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Too harsh?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by DalekTeacher, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I was just wondering if I could ask for some thoughts on this. I have a Year 11 class and I marked some written responses of theirs as a practice for GCSE English examination. They were awful and not well written at all. They were rushed and some did not even use quotations. They know how to do this, but I had a very big go at them on one of my lessons, and warned that if they do not write more detailed responses then they will not pass. I also said that I am not having/tolerating poor quality work.
    After this though I have wondered whether I went a bit over the top with them? I wasn't shouting as such but they are a very bright group and its horrible to see them do badly when I know they can do better.
    Do you think I should apologise to them next week about what I said? I feel as though I was horrible to them about it but I can't let them underachieve which is why I went so hard in at them. At the same time, I don't want to come across as a complete monster to them.
    Thank you,
    Dalekteacher.
     
  2. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I was just wondering if I could ask for some thoughts on this. I have a Year 11 class and I marked some written responses of theirs as a practice for GCSE English examination. They were awful and not well written at all. They were rushed and some did not even use quotations. They know how to do this, but I had a very big go at them on one of my lessons, and warned that if they do not write more detailed responses then they will not pass. I also said that I am not having/tolerating poor quality work.
    After this though I have wondered whether I went a bit over the top with them? I wasn't shouting as such but they are a very bright group and its horrible to see them do badly when I know they can do better.
    Do you think I should apologise to them next week about what I said? I feel as though I was horrible to them about it but I can't let them underachieve which is why I went so hard in at them. At the same time, I don't want to come across as a complete monster to them.
    Thank you,
    Dalekteacher.
     
  3. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Why should YOU apologise? They are the ones who should be apologising for wasting your time and effort.

     
  4. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    I just thought that I might have been a little too hard on them. They have had exams in other subjects as well but it was very frustrating when they have wrote excellent essays before for coursework and gone and produced work that is lower than a 'C.' The only reason for that was because they were not using enough quotations and analysis and it was very clearly done in a rushed way.
    So you think I don't need to apologise?
     
  5. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    Personally, NO!
    They knew what was expected, were capable of doing it (presumably from what you have said) and they didn't put in the care and effort that was needed. As long as you weren't yelling, screaming and throwing things around the classroom, then a little ire is justified! I usually start off cross and gradually sink into "more in disappointment than anger" [​IMG]
     
  6. You don't need to apologise, they have wasted your time handing in work well below the standard expected of them. Maybe it was unfair to schedule this work for when they had external module exams for other subject but only you can judge that.
    p.s - I suspect 'they have written excellent essays before'.....
     
  7. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    You are their teacher not their friend. I wouldn't worry too much about hurt feelings. Imagine how hurt those feelings will be if they fail their exams because you were too easy on them.
     
  8. Did people do it 30, 40 or 50 years ago? yes
    Why don't they do it now?
    Political Correctness BS such as 'SEAL', emotional this that and the other and fear of the backlash from the SEN/SLT for such actions.
    If you have been rude, made personal insults and strayed away from the messages that THEIR EFFORT was not acceptable, then you may want to reflect on how you convey a message but telling pupils they are lazy should not be frowned upon if you have evidence of it. WHilst I believe in this I also believe more in pulling kids back up with a 'we can do it attitude'
    We champion very average to poor attainment, effort and behaviour now which has contributed to the state our education system is in.
    If they are poor, tell them and then tell them how you can work together to get there. I hate the idea that every comment has to be positive in our culture. It merely leads to opaque relationships and a lack of reality.
     
  9. DalekTeacher

    DalekTeacher New commenter

    Hi,
    I didn't make any personal insults, I just made it clear to them that they wrote very good essays at the start of the year and achieved positive results but now they have produced work that is below the quality expected of them.
    I mentioned to them that it is my job as their teacher to get the best out of the them and unless they act on the issues I have discussed with them then they will not do well. I also said to them that I did not wish to be seen as being horrible deliberately, but unless I told them, they would do badly. I also said that I will help them every step of the way but an important factor that contributes to success is effort all of the way round. I will help them every step of the way, but in turn, they need to apply themselves to the full which they did not do in those tasks.
     
  10. Don't feel you have to justify yourself to them then.
    If it was rubbish, inform them without being rude, then offer the way forward (ie at lunch, after school etc)
    Too many teaching strategies focus on 'let's talk about the good points first' and many students leave the conversation thinking that what they have done is acceptable. Often its far from it but being PC says we have to find good points and 'areas of development'
    "It was poor, it wasnt up to your usual standards and doesnt represent your true ability. Now what shall we do about that....I can do 'x,y and z' and you can do a,b and c. Togther we can do p,q and r. Over to you"
    Rather than scrapping through trash at the weekend only to have to put positive comments on work first.
    "Your pen ink is a nice colour" ummmmmm, "I like the angle of the staple on your homework sheets"...when in reality its trash.

     
  11. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Senior commenter

    The best teacher I ever had was my RE teacher in 3rd year onwards (year 9). He was new to the school and asked us (top set) to write an essay. We all got terrible marks and were deeply offended. But he explained to us clearly what we ought to be doing, what standards were expected and so on. We slowly, slowly improved our marks as we learnt to to write a proper essay (something other teachers should have taught us a long time before...). Getting 15 out of 20 from him was worth so much more than the foolishly imnflated marks we got from other teachers.
    This man was not a particularly likeable teacher but we had the utmost respect for him, once we'd got over the initial shock. He expected a lot from us and never gave praise where it wasn't deserved. He had a huge O level RE class as a result of his demanding approach. You are doing absolutely the right things for your pupils. Far from being harsh you are giving them what they need.
     

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