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What to do...?

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by br0wnsugar, Oct 17, 2015.

  1. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Hi Everyone,

    I've reached a stage in my teaching career where the passion and interest has gone; I have to admit, it may be because of the school, I currently work in.

    I am working in a school where I trained on the job and have been there for the past 5 years teaching KS3 and KS4. We have had a new head in the last 18 months, so the atmosphere at the school has changed, somewhat. This September, I was hoping to have been given the opportunity to teach A Level English, year 12s, only to find that a member of staff, who is less experienced than me, given the opportunity even though, my HOD, states, '..the said person.is likely to go on maternity leave in a year, but ....'. Instead, I was told that as my timetable was 'under', they needed to fill it with me teaching Media, which I am not interested in. The frustrating thing is that my CPD and appraisals all outline my interest in A Level teaching of English and this has been completely ignored. I just feel that my time is up and rather than wait to be pushed out even further, I'd rather take control and leave on my own accord. I had successful year 11 classes achieve their grades, met and surpassed performance management targets and operate tremendous behaviour management strategies in order to gain the most from my pupils, at both KS3/4 but the school I work in, only seem to recognise this when they require a teacher to 'plug gaps' for the more challenging classes other trainee staff cannot handle. We have a high proportion of trainees in a core subject because recruiting more experienced staff is difficult.

    This email is really about the options out there for someone of my age, looking for a change. (I'm mid 40s). While I don't think age is going to hold me back, I also know that the teaching profession is on a campaign to push out older staff in favour of younger 20 something's who are easier to manipulate in contrast.

    I am not adverse to part time working and continue to brush up on A level texts. I have had two on-line training sessions, so far relating to the A level syllabus, both specs; read the texts commonly studied and I have also had links with a local school looking at the IB and OCR routes. Also, I would look for a sideways move to be able to have the opportunity to gain more experience and work alongside colleagues getting to grips with A Level English teaching. I was told that teaching A level is for the 'privileged few'. If anyone can give some advice here, I would be grateful.

    I do think supply teaching could suffice until a role at another school becomes attractive enough to apply for. What are the benefits/pitfalls to look out for/is supply teaching being, 'self-employed'? What about pension contributions etc, how does that get affected? I would like some advice about signing up to agencies and what to be aware of/look out for.

    Anyone with advice or guidance, I would be very grateful.
  2. Twinklefoottoe

    Twinklefoottoe Senior commenter

    "I am working in a school where I trained on the job and have been there for the past 5 years teaching KS3 and KS4."

    "This email is really about the options out there for someone of my age, looking for a change."

    You already know the answer. It's time to start looking for another job, with the experience and opportunities you are looking for. You are right to identify that the process of appraisals is a token exercise for middle managers and SLT to tick boxes. They clearly are not interested enough to listen to what you are saying. You are being given the classic 'Jam Tomorrow' lines, to keep you hoping and in-post.

    Start looking. You could sound out quietly what supply is like, but you may not find that very rewarding if you are hankering after A Level. Try moving schools first. They are all different. You are in a shortage subject so be clear what you want, and don't accept a job without some assurances. Most people would say that you should move to your second school after a few years if you are keen to develop. Continue to do your current job to the best of your ability, but decide to leave. it will make you feel better, proactive and will improve your state of mind.
  3. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Thank you Twinklefoottoe. I do believe that I have already decided just trying to think through different scenarios. Yeah, I have to be aware that future performance management targets will most likely include the subject 'given' to me to teach this year. I'm being marginalised and its not good enough.
    Once again, I do appreciate your advice.
  4. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    An interesting post. If all is as you say, and it is an if, then I have sympathy. I wonder whether they see your skills at behaviour management and think you are more valuable in KS4? If so then as the above states, you know the answer. Look elsewhere.

    I am uncomfortable with your suggestion that this teacher is less experienced than you though. The HoD must have reasons for assigning groups the way they have. It doesn't always matter about experience. They may have taught it before, have a better grasp of the A Level content, or, and i am not basing this on anything, be seen to have a greater subject knowledge than you or be more successful with higher ability pupils.

    Supply seems to be cutting off your nose to spite your face. If you want to teach A Level you need to move on to another school I am afraid... Start to look.

    Good luck.
  5. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    An aside, maybe this is the problem?

    I don't know you so don't be offended. In general though you sound fairly bitter and a little too self assured. Is this coming across to people?
  6. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    You don't always get to teach what you want. If you've been open about your lack of interest in media, maybe the HOD doesn't see you as a team player and has concerns about your ability to absorb new material and courses. I'm also curious about whether you have asked to teach A level or have been silently hoping it will happen? Sometimes an upfront approach works best.
    Also - can you share some of your tremendous behaviour management strategies? I am always looking for examples of good practice to try out and your confidence in that area really shone out from your post.
  7. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you for the added perspectives.

    Firstly, no bitterness on my part, just an honest appraisal and a case of 'who you know, as opposed to what you know' - in relation to who has 'better subject knowledge' at A level. I am a team player not willing to be a 'used' member for someone else's climb up the career ladder. Sorry if anyone is bothered by this. There are always two perspectives and this is my one.

    I am aware that teachers are asked to teach other subjects and if there was a concerted effort to develop the subject at the school, have teachers trained and lead on it, maybe it would be worth pursuing,
    I have a wealth of experience and I do not believe that I should 'shout the loudest', in order to be heard. Clearly, for some of you, this is the way forward to getting what you want. What my approach has proved is that the appraisal system is hogwash and only serves as a paper exercise, for the chosen few to enhance their CPD. No bitterness, just the truth, so what is the point of it?

    I am very much a team player as I am asked to lead on moderating and assessment meetings for both KS3/4; been KS3 co-ordinator and literacy programme trainer. In addition, I have successfully delivered exam programmes and mentored, many staff, so I do feel that these qualities should not go unnoticed.
    Sorry if some of you seem to think that being 'self-assured' is a problem, I don't and therefore, have outlined my position. In response to 'not being able to absorb information....', the opposite is true - that has already been proven and demonstrated so this is not a factor. Just imagine if I made a fuss about teaching the extra subject given, what would some of you say about that - still not a team player?? Umm.

    Thank you to those of you who have suggested moving to another school to gain the A level experience and that is exactly what I am organising at the moment.

    I always find it interesting in these forums when people give their views and make assumptions about something that has, actually, been thought about/happened for the past 2 years. The opinions, are obviously only being made on the information I have given but I presume we are all teachers and have known of or personally experienced much of what I have outlined, so it is not uncommon.

    Now, what I am more interested in is whether anyone out there has any advice about agencies, the pitfalls or otherwise.


    Behaviour management strategies

    Routine in all lessons - give students responsibility
    Have students own their learning by asking them how they want to learn - this helps with planning
    Have a learning contract in the classroom
    Praise and reward -fortnightly calls home and mentor the students as well as teach them
    Give them the confidence and you will achieve more and have them believe that they are and will be the best if they follow instructions
    Offer 5 mins of your time to listen to them/tutor times.
    Don't negotiate or compromise your position; follow schools behaviour policy
    Improve relationship with pastoral leaders
    Have students work in groups/assign team leaders
    These are some of my strategies - hope this helps!!
  8. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

  9. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    I think this is a case of you and the school having different priorities. They obviously respect you. It seems that you take their unwillingness to give you KS5 as a snub, in their eyes though they are advancing your career and expertise elsewhere. Have you had a full and frank conversation with the powers that be. Are there crossed wires? Do they know how important KS5 is to you?

    On the other hand, do you know how time consuming teaching KS5 will be alongside, what sounds like, significant responsibility in your department. Maybe they think that you are doing a good job and want to prioritise you here. It is a schools prerogative how to utilise staff after all.

    Can i say that you have taken much of what has been stated way too personally. Your response is a bit unusual and defensive. I am aware that I don't know you, and obviously don't know your situation. I am only throwing in some suggestions.....
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2015
  10. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Again, going on supply sounds like a drastic, and frankly OTT response. Don't even concern yourself with the pitfalls of supply or the merits of certain recruitment agencies.
  11. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    Leave or stay, one way forward might be to mark A level for one of the exam boards.
  12. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Please just have a conversation and ask about A level tecahing before you take such a drastic step as quitting a permanent position for the uncertainty of supply.

    Your perception of the situation may not be the same as that of the people around you.

    And thank you for the behaviour strategies.
  13. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    You're welcome, regarding behaviour strategies.

    I am already marking GCSE exam papers so will also enrol for A levels.
    I will address issues with HOD again to see if anything can be reconsidered but I doubt very much due to the nature of the school and department.
    The other subject and teaching of it is to fill the gap in my timetable, which could have been taught by a subject specialist who taught the said subject last year but this year has been asked to teach something else and that person is also not happy about it.
    Nothing taken personally, but it did give food for thought, so thank you for that.

    Au revoir and enjoy the rest of the weekend.
  14. br0wnsugar

    br0wnsugar Occasional commenter

    Not after pursuing a new direction in teaching, in the past 2 years, and two sets of appraisals I beg to differ.
  15. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    Time for a new job (yes, go for that new post you've been talking about elsewhere ;) ).

    To be honest, I am surprised that you have not been given the opportunity to teach A Level after five years of being there! I can understand if a HoD might not want to allocate A Level classes to an NQT, say, but this just seems silly.
  16. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    But I'm not sure he has asked!

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