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Sorry kids, I am leaving...

Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by Carolion1971, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    Ok, so no job is perfect. I get that.

    My school has been rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted.

    However, working in the following conditions is not good for my body and certainly not good for my head: no outside breaks at all during the day, no staffroom, no breaks at all without kids around (breakfast and lunch breaks are within lessons with the children), no drinking H2O in classroom (difficult as aforementioned lack of breaks), no toilet breaks (difficult as aforementioned lack of breaks), have to stay until 17:00 hrs every day (apart from Friday – 16:20 hrs) although last lesson finishes at 16:05, no separate staff toilets, a ‘we are all equal’ policy re kids and staff (no we’re not, we are staff and adults). No ‘in office’ work – if we are marking, we have to do it in view of the kids and we WILL be interrupted. That much is clear.

    Apparently, data is the key to being rated ‘outstanding’. The amount of red and green ink in books is paramount. The fact that you may have less work per lesson in books, but excellent quality German/French/Spanish seems to be secondary.

    I have spent half my life living in France/Austria/Germany. I am fluent. I studied both languages at university. I know the grammar. I understand the cultures. I know the ways of life inside-out.

    During my NQT year (last year), I was ‘good’. Suddenly, I am a teacher who ‘requires improvement’. I don’t fully understand why but it seems that there is not enough green pen from the kids (pupils, NOT students). It seems that, although I conduct assessments, there is not enough green pen to indicate when I did what, where and how in the pupils’ books. It seems that I am teaching them ‘properly’ rather than students (pupils) leading the lessons. This does not bode well with SLT.

    I am leaving the profession.


    Because the system is ridiculous and I am not putting up with ‘it’. David Cameron visited out school in September and told us that he wants another 500 such schools. I wonder if he would send his kids to an Academy with such working conditions. I wouldn’t.

    I am leaving because I am worth more than this. I am worth more than GBP 1500/month for 70 hour weeks.

    Our Director of English has been made my Head of German, in my opinion, so that they don’t have to pay ME for running the department (as I do, as Sole Teacher of German). I feel undervalued. So I am leaving.

    To the kids I teach, who are learning excellent German, I am sorry. I wish you all the best.
    jimwoods12, sympa and BrightonEarly like this.
  2. Gummibaren

    Gummibaren New commenter

    I'm really sorry that you will be leaving, like so many other good teachers who are fed up with the system. I am sure your classes will miss you loads. I wish you all the best for the future and that you find a job that gives you the happiness you deserve xxxxx
  3. mlapworth

    mlapworth Occasional commenter

  4. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    In spite of everything else, I think that having shared toilets is a faux lawsuit waiting to happen. It only takes one amoral child to suggest something untoward has happened and you're up a certain creek without a certain implement, as Black Adder (I think) put it, whether you did it or not!
    LadyPsyche and dljames2013 like this.
  5. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    Amazing- I actually think Vladimir has a point (though not about MFL)
  6. Vladimir

    Vladimir Senior commenter

    That is because, on this occasion, I made no point about MFL!
    I know what you mean, though. MFL conjours up animal waste produce in my mind too.
    Joking aside, here IS an MFL activity that does, indeed, use the bogs!
  7. JL48

    JL48 Star commenter

    Does the GS in LRGS stand for Grammar School? If so, then this video is a fine piece of evidence against them.

    @Carolion1971 - Not to worry. In a few years, MFL classes will just consist of kids playing on Duolingo, being watched by an unqualified 'teacher' - sorry 'coach' - on minimum wage with no langage skills at all. You're best off out now.
    Carolion1971 and pascuam49 like this.
  8. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    yes, you're right. How sad... I really do feel down. Asked to interview people to succeed me either via Skype or face-to-face. I honestly can't recommend them as I feel their German isn't up to scratch. But maybe just good enough is good enough? For me, it's not. But if you can't get better... I don't know. What do you think?
  9. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    I felt real rage against our overlords when I read your post, Carolion, and I hope that you find a really good place to work in where your skills and enthusiasm will be appreciated instead of stifled. How about a sound Independent school? Modern Languages often thrive there in comparison to what goes on in level-obsessed State schools.

    I hope you find a good successor, but I'd like to point one thing out after reading your view that " I honestly can't recommend them as I feel their German isn't up to scratch. But maybe just good enough is good enough? For me, it's not." There is NO correlation between one's ability in a subject (not just MFL) and one's ability to teach it. The most able, fluent speaker of a foreign language might not be as effective in a classroom as another teacher (who might only have, say, an A-level) with that hard-to-define ability to really engage students and coax the best out of them. Choosing an applicant on the basis of their subject ability could lead you to miss the best available TEACHER of that subject.
    Ideally, I accept, it would be nice if your successor is seen to have both sound subject knowledge and sound teaching skills.

    Good luck to you in the future.. and I hope you let us know how you get on!
    teacup71 and pascuam49 like this.
  10. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    Yes, Incommunicade, you are right. Unfortunately, re independent schools, most around here have opted for Spanish rather than German so I might have to re-enter the commercial world to use my German/French... I shall let you know! x
  11. karaka

    karaka New commenter

    So,sorry to hear that you are leaving so soon after qualifying. I would recommend you look for another school - it really isn't that like that everywhere. Most schools do have separate toilets and a staff room - we even take it in turns to bring in cake on Fridays. We can leave when the bell goes and work at home after school.
    Re the Skype interview - that really is a worry if that is the only interview. No way I would accept a job at a school I hadn't been to. I wouldn't want to employ someone who hadn't visited either. You need to see how potential staff interact with the pupils and other dept members, it is not just about how well they speak German.
    All the best - don't give up,without trying somewhere new though.
    BrightonEarly and teacup71 like this.
  12. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    thank you, you are very sweet, karaka... don't suppose you know any nice schools needing a German teacher?!
  13. karaka

    karaka New commenter

    Thanks, don't always look for an outstanding school. It's how the staff work together that makes schools pleasant to work in and that isn't really measurable in Ofsted terms I don't think. Keep on persevering!
  14. ABlanch101

    ABlanch101 New commenter

    FWIW I went from an "outstanding" school to one which "needs improvement" - I'm much happier as a result. I feel valued and at the end of the day sometimes feel as if I might have made a difference. That might be something to consider before a complete change in career.
    netochka, teacup71 and pascuam49 like this.
  15. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    Yes indeed.. good point. We shall see what we shall see!
  16. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    Did you say something, Carolion?
  17. Carolion1971

    Carolion1971 New commenter

    what do you mean, incommunicado?
  18. Incommunicado

    Incommunicado Established commenter

    Sorry if I confused you, Carolion... I looked at this thread the other day, and at the end of it I saw your 'mark', but an empty space next to it, as if your post was not displayed. Did you see a 'conversation' item from me?
  19. gsglover

    gsglover Occasional commenter

    All very sad but symptomatic of current environments.
  20. Allison64

    Allison64 New commenter

    This could be my story! Our MFL department is now also run by English. We also do not have a staffroom etc etc. I've been teaching for 25 years and had always been 'good' or even 'good with outstanding features' (including consistently above average for the school GCSE results), until last year, I suddenly became 'inadequate' and 'requiring improvement' (similar issues with pen colour blah blah blah!). I was put onto an interestingly named 'support programme' so that somebody much younger than me and not an MFL specialist, could 'help' me improve. The whole time I knew it was to do with the fact, at 51, I am the oldest full time teacher in our school and definitely the most expensive (inner London UPS3). I fought it and churned out what they wanted to see and so they were forced to leave me alone, presumably to pick on somebody else!

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