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Stupidity in the face of parental pressure

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by chipsnegg, Sep 5, 2018.

  1. chipsnegg

    chipsnegg New commenter

    Private school. In the EU.
    I have taught for 20 odd years in the UK and abroad, and have been told that my lessons are too free-form for parents to understand what I'm doing.
    I have a group of kids who are near native English users, and we use a Cambridge textbook (kid's box) in ESL lessons. It's far too limited for my kids, so I basically threw it away and taught to their abilities, getting them writing, speaking about real life situations etc. Test scores are above 95 percent at all times. SLT want me, and the kids, to trawl through the book as other kids of the same age are doing. I explain my working, show assessment, attempt to explain formative assessment, and all to no avail. I'm so ****** off... I want to leave but need the job. What to do?
     
    pepper5 likes this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Mix and match? Do part of the lessons from the text and other part your own resources?
     
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You want autonomy in the classroom? I don't know where to find it. Not these days.

    I shall recommend the same compromise as @pepper5

    But it's a private school. They want apples? You give them apples. They want fresh figs with a dollop of cream? Then that's what you give them.
     
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    So use pepper's suggestion. Use the textbook as a 'starter'. They've then 'done that', just like the others, but presumably in less than half the time. Then you can move on to what you know they need to keep them moving on- your extension work.

    Make your lesson objectives very clear and explicit. Above and beyond, but clear so when they talk to their parents, parents look in books etc, you've followed hat you've been told to do.

    As to the textbook, one thing I learnt from a colleague was for students not to answer every question. Pick a few , up to half the questions and only if students struggle make them go back and complete the missing questions. they'll still have done the questions 9for parents /SMT) and will hopefully have loads of ticks to demonstrate their understanding. Your 'extension work' could even be done on loose paper and kept in 'extension folders'.
     
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You use the book as a jumping-off point.
     
  6. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    I can understand this. I teach in China - the Chinese kids are used to having textbooks in lessons at local schools, then come to our 'international' high school for GCSEs and A-levels. The kids hate the ambiguity of the GCSE English mark scheme ('What counts as 'perceptive'? How can the teacher judge whether or not my comment was 'perceptive'?), and don't trust the teachers to judge their work because there is no Chinese national curriculum so they can't grasp the concept; and the parents want them to get 100% like they did in their local schools, because they don't understand that GCSE lit and lang are not just about memorising stuff, but actually require a degree of literacy plus various reading and writing skills. Basically, we get loads of parents moaning all the time and criticising us.

    Fortunately for me and my department, my school smiles and nods to the parents, then ignores them because management know we know what we're doing (the results speak for themselves). I guess you are not as lucky in this respect. Sadly, if management don't support you, you can't really do anything. If I were you I'd see out my contract, and move on. In the meantime, as much as it is painful you have to do what you're told, otherwise you'll leave with a bad reference. In paying schools the customer is always right.
     
  7. chipsnegg

    chipsnegg New commenter

    Have just been specifically instructed that 85 percent of classwork must be from the book. I'm in shock. We bloody well had Dylan Wiliam himself over for a training session, and it looks as though the powers that be are parents. No formative assessment as nothing can be changed. Bloody norah.
     
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  8. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    How do you count the class work? Time in class or exercises done from the book? I’d change jobs if this goes on.
     
    Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    There you go. Explicit instructions.

    You must have got confused. Independently-minded professionals are not required. A click-and-point drone is what is wanted.
     
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  10. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Whilst complying as little as you can get away with (they probably won't know that only 50% of the classwork is from the book if the rest isn't visible), perhaps you could offer to put together a departmental "extension curriculum" (ie what you've been doing). If there were a document parents could be pointed at when they say "but we don't know what little Lulu is doing because it's not in the textbook", maybe they would be happier for you (and others) to go off-piste a little more.
     
  11. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Good idea there from @frustum

    Offer to upload your planning and distribute it to parents.
     
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Set textbooks tasks for homework and do your own thing in lessons...
     
  13. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    A young relative of mine says that nowadays that's the case for primary teachers; they have to follow a set phonics programme, instead of being allowed the freedom to teach anyway they want.
     
    Lara mfl 05 and Mermaid7 like this.
  14. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    @chipsnegg - so teach to the textbook, keep parents and management happy, while checking for new jobs on TES and Search so you're ready come January to jump abroad.

    I'm also in China and we have the same problems, which we also had in Egypt. My solution was to give the kids a textbook to take home, which we'd show to the parents at the parents evenings, while never actually using it in class....
     
  15. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    As an alternative, could you do I now do when teaching my subject (Psychology) which is to produce a document showing how it links with the text book (maybe tell the students at the start 'what we're doing today is on p. x of in the book') and perhaps incorporate one or 2 activities in the lesson where students are seen to use the book and then give them stuff from the textbook to do as homework and then discuss in class as a peer/self assessment activity? This way, you could still do your thing but argue that you are using the book. Apologies if you're already doing this stuff.
     
  16. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I notice that you have been told, but do you know if there are many parents who think this? Have any of them spoken to you. I would have thought that the average parent would be delighted with the results.

    That being said, I am afraid that @grumpydogwoman is right - you have to give the management what they want. If you can use the many suggestions made above to keep the school happy and teach as you want, that is great but, in the end, if you want the job, you have to do as you are told. But I feel for you!
     
    sabrinakat and Lara mfl 05 like this.

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