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To anyone who has worked in teaching long enough, when did you notice things started to go downhill?

Discussion in 'Personal' started by z_a_39, May 24, 2020.

  1. z_a_39

    z_a_39 New commenter

    I am an NQT and am just so dumbfounded how much the system has completely changed since I was in school. Some examples are:

    * Complaining against teachers used to be unheard of, now its so unbelievably common. If you even look at a student the wrong way these days, it can warrant a complaint.

    * Kids have now caught on that teachers have no power and run rings around teachers. Whereas in my day, teachers at least had an illusion of great power. The scales have just been tipped in the minors' side so much to the point where they can easily ruin someone's career if they so wish.

    * Teachers would freely put on videos and movies for us at the end of term-time, and during classes. Whereas now that's almost unheard of.

    * Teachers could get away with breezing through their syllabus all year like making you copy out of books and doing woolly activities. However its now mandatory for teachers to have tight lesson plans.

    * If a student worked hard and got bad grades it was on them. But now a student can laze around all year long, and if they get a bad grade its the teacher's fault.

    * Schools used to only cater for confident, popular kids with the way they were set up, as shy, awkward and lower-achieving students were just left to fall through the cracks. Now schools cater for everyone with their protective systems, social clubs, programs, and "open-palm" style approach to aggression, rather than the "big bad wolf" style.

    My main question is that what exactly caused the school system to shift this way? And when did you start to see it going this way? Its just so surprising that the school system has been turned on its head since I was there.
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    It must have been a while since you've been at school then as the tide turned well over 10 years ago. I think it actually started over 30 years ago with the National Curriculum , creation of Ofsted taking over from HMIs and the 'fast-tracking of staff to attain SMT positions before they had a goodly length of experience behind them. All have had impacts and the final straw was 10-15 years ago when we were told we must put nothing negative in a report and must not 'discipline' students but engage in 'conversations', which led to less respect. And of course in society generally there is far less respect for anybody in authority.
    Sally006, Wotton, Dodros and 15 others like this.
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    2010 or so. When we started being encouraged to cheat.

    I decided then to solely teach pupils at risk of exclusion, which I still do today.
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Late 1960s / early 1970s, when every politician decided they were expert on education because they had been to school for some years.
  5. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    As above.
    League tables made HTs paranoid.
    Ridiculous guess-the-grade data software that ignored every human variable apart from SATs made it the teachers' job to "get" for the kids the grade (plus another for aspirational purposes) the software dictated.
    Start of this millennium.
  6. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    The advent of Ofsted, when everything became data driven and a competition. It divided colleagues, set people against one another and removed collegiate support.

    Experience, once valued, was regarded simply as an unwarranted expense and the race to the bottom began.
  7. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    When league tables were brought in, and then when the curriculum changed so all schemes of work were pre-written so that a trained cover supervisor could teach nuclear physics and ancient Greek.
    Oh.....and performance related pay.
  8. colpee

    colpee Star commenter

    The British education system has always been pretty rubbish. Rather than uphill and downhill, it is just really a weavy, wandering road from one daft scheme to another over time.
  9. moscowbore

    moscowbore Star commenter

    League tables were the real end of teaching. It all became a spreadsheet exercise from that point.
    All those various programs which led to very young senior managers. The clueless leading the clueless.
    The advent of cheating on coursework.
  10. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    Unsurprisingly, of the commentary above, I only agree with the criticism of poor (and too inexperienced) SLTs and with the fact that some have gamed the "league-table" system.

    The main problem began when the grammar/secondary modern system, which worked well for all pupil types, was abolished in favour of ridiculous fantasy ideas about equality, which led to students being forced onto an academic curriculum that was unsuitable for them in place of a more technical, trade and craft-oriented curriculum from which they would have benefited. (cf. the excellent German system.)

    But then other thing I would say, on a positive note, is that it is not as the OP suggests everywhere. As always, there are excellent schools and appalling ones. If you're in one of the latter, maybe try to move...?
  11. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I would stick my neck out and argue that not all of the changes described by the OP are necessarily bad. I don't consider wider inclusion to be a retrograde step if managed and supported properly. Mindless copying and 'woolly' activities never floated my boat as a pupil, especially in Primary school. I still wonder how I kept any interest in History given that I copied mindlessly up to age 13, then wrote down dictated notes up to 18 and failed 'A' level. I eventually passed 'A' Level through self-study. There should be some balanced way of allowing reasonable complaints against teachers to be heard. Sometimes bad grades are caused by poor teaching - my entire class failed 'O' Level Chemistry because the teacher was an idiot, and my teacher parents agreed with me on that (if not much else in my teens). Sometimes kids leave an exam complaining they were taught the wrong text or topic. Some leaders are incompetent or bullies. It happens. I don't recall the strict, formal, stony faced, hard as nails teachers from my schooldays as being necessarily good teachers - you just didn't mess with them, that was all. The ones I remember more fondly (and learned more from) were approachable, humorous, open minded, and innovative.

    That said, where did things take a turn for the worse? When some damn fool introduced SLT to spreadsheets. It was like giving apes the atom bomb. The blatant misuse of unmodified computer-generated grade estimates as pupil targets, and the introduction of performance comparison data turned a profession into a production line. Large numbers of experienced, dedicated and perfectly competent (but expensive) older teachers were driven out of the profession by sharp-suited spreadsheet jockeys on a mission who thought the sun shone out of their MBAs.
  12. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I saw some amazing rubbish going on when I first qualified - 1972, and then again when I went back after a break in 1986. The NC was quite hard to accept but it did improve teaching as did the Lit and Num Strategies, when were they established - early 2000s and we did some really great stuff but OFSTED and league tables changed a lot and the scales tipped. The behaviour, parental attitudes, heavy duty accountability are not isolated in education, they are part of the zeitgeist and I'd say the Age of Entitlement started with Mrs - there's no such thing as society - Thatcher.
  13. rararasputin

    rararasputin Lead commenter

    Are you writing a book on this?
  14. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Love it!
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. abwdSTEM

    abwdSTEM Occasional commenter

    That must have been a long time ago and certainly before I started teaching in the mid 90s. Admittedly some of the lesson plans were "fluid" and student might need to copy some note from the board but never copy out directly from a text book.

    What you might have seen is the instruction to make notes from a section of a text. This requires the student to read, understand, question and then summarize the important points. Some of less able students might interpretate this as copy but I'm surprised (and very dissapointed ) an NQT would.
  16. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I'd interpret this post as somewhat disappointing too, I'm afraid.
  17. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    I don't often agree with msb, but this is a great post in my opinion. As well as a pleasure to read as regards the language.
    The only point I'd argue against is that about comparison data, which I don't think needs necessarily to be a negative thing.
    Last edited: May 25, 2020
  18. Jonntyboy

    Jonntyboy Lead commenter

    It's easy to blame Mrs Thatcher for many ills, and to (deliberately?) misunderstand her "society" quote.
    But it was all there well before she came to power: entitlement and individualism go back to the "it's all about me and my rights" 60s, and have eventually resulted in the political correctness and identity politics which is destroying (urban) society and affecting so negatively those foolish enough to engage with the twittersphere and the incestuous, celebrity-culture media nowadays.
  19. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    About 1976, I guess, when I started teaching.

    Pitman's ITA, vertical grouping, open plan classrooms, team teaching, integrated day, topic-based approach, GCSEs instead of 'O'-Levels and CSEs, "child-centred" education, synthetic phonics, closure of special schools, National Curriculum... the list of disasters goes on.

    All this resulted eventually in the death of teaching as a profession.
  20. RepelloInimicum

    RepelloInimicum Lead commenter

    I hate to disagree with one so wise, but I don't think GSCEs started until about 1987/88.
    Jolly_Roger15 likes this.

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