‘Requires Improvement’

 

  • How often do you come home from work feeling completely and total inadequate?
  •  How often do you cry/want to cry/want to scream on the way home?
  • How often do you not manage to wait until you get to the car?

For most of us the answer to that question is more often than we’d like. A friend once described it as ‘sometimes there are days when you want to go home and eat all the chocolate spread in the house’. It made me wander how many of us do that kind of thing – get to the end of a ‘bad day’ , go home and eat or open a bottle of wine to comfort ourselves. It’s a very easy job to feel crap about because you are surrounded by children all day and they are the toughest audience in the world (teenagers in particular can be very cruel, whilst small children have no way of holding back with honesty). Not only do we have everything we do judge by our HoDs, SMTs, every jo-blogs who wonders into school, opens our pupils exercise books at home or once heard about one thing we did once, we;re also made to feel like we’re worthless by the Government.

What really kills me about this is that of all the people involved in the whole process the people who care most about what happen in our classrooms are us, we are the best people to monitor what happens, make changes and judge the progress of our kids and the people who’s opinion is constantly ignored…. yes…you’ve guessed it us. We know what happens day in day out – god forbid that we’d admit to most of it.

How many of us have had to stake our performance management on some arbitrary target? I know I have. Can I get this kid to meet a target decided for them by some kind of electronic testing – on one occasion, which may or may not bare any resemblance to this kid’s actual capability. To have to calculate which kids MUST get Cs to make our percentages, never mind out the kid that would be chuffed with a D, she’s not important any more. There really is no point in the lower grades… it might as well be A*, A, B,C, fail for all the value placed on the rest of the kids. Even value added – which is  a far more sensible measure – is ludicrous. Suggesting that all kids can and should progress at the same speed, and if they don’t it’s somehow the fault of inadequate teaching. The majority of kids who enter Secondary School on Lvl 3 in maths will leave at about the same level – whatever you try to do. The world isn’t getting smarter – maybe it’s time to admit that children are human beings and not complex puzzles for teachers to battle with.

ALSO:

If we all raise our results half of us ARE STILL GOING TO BE BELOW AVERAGE – that’s what AVERAGE MEANS.

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2 thoughts on “‘Requires Improvement’

  1. 1. How often do you come home from work feeling completely and total inadequate?
    Far more often than I’d care to admit. Especially around controlled assessment in-put and exam time.

    2. How often do you cry/want to cry/want to scream on the way home?
    Depends on the week, but there have been weeks it’s been most days.

    3. How often do you not manage to wait until you get to the car?
    Only twice. The teacher doesn’t cry – I cry. So I always try to make it to the car… although it can be damn hard sometimes.

    This is a job you do because you love it. Through all the tears, the heartache, and the bureaucracy – if we didn’t love it, we would have to leave, because there really aren’t that many reasons to stay.

  2. 1. How often do you come home from work feeling completely and total inadequate?
    Several times a week, usually. All it takes is a bad lesson. I just pray that I get a good one afterwards because that’s what makes it better… I’m lucky that someone once told me that ‘we wipe the slate clean for kids who had a bad day. We should wipe it clean for ourselves, too’. If I hadn’t been told that, I might have given up on the idea of teaching.

    2. How often do you cry/want to cry/want to scream on the way home?
    Depends on the time of year. I try to suck it up, but it doesn’t do my head any good.

    3. How often do you not manage to wait until you get to the car?
    Again, chewing the inside of my cheeks and focusing on my keys helps. I think teachers who stay after the final bell are more likely to shed less tears. I’m also lucky enough to have a very supportive department.

    I suppose if we weren’t hurt by our (and our students’) off-days, we wouldn’t be learning our ever-changing profession. It’s not easy to teach if you aren’t constantly learning… but it’s becoming harder and harder to gain skills and knowledge when we’re expected to grind results out of our students. Then again, I’m a relative newbie – perhaps it’ll get easier over time.

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