to make this statement and run...

(46 Posts)
LDNmummy Tue 27-Nov-12 21:07:27

because I doubt I have the time or energy to argue my point. So I'm just going to say what I think and bugger off.

It is not so odd for teachers to feel that parents simply do not understand what a teachers job actually entails.

It simply baffles me that some parents think it is an affront for a teacher to suggest that they cannot understand teaching as a profession and what goes on behind the scenes.

Why be affronted? It's not as if I would say to a brain surgeon "oh you should operate in this manner while in theatre" or "you should open the skull this way before cutting this way" without expecting the surgeon to laugh in my face. After all, I don't know how to do the surgeons job, so he would be quite right to think and say that I don't. Bad analogy I know.

So why do some parents get so bent out of shape if they are told that they don't know what a teachers job actually entails.

I don't know if I am being clear here but... yeah...

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 16:34:25

Some children begin secondary school, not come to blush

The irony grin

Being at home for the last year has made my English skills a little rusty too.

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 16:33:07

Sorry nokids, I made an assumption based on DH's dealings with lower set students. He sometimes has to build the children up from absolute basic level English skills. And these are British kids with English as a first language.

Some children come to secondary school unable to spell their own names!

I was a learning mentor and have a teaching qualification so know what goes on in the classroom, Dd has a very young teacher who is NQT. I must admit there are times I grit my teeth because of things I know should be done that aren't.

I try not to interfere though mostly.

I am yet to work in a school where teachers left later than 6 though. I used to help with planning but we used to do it at home.

Devora Wed 28-Nov-12 16:20:18

LDNMummy, I do sympathise. I've never been a teacher, but I have had a lifetime of jobs that other people think are (a) pointless, (b) easy, (c) should be abolished. (Can you tell I"m in the public sector?)

Some of my conversations with other parents do make me laugh. One said to me the other day she was going in to ask the teacher why her ds wasn't in the top stream. If it was me, my first reaction (in the absence of any evidence he was being badly taught) would be that he wasn't top stream material (they can't all be, after all). But no, she clearly thought the teacher had a case to answer.

CailinDana Wed 28-Nov-12 15:00:27

That sounds more sensible breathe. All the schools I taught in (ks1/2) as a supply teacher had the system of setting it, marking it, but not going over it.

Incidentally I was also surprised at how much gets given to children in schools here - pens, books, paper etc. In Ireland each parent is landed with a very long booklist at the start of each school year and has to buy all the textbooks, copybooks, pens, art supplies etc etc. It's an expensive business!

CailinDana - that isn't entirely true. If appropriate I would go through the homework in class, with students marking their own or each others if appropriate and then collect it in and look at it myself too. But at KS3/4 we never had enough textbook for one to go home with each child (or faith that they would come back. In Ireland you might make all the children buy them or give them numbered books from a set (I had this as a pupil myself).

CailinDana Wed 28-Nov-12 14:47:31

On a total tangent -I don't get the homework system here in the UK at all. In Ireland, we use textbooks (which are an absolute NO here - making life ten times harder for teachers, of course) and after each lesson the teacher just asks the children to do the next exercise in the textbook for homework. So each night the children do an exercise that revises what they did in class that day. Then the next day the teacher goes through each relevant exercise at the start of each lesson, which allows both the child and teacher to review yesterday's work and gives the teacher and idea of how well each child is doing before moving on to the next thing. So for example I might teach fractions, set a fractions exercise for homework, come in the next day to be told by the children that they really couldn't do the exercise, meaning that I would then scrap the planned lesson and go over fractions again. It's a great system IMO, it allows you to track constantly what the children are capable of and gives you and ongoing assessment of where your teaching is at.

I was boggled when I got to England and was told homework was set once a week and that the teacher just marks it but doesn't go over it in class. What's the point of it in that case?

nokidshere Wed 28-Nov-12 14:44:53

LDNmummy not in this case - we are talking the top set in yr9 where 98% of pupils are british with english as a first language!

Cailindana thank you for that explanation, I am happy if my boys are having an interesting oral lesson (not sure i like the sound of that lol) but have to have something to evidence it!

I have been a secondary teacher and then a primary governor. Even having been a secondary teacher, I was amazed by how little I knew or understood about being a primary teacher/head.

I do think there is scope to challenge teachers at times even as a non-teacher. For example teachers sometimes set meaningless homework because it was their turn to set 30min of homework that day. I think that is worth challenging (though perhaps more worth challenging the school policy) as most people in any job at some point mindlessly follow instructions or do the same inefficient process repeatedly until challenged.

One thing I really think is missing from schools are the signs you get in other public service buildings like hospitals which say "we will not tolerate any form of abuse towards our staff".

CailinDana Wed 28-Nov-12 14:31:06

Wordsearches could be being used as a way of filling books. OFSTED expect a certain amount of written work and so sometimes I resorted to useless busy work, like wordsearches or "complete the sentence" to tick a box (oh how we love ticking our boxes) because there was no "evidence" from a lesson where the children debated or talked about ideas or did a collaborative project. It doesn't matter one bit that a purely oral lesson will have had the children interested and talking and learning - oh no, that means fuck all, because you have no "evidence". So in goes the crappy wordsearch so that you can have something quick that will take up minimum time but fulfil some stupid criterion.

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 14:21:54

"But the absolutely ridiculous paperwork, the feeling that you have to justify your every move, the constant criticism and questioning, the critical parents who seem to want you to make mistakes, backbiting from "colleagues", ridiculous fucking OFSTED nonsense, targets, paperwork, marking, more paperwork, more targets and more justifying just drain the job of all its interest and satisfaction. Especially here in the UK (in comparison to Ireland) teaching has been turned from an organic, interesting, exciting process controlled by professionals to a rigid form-filling exercise. Rather than teachers being seen as trained experts they are seen as lazy idiots who need to be checked on and monitored at all times. A lot of teaching may look easy but just about every bit of it takes energy and concentration. It is beyond exhausting. But the exhaustion of the teaching process is absolutely worth it IMO. It's that pile of extra shit that pushes it from exhaustion to burn out. I won't go back to teaching and that makes me very sad in some ways - I dream and fantasise about teaching. But then I remember wading through the sewerage of the education system and I just can't do it again. So I'll work in a better paid, far easier job. And not really love it. But at least I won't collapse in a heap of stress. And I'll have time to be with my children."

Yes, it really is all you have outlined here which is getting to me. And I am not even the teacher here, it is DH, but it has an affect on the whole family. He loves his students and tries very hard for them, but everything else makes it seem not worthwhile at all. We have debated whether or not he should move to a better paid and less stressful job.

nokids sometimes teachers have to resort to word searches in secondary education because the children have absolutely no English language or literacy skills when they begin secondary education. It is shocking and appalling sometimes.

nokidshere Wed 28-Nov-12 14:16:03

Well given the number of wordsearches in my secondary school childrens books I cant imagine they take a lot of planning - or indeed what their worth is.

However, I am not the teacher so I let them get on with it - but if all they have learned at the end of term is wordsearches then I certainly will have soemthing to say!

CailinDana Wed 28-Nov-12 14:08:10

No not all Hecate. Part of my frustration with teaching was how much your hands are tied when it comes to achieving an outcome. You are under such pressure to plough through the curriculum, and in some cases, to stick rigidly to a certain way of teaching, especially in maths, that at times you do feel you're failing the children because you just can't put the time into the things they're not quite grasping. In Ireland the attitude is very much that a child has to come out of primary school with certain things, and if you have to teach it, as you say dressed as a chicken, so be it. If you have to teach it 400 times, so be it. You're the professional, you decide. Here in the UK there tends to be much less freedom - you have to move through the curriculum quickly, you have to teach some things a certain way, you have to cover this that and and the other regardless of the children's abilities. It's much more about appearance and box-ticking than actual benefit to the children.

HecatePropylaea Wed 28-Nov-12 13:39:03

Well, I agree that most parents don't know what a teacher's job entails.

but what parents are interested in is outcome. Well, I am, anyway. I don't care if you teach the times tables standing on your head and dressed as a chicken as long as my children come home and can tell me what 7 x 6 is grin

to take your example of a brain surgeon. I may not know how to do surgery on the brain, but I do know that I want to live through it! To not be left paralysed or speaking with a french accent grin

I don't know how teachers teach (although they must have the patience of saints! grin ) but I do know that the outcome I want is that my children can read, write, do X, Y and Z

So I don't think it's unreasonable for parents to feel they want a particular outcome and to question what's going on if they're not seeing it.

I would question any professional if I could reasonably expect a certain outcome and I was seeing no evidence of it.

Is that an unfair way to see things?

CailinDana Wed 28-Nov-12 13:08:56

I used to be a primary teacher and I have to say I loved it (most of the time). Being in a classroom with kids is great fun, the day flies by and you feel like you're really doing something (as opposed to other jobs where I've felt like I was just pushing paper around). The buzz you get from a child finally clicking onto something, and the funny lovely things they say really stay with you. Bad behaviour is stressful, but not so hard in children who tend to misbehave for fairly straightforward reasons (as opposed to teenagers who can be more vindictive and obstructive) and the nothing beats the feeling of really turning a child's behaviour around once and for all.

But the absolutely ridiculous paperwork, the feeling that you have to justify your every move, the constant criticism and questioning, the critical parents who seem to want you to make mistakes, backbiting from "colleagues", ridiculous fucking OFSTED nonsense, targets, paperwork, marking, more paperwork, more targets and more justifying just drain the job of all its interest and satisfaction. Especially here in the UK (in comparison to Ireland) teaching has been turned from an organic, interesting, exciting process controlled by professionals to a rigid form-filling exercise. Rather than teachers being seen as trained experts they are seen as lazy idiots who need to be checked on and monitored at all times. A lot of teaching may look easy but just about every bit of it takes energy and concentration. It is beyond exhausting. But the exhaustion of the teaching process is absolutely worth it IMO. It's that pile of extra shit that pushes it from exhaustion to burn out. I won't go back to teaching and that makes me very sad in some ways - I dream and fantasise about teaching. But then I remember wading through the sewerage of the education system and I just can't do it again. So I'll work in a better paid, far easier job. And not really love it. But at least I won't collapse in a heap of stress. And I'll have time to be with my children.

blackeyedsusan Wed 28-Nov-12 12:36:57

ha ha, it is worse when you have been a teacher and you know it is damn well unreasonable to expect x,y or z... but you still want it anyway and have to restrain yourself from marching in there and shouting... grin

PickledGerkin Wed 28-Nov-12 12:13:23

I volunteer in a school so I am aware of what the job entails and I have never told a teacher how to do their job.

But I do hear loads of parents ranting in the playground about stuff.

I have seen how hard it is to work out who to put with who on residential school trips, and how hard it is to teach a child who firmly believes they are rubbish at <insert subject here> even though if the child actually tries to do the work they can!

I have heard parents complain to a teacher that their child isn't Mary in the school play and almost demand that the actual Mary be told she can't do it because Mrs Bloggs feels her daughter would be better shock

Teachers have my total respect, as lovely as some children are, there are the challenging ones grin

GilbGeekette Wed 28-Nov-12 12:12:50

Klep: "So I end up mithering about why I have to do sodding homework with him, because I am not professionally trained and I DON'T KNOW HOW." This, so much this. I'm SO glad I'm not the only one!

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 12:03:11

I needed to vent blush

LDNmummy Wed 28-Nov-12 12:01:36

It's nice to see some people understand.

Devora I'm just fed up as DH works his arse off and gets so little recognition. For the last few weeks he has had no choice but to be home at 9pm every night because of paperwork which has been piled on top of all his other work.

He is missing out on time with me and his DD and has missed every single one of her milestones because of this.

He leaves home at 7am everyday and isn't back till 8pm on average. If he comes home at 7pm or ,God forbid 6pm, it means even more work the following week to catch up. He gets paid a pittance if you break down the hours against his annual pay and sometimes it doesn't feel worth it when you think of the stress of the job.

I keep telling myself that it could be far worse, but when he comes home after having dealt with yet another obnoxious parent, I get so angry.

Of course not all parents are like this, but there are a fair few who think that it's their place to tell DH how to do his job and get angry when he tries to discuss the real reason their child is facing difficulties at school. They actively want to find a way to make it DH's problem which I find cowardly.

Maryz Tue 27-Nov-12 23:31:15

Oh, yes, the mumsnot.

As a secondary teacher you have a choice of a PG film that all the kids will hate (and either cause a riot or snog in the back row) or an interesting one (possibly even vaguely educational), that most of the parents will complain about grin.

Yes Alis, I was being just a tad ironic [snurk]. But talking to other parents, I do think some of them would agree with my post..

There's like 13 weeks off a year and you only work 9-3. It must be EASY!

Seriously now, I have so much respect for teachers, they're magical snake charmers, how you can spend days with 30 of the buggers darlings, I do not know.

The amount of work that goes into planning what seems like a simple lesson is incredible. I couldn't do the job for all the money in the world.

Themumsnot Tue 27-Nov-12 23:26:00

I'm a secondary teacher Mary. We don't do finger painting. We let them watch DVDs all day instead. Unsuitable ones, generally.

tethersend Tue 27-Nov-12 23:24:35

What about teachers who are parents?

I know how hard it is to be a teacher and I still think DD's teacher is a twat grin

On the other hand, if teacher me met parent me I'd probably think I was a twat too.

BrittaPerry Tue 27-Nov-12 23:24:18

I home educate and I am in AWE of teachers. My sister is a teacher in an inner london primary and I have literally no idea how she does it.

I can control and educate my kids because, well, there are two of them and I have known them all their lives, know if they slept well last night, can tell when one of them is getting annoyed and needs a break, etc.

Imagine not knowing all that, or even what kind of family the child has, meeting a new group of 30 every year, plus kids changing school, dealing with all the different needs, targets, paperwork, rigid timetables, limited resources, then getting arsy parents on top. Nightmare!

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