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Student saying work is too easy, help!

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by ams00, May 3, 2019.

  1. ams00

    ams00 New commenter

    I have a year 7 student in my class. We did a piece of writing, which I corrected for them. He wrote me a note on this piece of work saying what he hates English since he had a new teacher (me) and that the work is too easy so he gets bored. This student isn’t disruptive and is well behaved.

    This piece of work had a lot of mistakes in it, quite basic errors too.

    I set cover work on Monday. The cover teacher says the student ‘should move up’ just because he did well in a class test. I think this student has took this literally.

    I always differentiate as much as possible, I always have more challenging tasks for the higher abilities. No student has ever complained about this before and they are all making progress.

    I know it sounds silly but it has upset me. :s
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Just a suggestion, but perhaps you could speak to him about this. Teaching, as you know, is not so straight forward and conflicts are always just over the horizon. Have you been teaching long? I suppose many teachers have had that accusation hurled at them - I know I have. "This work is boring!" I can remember that first time that accusation came winging its way towards me in an FE college. I took it very seriously, but didn't know any better that it is an excuse or a cover up for their lack of confidence.

    Perhaps speak to the student and ask him what he finds too easy; ask him what you can do to assist him to enjoy the class. However, gently remind him that to do well in English, he has to master the basics and learn how to edit a piece for mistakes.

    You are never going to please everyone and that is a fact of life. If he is bored in your lessons then he needs to learn how to get on with it since your class won't be the last class/meeting/job that he perceives as boring. Set him some homework to do.

    He should be grateful he has an English teacher at all, so don't worry about it. Perhaps next year if he has a new teacher, they will be exactly like CS Lewis.
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    See me.
  4. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    well, I am the last person to be in any situation to critisise anyone over their spelling, but such a basic grammar failure in an English teacher is very odd. completely unaccountable really. Quite possibly not the person to be teaching English? That might be the problem
    peter12171 and lindenlea like this.
  5. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    He has taken this literally
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    he took this literally are both correct.

    Her sentence is a hybrid between the two and an understandable mistake are a tiring week at work! We all tend to make such errors.

    As to actually being helpful which is the aim of this forum, have a one-on-one chat with the kid. Make it clear that he needs to produce outstanding work consistently to move up a set and make a special point of giving him harder work every now and then. It's a truism in life that you "should never step into a great man's/woman's shoes" and in this child's mind it seems like this may be what's happening - he had a strong relationship with his previous teacher and that's what he misses - it's not you. Throw him a few extra smiles every lesson and make a point of talking to him about improvements and over time you'll wear him down with niceness. I've been in this situation myself and it's annoying when another teacher sees then once and suddenly knows more than you!
    GirlGremlin and pepper5 like this.
  7. ams00

    ams00 New commenter

    Thank you everyone! Sorry about that mistake, I was tired when I wrote this.
  8. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    From your other posts, you are a trainee on a PGCE placement. Speak to the usual teacher of the class, who should be monitoring your lessons and planning anyway.

    It certainly isn't your role to move pupils up and down sets, nor to accept criticism of the placement of the pupils. I suggest you speak to your mentor about the fact another member of staff has undermined you with the pupil and upset you in this way.

    Also have a chat with the HOD about the behaviour of the pupil. If he is so rude as to write such a thing on his work, then he needs to be taken to task very quickly and firmly. The last thing that should happen is he is moved up. It will signal to all others that rudeness to you gets them moved. The HOD needs to support you and nip this in the bud very firmly.
  9. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    well, that was my query, actually, because to me it seems not. I know we are relaxing at home, not keeping to the standards we need to keep at work. I can't spell, and I don't worry about it here,but am very careful at work.

    But to me, this seemed such an unnatural thing to say, and such a major error, I am not being unhelpful, I am just flagging it up as something inexplicable ( to me) in this post, and asking if this sort of error might be part of the problem
    lindenlea likes this.
  10. averagedan

    averagedan Occasional commenter

    Thing is - you've come to criticise but not to help. You're a spiteful little troll to be honest. It's not even close to a major error.

    I might believe the excuse you'd made up if you'd actually offered help.
    GirlGremlin and blueskydreaming like this.
  11. ams00

    ams00 New commenter

    This pupil is well behaved in my lessons. Am I right in thinking that this isn’t acceptable to write in a piece of work?
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    For someone who has started both their posts on this thread without a capital letter and has used commas in place of full stops in the part I've quoted, @dunnocks you are remarkably critical of what is a very minor mistake.
    GirlGremlin and blueskydreaming like this.
  13. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    The child was rude to write that on his work, and that needs dealing with. It sounds like he's not dealing well with a change of teacher - maybe he is unsettled following the move from primary, or used to being told how clever he is, or perhaps this is just a sign of his immaturity.

    Having said that, don't make the mistake of confusing errors in work and the need for intellectual challenge. He may make lots of 'basic errors', by which I presume you mean grammar and punctuation errors, but that does not mean he does not need his brain and imagination stretched. What sort of challenging tasks for higher abilities have you been setting? Are you reading a text that he's not enjoying? Can you find out more about the sort of tasks he likes to do or is used to doing, by asking the host teacher? Could you change the seating plan to make sure he's sitting with someone bright, so he doesn't find peer assessment a slog?
  14. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I was terribly bored in several subjects in the years now known as years 7 and 8. The school had just introduced mixed ability teaching, and at times differentiation was limited. The wisest teachers found appropriate texts and left me to get on with it once I'd finished the set whole class tasks.

    As a teacher I have also come across a fair number of would be geniuses who wanted to do harder work but were struggling with the basic concepts. This can be difficult to deal with. Ensure they have tasks that stretch and challenge, but also make sure that they know that they need to improve whatever lower level skills are hindering progress.
  15. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    One option is to speak to the child and explain that unless work is completed to the level of their ability you have no grounds to consider more challenging work as they aren't mastering the current work.

    It's a bit like students saying maths is easy but then miss labels off graphs, saying science is easy but forget units. Ultimately, their laziness and complacency will be an issue by GCSE if they expect to be told how clever and good they are for handing in substandard work.

    Have some extension materials ready for once they've completed work to an appropriate standard and let the relevant people discuss classes
    pepper5, phlogiston and strawbs like this.
  16. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    You're a trainee.

    Talk to your mentor or the class teacher.

    It's possible the work is too easy. It's possible he doesn't like you. But you need to get this resolved.

    I would be wary of the "quiet and well behaved." They may be no trouble in lessons, but are likely to be the ones who go ballistic at home to parents over slights.

    TBH, I'm concerned about you. You seem to have had a lot of problems on your PGCE, from the way people behave to you in school to this. I really think you need to speak to your mentor.
    MissGeorgi likes this.
  17. binaryhex

    binaryhex Lead commenter

    The standurd of new and trainee teechers is fallen so mich, innit. Gud god. Now even english teachers canna write proper english grammer, tyred or knot. With so few old skhool teechers in class-rooms now, what hoop do pupils have. Teechers who canknot write proper should knot bee in a school. No wander so many children misbehave and are on they're mobile phones in class now. I bet there teachers our aswell, looking up how to reed and right as they go along.
  18. meggyd

    meggyd Lead commenter

    Enough of this! To get back to the problem, quite often a complaint like this has a great deal to do with the parents. Perhaps they are pushy or have unrealistic expectations or the child is afraid that they will be disappointed and makes stuff up. Ask in the staffroom if they have made comments to other staff. Also now that I realise that I have replied to your other posts, I agree that you need to speak with your mentor. Teaching is very tough and you need to develop a really thick skin to survive. There will always be kids who moan and you have to shrug it off a lot of the time. Think about how else you could react. It might help. Good luck.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
    CWadd likes this.
  19. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I've had this problem in my subject (often due to redirected anxiety). My suggestion is that you take the student at his word: Meet with him to discuss his comments, thank him for them etc and then give him some harder work to do such as some suitable exam questions every week. If he really does need stretch and challenge, this should help his grade. If not, it will stop him from moaning further and you can say to mangers and parents that this is what you've done to respond to his feedback if they say anything about it.

    Hope this helps!
    NIHistoryTeacher and GirlGremlin like this.
  20. MissGeorgi

    MissGeorgi Occasional commenter

    Some pupils are very arrogant and really dislike new teachers.

    The cover teacher was out of order to say this.

    High aiming pupils often think they don’t need to bother with basics. Or, he may be slightly dyslexic. Call home and build bridges :)
    ATfan likes this.

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