Teaching in Schools

23/04/2010 at 19:24

There must be some teachers out there who are members of the forum who will have comments about the following and I know there will be forum members who would like to have their say.

I have observed in schools for the last couple of days and frankly I was shocked at the behaviour that went on and in several cases ignored by the teachers in many classes. And this was a 'good' school.

Mobile phones and music players being usedGirls applying make up in classBoys swearing out loudKids playing games on laptops when supposed to be workingChildren ignoring teachers instructions completely and continuing to talkIn some classes, children walked out of class without permission How has it come to this?
23/04/2010 at 19:59

Careful DEC the Liberal elite will start accusing you of reading the Daily Mail and seeing bad in everything. Obviously it must be OK because the exam results are improving year on year. Society is fine there is nothing to worry about I,ve been down this route already.. 

SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD.. Our parents knew a thing or two.. Teachers have no sanction to improve conduct, touch a child and its violence they believe that a smack is an affront to civilisation well, as you sow so shall you reap.. Bury your head in the sand DEC it aint happening we are being told so.. 

23/04/2010 at 20:13

It is happening, MTP - I saw it for myself today! No need to read any newspapers.

And I also looked though a GCSE maths paper today - no wonder the grades are going up when the exam papers are so easy. My 11 year old could do some of the questions.

The same Gaussian distribution of intelligence must exist today as it did 50 years ago. Kids are not getting smarter - far from it.

23/04/2010 at 20:20

I know exactly what you mean, DEC. My daughter's school had become less about teaching and more about crowd control. The publication of their OFSTED report (they were put on Notice To Improve) coincided nicely with being offered a place at another school, where she started last week.

Her new school has a much better pupil-to-teacher ratio, smart traditional uniforms, no tolerance of behaviour which disturbs the other pupils. The eight grand a year it'll cost us - that the unacceptable nature of the state-provided option has cost us - has put my retirement plans back a couple of years (and scuppered my plans for full membership of my club next year), but it's worth it.

23/04/2010 at 20:33
DEC, of course not,  we were taught 'subjects', and about 'things' in some cases even to love the things we were taught, these days they are just taught to pass exams. Its 'targets' that are the problem if everyone meets their criteria everything is rosy.  Behind it all is the left wing mantra about fairness every kid must have the same opportunities it dosent matter if half the class are rowdy and the half that want to learn are disturbed they are all the same so it just lowers what they are actually taught to the lowest common denominator.. The left wingers cannot understand the reason the middleclasses are middleclass is because they have worked for it most of them started out on council estates and worked their way up the towards of the top genepool because of their ideals and work ethic and they are willing to work to give the best chance to their children so Private schools, Grammar schools and religious schools make a killing it drives the Left crazy to think these places are still running despite their best efforts to close them down.. AND its a bloody good job they are still runnung because thats where the brains this country needs in the future are going to come from not schools like the one you were involved with..
23/04/2010 at 20:47
To be fair to the school I visited, not all classes had the problems I mentiond above (thouhg many did) and  there were some good kids who will probably be a success. But it is the objectional behaviour that really sticks in the memory after a visit.
Edited: 23/04/2010 at 20:47
25/04/2010 at 10:07
So based on observing one class for a couple of days, you have deduced that the whole education system has gone down the gurgler? The main reason for declining standards of behaviour is down to the decline in parenting skills. We see students for a total of maybe 3 hours per week and yet we are expected to work miracles. Undoubtably there are some poor schools but until we see Education being run for the benefit of pupils rather than as a political pawn the status quo will remain.

<steps off soapbox>
25/04/2010 at 10:40

Samiguel - unfortunately that day's observing probably does show the picture in the majority of classes but that's not to say it's the teachers fault.  I think there are a lot of things happening outside the schools, in society, that impact the kids and hence the educational system.  Such things as high divorce rates, many more single parent families, removal or corporal punishment, both parents working to survive etc. but what I don't see if the educational system changing to cope with those things.  The lack of respect by kids today for their elders (not necessarily betters) is shocking.  Every human being deserves to be shown respect and civility but many of these kids can't spell those words nor do they understand the meaning of them.

I, for one, would vote for a political party that allows far more power to be given to todays' teacher to control a class but suspetc none of them have the balls to do it.

25/04/2010 at 12:42

The day the decision to remove the cane was made was a very sad day.

25/04/2010 at 16:59

I have a pet theory. 

Most kids today have a distorted sense of entitlement and I expect it's partly the fault of the parents.  I assume most of the parents of these kids are baby-boomers who grew up during a time when a lot of us were rebelling against authority.  We were making a statement that we weren't going to adhere to the rules of the establishment, "the man".  And, despite all that, most of us turned out just fine.  However now, a lot of parents are passing that attitude on to their kids, but without tempering it with any discipline at home.

Just my .02 worth.

25/04/2010 at 20:07

I don't blame the teachers tbh. They can only work in the environment provided for them and society has demanded an end to corporal punishment.

Sadly alot of the kids who behave poorly are considered to be lost causes by the teachers, so they get "tolerated"/ignored, and who can blame the teachers. I can't.

A colleague of mine decided to leave our line of work and become a teacher. So off he goes to his old secondary school to do some observation and help him get a feel of what the job entailed. On his second day observing a 15 year old girl kept on staring at him, when he looked over she had edged up her skirt showing him "the full view", no knickers, nada, and smiled.

HE shat himself, and after the lesson had finished he reported the incident to the headmaster. He was appalled that the headmaster just said "oh her again". He was told that this kind of thing was not uncommon with certain girls and that he would make a record of the incident in case any allegations where made.

Society is the problem, not teachers or our education system, and until society takes responsibility for the children it creates the teachers and are just doing the best they can.

25/04/2010 at 20:12

Samiguel -

I observed 10 classes in that time (not just one class as you have suggested) and as my posts above report, some were good (the A level classes of course) but some were bad - very bad. Please don't get defensive. What I saw was a very stressful job and if government does not buck up its ideas we will find it harder and harder to recruit good teachers. That said, I do think it is up to the senior management of the schools to set the policies on behaviour that should be enforced.

Of the teachers I spoke to several commented on the dumbing down of the courses and pointed to the fact that it is all about passing exams (not necessarily with any understanding.) This is the political aspect you mention perhaps.

I also agree with most (if not all) of what Ken Mavor has posted.

25/04/2010 at 20:18
What happened to teacher who was charged with attempted murder the other month?
25/04/2010 at 20:28

OMG Pen! That is really shocking!

25/04/2010 at 20:43
What, that she had no knickers on?
25/04/2010 at 21:00
DEC you asked for Teachers' opinions and I provided one. My opinion was based on what you wrote; namely that you have been in school for a couple of days and have observed some poor behaviour. Poor behaviour occurs in every single school in the country whether state, fee paying or whatever. The extent to which it occurs obviously varies enormously.

You haven't mentioned (apart from the A level groups) what age and what level the students you observed were studying at. I work in a well-regarded secondary school based in a fairly deprived area Devon and I could show you some of the best students going and equally show you some lessons that would make your toes curl in the manner you have explained! It is possible you've just seen some really difficult classes...

To those speaking out in defence of corporal punishment (I'm making the assumption that you are of a certain age); I will counter that it is a totally outmoded form of punishment. Some of our most "difficult" children come from terrible backgrounds where they are routinely shouted at/sworn at/beaten by parents who are drunk or high on drugs. The "never did me any harm" argument takes on a slightly different look under those circumstances.

Please don't think I'm picking a fight; I hope I'm offering an opinion based on 12 years experience in the profession, rather than a couple of days' observation or what folks have read in the press about the state of our education system.
For what it's worth, exams are definitely getting easier!
25/04/2010 at 22:14

Samiguel, I'm wasn't talking about caning the already abused children now, but more about how much the discipline in schools has declined since the removal of the said cane.

And, whilst you mention it, the drunken parents you talk of needed a reet ferkin kick up their backsides when they were younger too!

You see where I'm going with this?

25/04/2010 at 22:29

I am fortunate enough to live in an area with very good schools. When trying to decide what primary to send my son to I visited a couple of headmasters/headmistress's.

The first headmaster told me how the school didn't focus on education alone, they where extremely interested in the emotional development of the child and that they didn't prepare him for the 11+ . I told him that my son already had 2 parents who could do a much better job parenting than he could, so maybe he should stick to educating.

The second head(mistress) made it perfectly clear what was expected of us parents whilst she educated my son, she expected his homework to be done, for us to check it, for us to read with him every night, and if he fell behind for us to do extra work at home with him each night, she explained that they have a strict dress code and very strict behaviour codes, she also explained that the school did fund raising every year and if we could afford to donate then please do, but if you cannot then please donate your time to help organise these functions. Not surprisingly 85% of the kids from this school go on to the local Grammar.

Needless to say we went with the no nonsense school.

My point being that some schools seem more interested in educating than others and that comes down to the management of that school and not necessarily the teachers who work there.

25/04/2010 at 22:32

I'm married to a high school teacher, and so get a daily update from life on the coal face. I can therefore confirm that Samiguel is 100% correct in everything he says.

Without being biased, my wife is one of the good teachers out there, and can control a class no problem without resort to physical persuasion. It also helps that her school, whose catchment includes some of the worst areas of the city, has improved out of sight in the last few years due to the policies introduced by a new Head Teacher. e.g. zero tolerance on not wearing uniform. I believe the school now has a record number of kids attaining Highers and applying for uni.

My dad for one still boasts about getting the belt at school in the 1950's- he was a bit of a bad lad, and he and his mates regarded 6 of the best as a badge of honour.  The soft / weak teachers also got taken advantage of, no different to today.

26/04/2010 at 07:36
Spartacus, I do see where you're going, but I don't think there is much evidence to show that discipline has declined directly as a result of the removal of the cane (which was, after all, over 30 years ago). IMO it is more to do with changes in society. It's been mentioned in the thread but children rich or poor have a very different environment to grow up in compared with even 10 years ago, let alone to when you were in school.