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Surely a new low?

Discussion in 'English' started by PIGGYSSPECS, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. I am so so glad that I am not alone in this thinking!!!
    I feel my sould being ripped from me every day and with every ' extra % we 'improve' by!
     
  2. Unfortunate. The ridiculous way in which high school's deal with under-performing, disruptive students is the reason why I left two weeks into my PGCE opted to pursue a PhD and enter academia. Best decision I ever made!
    Let's not be hyperbolic, though. They're probably not earning more than you and showing this resentment towards your students is not healthy or effective. Calmly approach the person behind this awful idea and explain how you feel in a firm manner.
    There is something positive to be gained from this. Although you have to help the disruptive students, there is (despite what you say otherwise) time to help the hard-worker's and help them achieve. If you choose not to, claiming fatigue or lack of time, they will feel as if no one cares about their grades and their future. Applications to successful, prestigious universities such as the Russell Group are on the rise and to be perfectly honest, a C in English is worth very little. Focus on those who want to do well.
     
  3. Very wise decision, but one that doesn't provide you with an understanding of the way that schools operate in the current climate.
    And schools would be better places if they adopted a model of reasoned consensus (but they don't).
    This would be easier if the OP were not being directed to use on booster lessons to drive up the bottom end (who seem to e at the bottom because they have chosen to be there).
    I was under the impression that this is exactly what the OP would like to do.
    The school is not measured or ranked on how many students are admitted to prestigious universities.

    It is a dark and dirty cut-throat system at times.
     
  4. I do understand how schools operate in the current climate. My husband teaches A-level Maths at a successful sixth form college which, like many other schools, are under an awful amount of pressure by the head and so on.
    What I was referring to initially was using class time to focus on the the students who want to work hard and/or arranging time outside of lessons (for example breaktimes and lunchtimes to do so). There is time available, it just needs to be utilised carefully.
    I am aware of this. I understand that schools are measured on the percentage of the cohort achieving 5+ A*-C including Maths and English. The original poster was actually lamenting about how this is the case and how students aiming for A's and A*s are ignored for the sake of students who care little. I was merely arguing that with a positive and determined attitude it is possible to do both; provide help to the people aiming for C's as well as push those aiming for A's and A*s. It has happened before and is not impossible. I was having a conversation with another teacher on another thread and we both came to the conclusion that teaching would be much better in this country and students would be better equipped with skills to help them at work or at university if there was less whinging about how 'impossible' the system allegedly is and more focus on what can be improved. There are schools in inner city, deprived areas all that do well and that's because the teaching there is top notch.
    Before you point out that I wouldn't know anything about this (being a senior lecturer, and not a teacher) I should let you know that my department has a large number of undergraduates and postgraduates and that we are under an enormous amount of pressure on daily basis (due to cuts to our funding and research) whilst having to accomodate changes to our own marking and grading system. The university that I work at is very successful and yet, as a result, we are put under a lot of scrunity to deliver to the highest standard in terms of teaching, research and supervising. We also have to monitor closely students who are under-performing and hours on end supporting them, whilst at the same time conducting our own research.
    I was referring to Russell Group Universities specifically, as a lot of students that are aiming for the A/A* aspire to places such as Oxbridge and the Russell Group.
     
  5. keyboard2

    keyboard2 Established commenter

    How I do wish I had the guts to whistleblow... I wonder what taxpayers will think of this latest wheeze as taxes already fund most youngsters' education. Utterly disgraceful!
     
  6. There is a world of difference between a 'successful sixth-form college' and an inner-city secondary school on the verge of special measures in one of the most socially and economically deprived areas in Europe, where 60% of the students have EAL - which is the type of school I refer to in my original post. Added to which, most of your students have chosen to be sat in front of you when you teach and will behave accordingly.

    I find this incredibly patronising. You appear to be suggesting that I lack basic time management skills. My break and lunch times are mostly taken up by seeing students or other meetings. Now and again, I find five minutes to eat a sandwich.

    Yes, it may well be possible to do both. Doing it with professional integrity is another matter, which was the original point I was making.

    Wow, have the two of you suggested your masterplan for the future of education to Mr Gove? If only the rest of us had realised earlier that it was our relentless whinging which was the issue. How patronising, again, to the thousands of teachers working tirelessly in schools to improve the life chances of the young people in our care, who devote every working minute to doing what they can to improve teaching and learning. The fact that you reduce genuine concerns about student attainment, professional standards and the welfare of teachers to 'whinging' shows that you really have no idea about the incredibly stressful, demoralising often bullying culture that many of us work in. The fact that English teachers continue to work in these conditions, fight for professional standards and give their all for their students is something which deserves respect, not scorn.

    It's also because they have top notch leadership teams who understand that their staff are the key to their success and value and develop them.

    I don't mean to denigrate the work of University lecturers. I have benefited from their work myself. But the original point I was making hardly applies to your situation.
     
  7. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I don't wish to be rude but please tell me you are joking - you spent 5 minutes on a PGCE, left because you hated the system it enshrined, and are now telling us how to improve said system? Wow. You know, I am sure it never occurred to any of us to focus on what can be improved, or, you know, try to improve it. SLTs, Ofsted, Gove-toad and the like have been so receptive to teacher feedback in the past, why didn't it occur to us to do this until now?
    Muggle is right - there is a world of difference between a sixth form college and a compulsory education sector school: the most obvious one being that in the former, students actively choose to be there and select the subjects they pursue; even re-sitters (which would come under the remit of Maths - your husband's subject - one would assume).
    To put this into context, I also worked at a University for several years (in student recruitment and support, but also HR and subject admin) and I can tell you that yes, it is very pressured, but absolutely nothing like secondary education. Not even close.
    I guess I can be dismissed as another whinging teacher: for my part, every school I have worked it has had amazing teachers who do their utmost to inspire and motivate their students, many amidst very difficult circumstances. For my small-contribution, I try to offer after-school creative outlets, interesting and relevant resources to make the exam-treadmill less dry and tedious, try to help pupils achieve that magic C grade because without it they're stuffed.
    My colleagues and I propose projects, redesign the curriculum (mostly at the behest of the latest wheeze from above but we try to make it work for our classes), select new and exciting texts EVERYDAY. This is what we do to try and improve our lot and those in our care. Is this what you meant? If I decide to give little Johnny a more left-field and rich educational experience (and choose not to focus on exam technique but, yes yes, I know it is possible to combine both and I do try!) and he gets a D, not only can he proceed NO FURTHER, but now my pay will be docked too.
    Despite our unions trying to fight such things for the last few years, our argument has fallen mostly on deaf ears - any suggestions on how I can improve this, on top of all the petitions, strikes, media campaigns etc.? I would truly love to know. Also, since you seem to have the answers, there was a massive balls-up with the English GCSE last year and we were the only subject not given grades in the January exam series this year; teachers were derided in the press and by Ofqal/EBs and the whole mess laid at our door. We protested. We have tried to prevent this happening again. A group of HTs, pupils and unions took this to court and lost. Any suggestions on how I can improve this, on top of all the petitions, strikes, media campaigns etc.? I would truly love to know.
    Finally, you happily suggest Muggle finds time, perhaps at break or lunch, to offer more support; so please tell, when would time be found for a break or lunch for Muggle? Or for the student who already has a full day of lessons?
    Signed, A Whinging Teacher.
     
  8. That is sort of six degrees of separation - your impressions are based on your husband's experience, which is based on sixth form college.

    The OP is based on the fact that a school is now paying bribes to the students who will not achieve a C to attend booster classes. Many of us are outraged by this BECAUSE we feel that in the lead up to the exams it would be nice to finally be able to focus on the students who want to achieve good results, whether that result be a C or an A*. the reality is that the underachieving students who have to be paid to attend will continue to disrupt lessons and deflect attention from more deserving students.
    That was clear. You have missed the point that teachers are willing to work with students who are hardworking and aspirational, but less happy about being directed to focus exclusively on the C/D border because that affects the school's standing in league tables.
     
  9. sunflower48

    sunflower48 New commenter

    well said, englishtt06!!!!
     
  10. I must admit your arguments strike me as rather incoherent and somewhat obtuse. For example, on one hand you state that ‘It's also because they have top notch leadership teams who understand that their staff are the key to their success and value and develop them’ but then you automatically change the subject to ‘I don't mean to denigrate the work of University lecturers.’. If you think that you work in a school in which you are developed inadequately or not cherished as much as you would like to be, then that is your problem. In case you are not aware, you are the qualified teacher who is able to teach in schools across the country, unlike some of these bright students who do not have a choice about where they are sent to school because apparently it was "elitist" to take kids and give them the same education for nothing that they would pay thousands for at Eton or Benenden to make the most of their potential. During the 70s and 80s, thousands of poor kids who had been born brilliant had to be forced instead into comprehensive education which failed them massively and is still doing so. Instead of complaining about your situation, why not see it from their perspective.

    ‘I find this incredibly patronising. You appear to be suggesting that I lack basic time management skills.’

    More hyperboles, I see. In my initial post, I believe I said that ‘there is time available...it just needs to be utilised carefully’, which is not directly or indirectly a criticism of your time-management capabilities, because, and if you think very carefully and logically I’m sure you’re likely to agree, I would have to know you personally before making a critique regarding your time management skills. Although, come to think of it, I do think that you could improve your time-managing skills by spending less time on the forums venting your anger and more time ‘in real life’ addressing the issues. If you find it offensive, then that perhaps has something to do with your own insecurities about your time-management skills. As you can tell from my username, I am a literary enthusiast and often I get into the habit of overanalysing what other people say or write (an incurable hangover of a four year intellectually stimulating PhD). From the rash and illogical way in which you write, I think that you are perhaps the same and, whilst that trait may be forgiven in an academic environment, it does not bode well in state comprehensives.

    I’m aware that there is a world of difference between a successful sixth form and a tough inner city school. Prior to working at the aforementioned successful school, he worked in a number of state comprehensives in the some of the most deprived areas of Northern England. Whilst his school is successful, they are also feeling the effects of Mr Gove and his policies, so please do not make the mistake in foolishly assuming that teachers in inner-city comprehensives are the only ones struggling with the regimentation’s inflicted upon the education system and terrible decisions being made in Westminster.
    ‘I have benefited from their work myself. But the original point I was making hardly applies to your situation.’

    Hardly applies to my situation? Whilst I’m aware of the fact that I am privileged to work with students who willingly want to learn about English Literature and creative writing, that does not make it any less stressful than working in an ‘inner-city secondary school on the verge of special measures in one of the most socially and economically deprived areas in Europe’. Clearly you have no idea about the amount of time, energy and dedication a PhD requires or the amount of work senior lecturers like myself undertake on a daily basis both inside and outside of the university. I very well know what it is like to work in an ‘incredibly stressful, demoralising often bullying culture’ but rather than behaving petulantly and irrationally, I remain strong and focused for the sake of my students and for the sake what I believe in.

    ‘If only the rest of us had realised earlier that it was our relentless whinging which was the issue’
    I think you would benefit from applying some logic in this given situation. Whilst I never said (and nor will I ever say) that it is your ‘whinging’ which was the issue, I do however think that if people spent less time whinging and more time addressing social disadvantage and actively working on these issues, problems would get solved quickly.

    ‘Wow, have the two of you suggested your masterplan for the future of education to Mr Gove?’

    This statement is also incredibly illogical. I believe this was in response to ‘we came to the conclusion that teaching would be much better in this country and students would be better equipped with skills to help them at work or at university if there was less whinging about how 'impossible' the system allegedly is and more focus on what can be improved.’ If you honest think that my suggestion indicated that I feel as if I know how to miraculously save the appalling state education in this country, then I’m not going to stoop to your level and argue the case further. You’re lack of basic logic shows that you and your ilk are no different to the likes of Gove and his cronies. I don't think I'll return to this website. Self-pitying teachers like yourself makes me incredibly grateful for the fact that I work in an industry with people mature and intelligent enough to grasp simple arguments and have a clear grip on basic logic.The sad thing is that studying English Literature (at a decent institution, anyway) is a discipline which is supposed to enable people to process and develop an argument effectively.
     
  11. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    johnkeatsadmirer: I would like to see you address the points in my own contribution (which you have ignored) however…
    Call me old fashioned, but resorting to attacking the supposed errors in the structure of the opponent’s argument and making it personal are signs that it is indeed you who are losing.
    Maybe you have forgotten the wealth of experience the two weeks of PGCE gave you (qualifying you, as it does, to diagnose all the ills of the profession) but this is GCSE and A Level deadline time; a period when most teachers are pushed to the limit. English teacers have stacks of assessments to annotate and moderate. I know you are drawing on your husband's experience as a maths teacher, but his marking load is in no way equal to ours (how do I know this? My mother's dentist's fiance is a maths teacher so clearly I am well-qualified in this regard). Given the circumstances, I think Muggle&rsquo;s contributions are lucid, <u>informed</u> and <u>polite</u>.
    What is becoming increasingly evident from your argument is that not only do you work in an ivory tower, you also live in one too.
     
  12. If you have stacks of work to do, why don't you actually do it rather than venting about how terrible your job is. The whinging and self pitying from English teachers in this country makes me very happy about the Gove's proposal about changes to the ways in which teachers are paid and making sure they are paid on the quality of their teaching. I don't really care how nice muggle1978 appears to be. Her illogical statements speaks volumes about her poor education, and I do not want the students of today to have to put up with the same. Anyway, I'm going to Durham University to do some real literary work. You and muggle1978 can return to your marking and wallowing.
     
  13. You are comparing apples to oranges.
     
  14. Also, he teaches further maths a level. More academically rigorous than GCSE/A-level English
     
  15. Apples and oranges.
     
  16. yes, FM is difficult, English (at GCSE and A-level) is fairly straightforward.
     
  17. You have accused other of being illogical, but I fail to see how this is a logical development of your argument. Further Maths is more difficult than GCSE English? Of course it is. This has nothing to do with the fact that a school has made the decision to pay underachieving and disruptive students to attend booster classes to improve their ranking in league tables.
     
  18. why don't you run off and actually do the job instead of wasting our taxpayers money. Clearly you cannot follow a reasonable argument.
     
  19. There are any number of responses to that.

    1) I don't work in the UK, so your taxes are not paying my wages.
    2) I'm also in a different timezone. This evening I am enjoying a short break from working on my PhD, as it happens.
    3) You are still comparing apples and oranges.
    4) You obviously have a passionate interest in the quality of GCSE revision. I base this conclusion on the fact that you have only 7 posts on TES and all of them are on this thread.
    5) When you present a reasonable argument I'll be happy to 'follow' it.
     
  20. englishtt06

    englishtt06 Occasional commenter

    I would like to modify my own conclusion to a padded ivory tower.
    Durham University? Since we're down to t**-for-tat, can I just point out it should be, 'University of Durham'? [​IMG]
     

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