with co-teachers.
    I hope the mediation works.
    For the most part I have had successful collaborations with shared classes. I have found that they work best if each teacher has a clearly defined medium term plan (I teach this bit, you teach that bit) and can motor on in their chosen teaching style, linking up every few weeks to review progress and redivide the topics.
    If the balance of lessons is uneven, then it works if the teacher with the majority of lessons defines the lessons for the occasional teacher.
    Life was more complex when I shared with Mr Whiffler. Usually it was best to share the content, but then quietly mop up the stuff he hadn't done properly. he generated a lot of work, but I was full of goodwill at that point in my career (which was just about appreciated by management).
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  13. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    I am so utterly against this. Why have SLT breathing down everybody's neck? Why put both teachers under a radar?
    It is something you could resort to when all else fails, but to run a meeting to resolve an issue with two people is quite a basic task for a subject leader. Bringing in somebody else formalises, threatens and creates hostility. In the wrong hands, it also accrues plus point for a HoD who thinks that SLT approval is more important than teamwork and collaboration,
    It also pulls out too many stops at the beginning if things don't improve.
    Meeting, and minuting is a good thing. But involving other people is just really hostile, and sums up a snitchy snitchy culture that shouldn't ever be necessary if you have the right management skills
    BetterNow and CheeseMongler like this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If things are really bad, do you have a group at the same time? One possibility might be for you to share a group with each of them - a pain for you, and disruption for your current group, but might help overall. You'd be able to lead by example on how to share a group, and communication might be easier.
  15. vickysimpson1989

    vickysimpson1989 New commenter

    Totally agree. I share a total of 7 classes this year and the teachers i split modules with it works the best.
  16. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    "Well, this instant, I'm not interested in how X works, but when you're with me, you do this."
  17. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    Split classes do work. Split modules are best as there's less need to exchange mountains of detail; it also allows people to teach to their strengths (unless both are best at Assyria, 1024-1011 BC, of course!). It's harder if there are two part timers who are never in school at the same time, where there is an absolute need for communication; I know one pair of teachers who simply natter on the phone in the evening of one changeover day. I have done just one lesson a week for a colleague - that worked by a non-sharing system where he simply told me (his HoD) what to do in the lesson.
    Once I'd listened to these two, I'd approach it on the lines of: we have to provide the best learning experience for the pupils, so all our actions have to be in that direction.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I can't imagine teaching a split class and NOT splitting the modules/topics/papers in some way.
    What a blinkin nightmare...no wonder they have fallen out over it.
    I'm not a complete cow to work with (matter of opinion, granted) but I'd be fuming daily with anyone I had to share a class with and continue from where they left off and let them know where I'd got to every single blo ody week!

    Whoever is the HOD needs to go in with apologies for not preventing this situation, sort out the solution of split modules and draw a line under the whole thing.
  19. ILoveTeaching

    ILoveTeaching New commenter

    A few years ago I had 8 split classes and I had to share them with a variety of full and part time staff and we were not allowed to split modules, units or papers...crazy HOD said we had to meet up after each lesson and continue where the other person left off...nearly killed me trying to keep up with the nonsense of it all.

    The moment he had just one split class and tried it...he lasted 2 days and scrapped the whole thing saying it was impossible. Never said sorry for making me do it with 8 classes for 6 months!

    It was enough to make me move schools.

  20. maggie m

    maggie m Senior commenter

    I currently have a ks3 class split between 4 teachers. One is on long term sickness leave so the class have had supply teachers, none have lasted more than 3 weeks and all have been dire.Stuff of nightmares

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