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When you listen to the pupils too much it can be disastrous for a school

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by garyconyers, Sep 20, 2007.

  1. Sorry fellas (Gary and Autism) I'm not meaning to be ignorant I'm just incredibly busy and not in the best of health. I've not posted on your threads because I know doing so will reel me in to a long debate again and I just can't right now. Apologies but I'm going to have to bow out for a while...

  2. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

    Not really. All you have to do is justify your accusation of me, ie:

    "You've stated time and again that listening to pupils is a pointless exercise "

    Just 3 examples will do of me saying that you should never, ever listen to children.

    You can't and you won't because we both know I haven't. This is a dishonest smokescreen to deflect attention from the fact that your accusations have no substance - and we both know it!

    BTW sorry to hear of your poor health. Get better soon.
  3. garyconyers

    garyconyers New commenter

  4. Listening to pupils / students - call them what you will - is far from a good idea in the way it happnes in too many schools. In my school the School Council has become far too powerful and when I, as a staff governor, read the minutes of these, I am absolutely mortified at some of the ludicrous ideas they come out with, and worryingly, the Head often agrees with them. As for students being part of the interview process - I find this deeply disturbing. They are not bound by any professional codes of conduct and in the case of a recent appointment in my school, one of last year's 6th formers, who was on the student panel, has been blabbing off in an appalling manner to both staff and students at the school about the person who was appointed - now the school can't touch him!! It's all very well for the PC do-gooders, the human rights brigade and the ECM lot to encourage listening to students, but in many schools it has gone too far. By all means give them a voice, but go too far and the consequences can be disastrous.
  5. gameplayer

    gameplayer New commenter

    Listening to pupils (in the way the OP is putting it) to give it a fancy 'I've done the clever management course' name is a form of 360 appraisal. Very fashionable on some of the events I've attended (especially non-teaching management ones, from whom we are supposed to need to learn)

    So perhaps this should be extended all staff i.e SMT should have the same on them by staff (lots of ways available to do this anonymously)
  6. May I add something, I agree completely with the posts suggesting that allowing children to sit on interview panels etc are ridiculous. They are children - they aren't even allowed to vote...how the hell can any SMT justify having them involved really in the running of a school or appointment/performance management of staff? It is just another example of naieve practice by managers that do not operate in the real world. The reason children are in school is to learn how to gain many of the skills required to ably carry out some of these roles in the workplace. Although I would conceed that children's voice is important it should never be permitted to be twisted to undermine a teacher, school or learning in my mind. I worry that there are too many SMT who use ECM in a way that suits them and not the kids. Reading the opening of the thread - it seems that in the school mentioned (and I have been in such a place also and witnessed this sort of school demise) the needs of the one have ended up outweighing the needs of the many. (Sorry about the Star Trek quote).
  7. Just read all this thread with a mixture of dread and interest. Yes, all this is happening in my school. Interestingly (and worryingly) SMT had no answer to a colleague who asked if a "negative" student observation would be used in the PM process. The expectation seems to be that we should be showmen (and women) and entertainers rather than teachers. I've told SMT that I will NOT repeat NOT be "observed" by a student.
  8. Couldn't agree more. If you've got reasonably sensible pupils, then you might get some good ideas, or even pupil involvement and taking of responsibility by pupil voice, but the majority of it is just rubbish and laziness from them.

    Listening to teachers occasionally would be nice.

    SMT at our place ask our opinions and then promptly do the opposite of what we want. I make my opinions known and am regularly ignored.
  9. Sounds like you should tell your SMT the opposite of what you really want them to do....
  10. My Y 11's in my last school went whinging to my HOD, who sympathised with them, from then on lessons with all classes went downhill as the rumour spread from about 5 Y 11s that I 'couldn't teach'. Mr X had said he would check what I was teaching them' and similar. Same happening in new school, fighting like anything against a constant barrage of pupil demands to sit where asked 'becuase they learn better'; 'not do this we did it with mr x last year and he agrees we don't have to do it again etc etc.... It's about time that SMT backed teachers to the hilt in front of kids, no matter what they actually say to us in private about our lesson plans etc.......
  11. The lunatics really are running the asylum....
  12. Cant imagine why any SMT would not support staff, unless there was tangiable evidence of wrongdoings. Children have vested interests in telling, conspiring and manipulating staff if they can. "Pupil voice" is one way that switched on children can use the system to their advantage. As a SM myself we have got much more milage in trusting and supporting staff, Yes listen to the children, but this needs to be put in the context which we all understand - children are the ones that need guiding, advising, and teaching. Surely children on interviewing panels, observing lessons is the tail wagging the dog - obserd !! one wonders where the unions are when you need them.
  13. Please come and work at my school wattie!! You sound like the voice of reason. Why then are so many SMTs in favour of what are little more than gimmicks?
  14. Hi KM Thanks for the offer - but I enjoy going to my school and I am determined to extend that sentiment to the staff that work there. Problem is that a lot of teachers that get into SM & Head's positions dont become good leaders over night. They may be gr8 teachers and understand subjects or learnig methods -but, often, they find themselves in an overwhelming position when it comes to things such as handling personnel matters, pay and conditions, health and safty, and a dozen other things that you need to deal with as a SM. On top of this they start to look at being "innovative" and that is where the trouble begins. (mainly to impress HMI/OFSTED)
    Remember pupils are transient, they move on, loosing good staff that you trust is a massive price to pay for that one "trend" that will be discredited in six months time. A happy school= happy staff too !! If we took this principle we would have less movement of staff, teachers looking forward to and planning long term careers, saving millions of pounds and the whole thing would be a solid basis to build a world class education sysyem. (thats my rant for the evening)
  15. Wattie, that "rant" should be circulated to every head teacher in the land!
  16. gameplayer

    gameplayer New commenter

    Wattie aaid
    " Problem is that a lot of teachers that get into SM & Head's positions dont become good leaders over night. They may be gr8 teachers and understand subjects or learnig methods -but, often, they find themselves in an overwhelming position "

    Quote from a HoD
    "I don't think I can satnd the pace of this (meaning teaching)nuch more . I've got to get out" At the time she was applying for SMT jobs. She is now a DH and part of the 'fluffy bunny oh poor little darlings brigade.

    The gr8 teachers I know don't become SMT. Too often it's based on your ability to perform well at interview or have 'the answer' to xyz, whereas experience and expertise should te;; you there isn't AN answer
  17. Guest

    This is frightenly familiar. Have just worked for half a term in a middle school, as an NQT French teacher where there was a lot of hostility and anger within the classes, often directed towards me as a new temporary teacher.

    A year 7 class I was having particular difficulties with, due I believe to unhealthy dynamics within the group (taught in their mixed ability tutor group) which included victimisation and bullying, spent their timetabled French lesson with the SENCO "listening" to their issues (I was not allowed to be present). At the end of the class there were 3 girls still there. The SENCO told me that one of the girls didn't understand why I had moved her in the seating plan. I had to justify myself to an 11 year old girl. She of course became quite pink with embarrasment, as I had of course already explained and she knew why.

    Before this lesson was due, the class had been shouting out to me "Miss, we love you, you're a cool teacher". At the end of the class the SENCO informed me that the class were very angry with me, that they felt I did not like them. And that I would be having a meeting with 5 representatives from the class to discuss this.

    I have no problem with discussing teaching and learning methods. I do have a problem with personalisation of issues and the permission given in this way for children to manipulate staff. Once again, this class had sabotaged their learning in collusion with the manipulated SENCO, as they missed their end of unit assessment!

    What concerns me was that these children had too much power, they knew they could manipulate teachers and the head in particular. They didn't feel safe with this lack of boundaries. Hence their anger and hostility, which they outletted at me as a new temporary teacher. I have never experienced such hostility just because I wanted to teach them!

    I was religiously following the behaviour policy, giving out warnings, detention slips and credits but the head was letting children off their detention slips and I was informed that I was giving out too many detentions! I was constantly being undermined and unvalidated, which had a knock on effect on the children. And so, again, the children were given too much power which they could not cope with.

    I stronly believe in pupil voice but I also strongly believe that children of this age need an authority figure and something firm to come up against. A teacher has to constantly make decisions, they may not always be the right ones, but children have to experience that the decisions stick and teachers need to be grown up enough to be consistent in their sanctions and deal with their consequences.

    On union advice I have now left the job as not only was I being undermined, I was also receiving a zero NQT package, I suppose because the job was only for 2 terms. An interesting experience! My self esteem has been knocked, but I still have faith that there are schools, and heads, who get it right!

  18. Hi GP - Yes ! in my experience (some) great teachers dont become members of SMTs, but really great leaders know how to look after, look out for and release the great and the good to do their work. I think SMTs should have experience in other walks of employment life before being handed a school to run.

    We have had no one leave our school in five years, not TAs NNs teachers, (no one) most have all had hard times in these years, both personal and prosfesional but we stuck together and supported each other. It's not all a bed roses but we are able to air our differences but most importantly we dont hold grudges.

    The new DH you talk about will be in for a shock if she thinks she is going to an easier life, and no doubt she will be looking for a way out again soon - my opinion of that is, whoever is managing her needs to ask the question " What is the problem" she may need support or help to fulfill her role.

    My idea of living hell is going to work and dreading the day, no support, no one to listen, that cold forboding feeling in your stomach that you have no value and you are no good at what you do. I would not wish that for myself and only a uncaring fool would wish anyone else to feel that way.

    Remember this if you get to those heady hights -

  19. gameplayer

    gameplayer New commenter

    Can I come and work in your school Wattie?

    The DH in question has been inpost several years now and always has a lot of support from HT (which must increase HT's workload)when doing their job

    No chance of me reaching 'dizzy heights'i'm afraid
  20. Ah GP ! There is that word again "support" she found somone who could manage her and probably got the best out of her.

    Here is a task - go into work tomorrow and be as supportive as you can be to your nearest colleagues, help, support or just listen if you can. If you have a favourable result (even if somone just smiles and says no I'm ok) a couple of things will happen. Your kudos will go through the roof, you will be held in higher esteem, you will have a better day (yes even monday) in a short time you will gain respect, be trusted,certainly become a confidant for others.

    If we could get 100 teachers reading this blog to do this to 10 other colleagues this network would spread like wildfire.

    There is a lot of new research about "Im OK are you OK" networks - Blow the lid off this secretive, entrenched,I dont need help culture in schools
    Be brave - you be the one who starts it in your school, you can make the difference.

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