Dd's history lesson this week.(94 Posts)
Well dd had another history lesson today. Previous thread about last week here.
Teacher came in and told the class she was stressed as she'd just been told the following lesson would be an observed lesson and told the class she hadn't planned the lesson. So she told them all to do a card matching game with some sort of history pictures so she could ignore the class and try and plan for the next lesson.
Dd says no one really knew what to do. Someone started messing about and threw a pen.
History teacher was nearly crying and begging them to behave. Told the, she was really stressed and she needed them to be quiet so she could do lesson prep.
I need to ring up don't I?
Er, yes. This is inexcusable.
Sounds like she s completely out of her depth . TBH you'd be doing her a favour if you complain because she obviously needs help .
Well, if it's true that the teacher had been told an hour before a lesson that she was going to be observed that is also inexcusable on the part of the school.
A card matching game with pictures would be a perfectly worthwhile piece of group work, done as part of a lesson with teacher guidance etc.
Teacher saying shut up and get on with things might also be acceptable in some circumstances too.
But altogether, I'd say the teacher isn't coping very well and that the Head of Dept perhaps needs to give better guidance on the scheme of work, resources etc - so it would be worth phoning the school in concern for both the teacher's health and your dd's learning.
I can see the card matching thing been ok, dd says it was Iron Age pictures which does tie in with the curriculum.
What I think is really poor is the teacher basically ignoring them for the lesson so she can prepare for the next. Is it normal to be doing lesson prep during another lesson?
It would depend, Viva. If a class were doing an assessment, I'd probably be marking or doing some prep and only responding if they needed more paper or had a question. But I wouldn't give them an assessment without warning them in advance. And if they were doing a section of the lesson which they could work on pretty independently, I might again leave them to it for a while whilst I got on with things - but I wouldn't tell them I was stressed and therefore to leave me alone to plan!
She really sounds as if she's struggling and so it's worth you calling with your concerns - she needs some support and only then will your dd be getting a better experience of History lessons.
They're just going to tell me it's acceptable as she'd given them work to do aren't they? And then I'll get a reputation in the staff room as a neurotic mother.
I'm honestly not, dd got through primary school without me moaning about the lessons or teachers.
No I don't think they would - but how many lessons has dd had with her all told? If only 2 or 3, maybe wait a couple of weeks and see what happens.
Tbh I am more worried that she thinks its ok to tell them she's stressed and appearing to be upset. She does sound like she is under pressure. It's a tricky one if this is a one off I would leave it. If it is part of a series of issues then it might be worth raising your concerns but I would probably raise it more in line with concerns about your dd progress rather than the mental health of the teacher.
I doubt she was only just told about the lesson observation- I thought a certain period of notice had to be given (even OFSTED tell you the day before.)
But in any case she should have her lessons planned in advance and to plan during another class is inexcusable.
She is also really rather dumb telling the class that is what she was doing...
Dd has three lessons every fortnight with her.
So she's had quite a few lessons. Dd says she does some history and then they watch a lot of videos.
One lesson of watching Nicky Minaj videos, and different Gangnam style versions. Gangnam grandad style, etc.
One lesson playing Chinese whispers, albeit with a slight history slant. The whisper would be started off to do with a historical person. I asked dd if at the end of each round did the teacher at least give an actual fact about that person but dd says not. Though dd now thinks queen Victoria invented silver biscuits and king Henry the eighth invented Sesame Street.
Then they had a lesson where they were all drawing moustaches on people on the white board and all the kids were taking photos on their phone. Just random people, not even try and draw a caveman, etc.
God, poor woman! I was observed by the Deputy Head today. I worked till 6.30 at school yesterday and worked 8pm to 2am to make it all Ofsted-tactic. I have to say my lesson after was a bit shit (do you always work outstandingly well?) but the kids had no idea why.
I am sorry your daughter is in this situation. I am also sorry that thousands of committed teachers are being driven to the brink of despair by leadership. I actually think I did OK today - plenty of room for improvement but I have been doing the job for 9 weeks FGS! I wish parents would wake up to the fact that bullying and demeaning teachers really isn't going to have a good effect on their children's education.
I think you need to ring and ask if you can see the Head of History - or email, if they are that sort of school. It sounds pretty shambolic all round.
Sorry Obama, I don't understand if you think it's me bullying and demeaning teachers or management bullying teachers in general?
I've got nothing against teachers and wouldn't get involved in teacher bashing at all. That wasn't what this thread was meant for.
I'm sure teaching is a high pressured and stressful job. If today had been a one off I'd have just thought that she's having a bad day and not been bothered. But as its come after tales of watching Gangnam videos, etc I'm a bit concerned.
I hope you get good feedback on your observation lesson.
No not at all! Sorry if it wasn't clear. I mean head teachers and senior managers, Michaels Gove and Wilshaw. I completely understand your concern about your daughter (mother as well as teacher).
If she was really given an hour's notice of an observation that is shockingly bad practice on the school's part. I have also been known to sneak in a bit of lesson planning while teaching - time management like that is what makes teaching bearable. But certainly not while leaving a class to their own devices - most teachers should be able to pull something out that will occupy a class in a decent, educational way for half an hour or so and indeed it's expected that students should be able to work on their own for such a length of time. I wouldn't expect a class to be able to do an activity like card-sorts on their own though - it would be an extended writing or an assessment task.
What I'm saying is that the situation, although not exactly brilliant, is not unknown and could be managed tolerably well. But it doesn't sound like it was on this occasion and I would be worried about the accounts from other lessons (for example, I did put Gangnam Style on in the last two minutes of a Friday, period 5 lesson, as a 'reward' (!) for a well-behaved class. Which is very different from watching many different videos in the middle of a lesson).
Dd is scatty and vague at the best of times and can be prone to exaggerating. It is possible that this teacher is just doing a 5 min reward video at the end of the lesson. I have asked dd if its this and she says no, but that's not to say dd is right.
I would ring up out of concern for the poor woman, not to criticise her but to make sure she gets help. She really sounds as if she needs proper support. I'm sure there are ways you can phrase it that make it clear you are worried about her.
VLB - hmmm, it's a problem, isn't it, when they exaggerate! I know I've heard accounts of things from students that were wildly different from what I knew happened. The thing in this case is that the non-exaggerated version of events could be OK (apart from the phones/whiteboard thing which is really not OK).
I think she needs help, she sounds really stressed and like she isnt coping well at all.
Ugh to the Michaels - flesh creep time.
Totally agree with Cory.
You must ring...this is really unprofessional. Whatever pressure you're under, you should never pass that on to the children and it is never acceptable, never, to be planning your next lesson when you should be teaching the current one. I'm stunned that there are teachers on here saying they do. You really must ring - you've not done anything wrong. You've had concerns, waited and taken advice. You need to let the school know your concerns.
I didn't say that I plan my next lesson whilst I'm supposed to be teaching another but am actually ignoring a class. I said that if my children are doing an assessment, then I may well be doing some planning or marking as they do so (NOT for the next lesson). So be stunned all you like.
So what DO you do if you've got a class of 16 year olds doing an assessment for an hour - sit and stare at them?
Am getting irrationally cross about this now.
I can see it makes sense for a teacher to do other stuff if their class is doing an assessment, getting on with work.
But it's the fact that they seem to have been given the work so she could do something else that is what's bothering me. She wasn't making dds class her priority which she should have been.
I'm going to email. Am trying to draft something now.
Viva - I totally get that and think she was out of order, as I've said.
I'm just furious about people claiming to be 'stunned' that I would get on and do planning or marking (not go on Mumsnet or buy dresses or anything but to actually DO MY JOB) when my pupils are being assessed and therefore don't actually need me to be actively engaged with them at that time. And breathe, Remus.
Remus, me too! GCSE classes doing Controlled Assessment - what else do you do other than go through your planner and get some planning sorted in advance (and yes, not for the next lesson, obviously). Are we supposed to just stare at them?
Thank you for being a voice of sanity, Brian. Perhaps our children are better behaved than others and don't need CONSTANT VIGILANCE on our behalf, to quote The Late Great Mad Eye Moody.
Remus teacher here and I agree with you- it would be daft and a total waste of time to do nothing else whilst a class was completing an assessment, or doing something else that does not require teacher input. Today one of my year 10 classes spent 25 mins watching a section of a film and making notes in preparation for writing a monologue in character as one of the film characters. My other year 10 class spent 20 mins in silence completing a practice exam question. During both these periods of time I did my own work, including marking, planning and catching up on emails. It would be stupid not to.
Having said all that, OP, if this teacher is allowing the class to play games and watch videos in three lessons per fortnight- even if it is AB end of lesson reward- I don't think that's really on. I do this very occasionally but certainly not regularly and I wouldn't want a teacher in my department doing it in every or most lessons.
I'm a rebel, me. I teach English and often start lessons with 10 minutes of silent reading, and sometimes I crack out the Kindle and sit back with a good book along with them! I don't pace the room or anything. That's just the sort of crazy iconoclast I am.
BrianButterfield, apart from controlled assessments (four hours in two years for one year group) what sort or activity would children be doing that didn't require your attention? What sort of teacher wouldn't be walking around, reading what children are writing, gently coaching, perhaps writing down notes for their assessment folders and being a presence in the room? I'm genuinely bewildered when I walk past classrooms and see people sitting at desks when there are children in the room.
Maybe children don't actually need to be mithered by a teacher every second of their school lives? At some point they do need to just sit and do some work without anyone breathing down their necks. I hated it when teachers would read my work over my shoulder at school! Of course I circulate when I think it's necessary - but it isn't always necessary. With some classes I never sit down, with others I lead gently from the front (sitting down).
Anyway, you will never agree me with me, I can see. But a teacher sitting at a desk does not a terrible teacher make. Classes have been run like that for hundreds of years.
I rarely sit at my desk tbh: but I totally defend my right to do so if my pupils don't actively need me.
I agree that if they've been asked to do a task, sometimes it's the right thing to do if we just leave them to get on with it without constant mithering. It can be terribly off-putting to have somebody breathing down one's neck when writing, and my bright Yr 10s certainly don't need me to be doing that if they have already had plenty of active teaching and know exactly what the assessment entails.
And we have at least 8 hours of CAs in our single course and almost twice that in our double, not counting mocks and mini assessments etc.
I used to feel very guilty about sitting down until I taught up until I was 38 weeks pregnant and had no choice in the matter. That was when I realised that my classes behaved just as well, if not better, without me patrolling them like a prison warden. I did the primary-teacher-in-the-1980s thing of getting kids to bring their work up to the front for me to look at, and they did it, and waited patiently for me to read it, listened to what I had to say and acted on it. What a revelation!
One of my GCSE courses has just masses of CA, too. Even when they're preparing I walk around saying "anyone want any help? Anyone? Please?" and they all say no and get straight on with it. It can happen.
Sorry for the hijack, Viva.
I'm a teacher. I had a tough bottom set this afternoon, they were cranky, loud and tired. I threw on a few very tenuously linked video clips for the last 20 odd minutes. I've had no sleep after being up with my DD who has croup all night.
We all have bad days where we might just go for the easy option. But regularly? I'd keep an eye on this with a view to contacting the HOD.
Remus - Bright? Read Carol Dweck's book Mindsets the next time you're monitoring a controlled assessment and then you'll know better than to use that word.
Brian, I do completely agree with you on the silent reading idea - and in that case you are sharing a love of reading with the kids - can't see anything wrong with that. I think there's also a good case in point about mithering - there are definitely kids in all groups who prefer to be left alone, sort of 'in the zone' but for every one of them there's a kid who needs help. You can't tell that if you're sitting down doing something else. I suppose if you use the cups/cards idea you can see it they're all ok and don't need intervention, but I've never had a class where they're all on green.
Anyway, good night!
Mmm: if only monitoring pupils' confidence in a subject really was as easy as them picking a coloured card to display on the desk. And if only pupil success really was only a matter of calling or not calling them certain adjectives. Goodnight indeed.
I had a cranky, rowdy, sopping wet class of 28 primary ages children yesterday. One of them had bought a DVD in to give to a friend and by the end f the day we were all tired an they asked if they could watch a bit. I leapt at the chance.
Only to remember my projector for the whiteboard is broken <sob>
Read your other thread which you linked to here. Sounds unprofessional. Is she really a qualified history teacher or is she standing in for another teacher? You will have to approach the school about it I am afraid
Remus - no I agree, monitoring confidence is a difficult task, but one that is more difficult to do from your chair when you're not even looking at them. And like I said, read the book and then perhaps you can make an informed contribution.
I give up, Squeezed. I'm an AST and if sitting at my desk doing work occasionally when my pupils are doing an assessment makes me not good enough in your eyes, then plenty of other people disagree with that view. Can't be bothered to argue.
Viva - how did your draft email go?
If she is being observed at short notice I wonder if she is already under some kind of mentoring system, or even disciplinary, perhaps because of previous concerns.
Lizs - my thoughts exactly.
The fact that they gave her one hour's notice of an observation suggests to me it was done quite deliberately, as they had received complaints from other parents or students, or concerns had been raised by other teachers about lack of planning and lesson structure.
Op, I suggest your complaint may only be adding to the rising concerns about this woman, but I would get it in, so that they can add to the file of evidence.
I'm pretty sure that even if she's going through Competency Procedures, they are not allowed to give such short notice for an obs. It's more likely that she had been given notice but because she's struggling, she'd not planned properly or had been putting it off in the hope that it might go away.
Remus - I bet you didn't sit at your desk when you went through your AST competency assessment did you? I certainly didn't. Still don't.
Sorry Viva. Am leaving this thread alone now. Good luck with the school.
Well, I'm in leadership at my school with responsibilty for t+l, and we're a really successful school, and I'd employ remus over squeezed every time, as she sounds like she'd be better at encouraging independent learning in the students! And more modest/realistic, important skills in coaching other staff, which I assume as ASTs you both do.
And gosh I am annoyed with myself for getting drawn in. OP, report your concerns to school - they will investigate and if nothing untoward is occurring there will be no harm done!
Goodness, if the kids are at the point of doing an assessment, then surely the work should be their own, not interfered with by the teacher. If they can't do it, then their level/grade/band will be low. I certainly wouldn't be patrolling the class when mine are doing the assessment, or what's the point of it in the first place? I mark, plan, whatever and I am genuinely surprised by squeezed and her school.
Viva, please come back and tell us about your email and how it goes. It does sound like the teacher is having issues. Does your dd know if she is new to the school?
The thing is you seem to be confusing assessment (formative) with grading (summative). Neontetra, thankfully, since I already do your job, I won't be coming to you for employment. As an ofsted inspector who resigned when Wilshaw came into power, i'd say you're both in trouble. I was a puussycat in comparison to those who are heading your way...
Any update, Viva? <ds is doing his 'medieval church hegemony' homework; it made me think of you!>
Well I didn't name the controlled assessment so I'm not confused thank you. I am using the given name. And as SLT has seen fit to introduce 'controlled assessment' throughout key stage 3 as well, this is what we do and this is what we call it. Now please stop being disingenuous. Thank you.
I would ring out of concern for her. We had an incident I reported recently when children were videoing their teacher's performance on a mobile phone to collect evidence about the quality of the teaching. I found this shocking but some of the parents thought it was an enterprising idea!
I'm slightly stunned that any teacher could not have 'planned' her next lesson TBH. Whether it was going to be observed or not. We fairly often have SLT drop ins where they appear for ten minutes or so, just to see what is going on, with no warning whatsoever. It doesn't faze me as I'm generally pretty happy with my classes and not worried if anyone else wanders in to watch for a bit. The idea of not having a clue what I was doing next lesson, even without an observer, is hideous. The lesson would be crap basically. This teacher sounds fairly incompetent. (Although as a History teacher I'm still reeling from Nicky Minaj's boobs as a topic).
"If she was really given an hour's notice of an observation that is shockingly bad practice on the school's part."
I don't understand why this is bad. All teachers should be giving good lessons all the time.
It might be bad practice but it's not a bad thing. The school is obviously concerned about her and with good reason. Your daughter is not getting any useful history teaching. She should be taken away from the classroom and given more training and a supply teacher who can teach a different history lesson should be in place until she can perform.
Tbh - 30 children - one teacher. I'm more concerned about the children.
a supply teacher who can teach a different history lesson should be in place until she can perform
Yeah, right. The reality is that the children will be exposed to an array of general supply teachers or cover supervisors or covering teachers who spend the entire time marking while the children work in silence on dull and uninspiring worksheets. That is the reality of what will happen if the teacher is 'remoed' from post or, more likely, goes off sick with stress.
The unfortunate reality is that many headteachers are woefully lacking when dealing with underperforming teachers. Rather than supporting and offering guidance, they resort to bullying and setting of unrealistic targets. As is the case in loads of professions, the teacher then gets themselves signed off with stress (with good reason - they are often put under incredible pressure to meet utterly unrealistic targets and timescales) and the children ultimately pay the price by going from poor to non-existent teaching.
Oh fine, supply teachers are crap too? Timetable them maths then or find them a teahcer who can teach anything and can teach them that. There's no point in pretending they're learning history.
I assume you aren't suggesting that all teachers supply or currently out of work are rubbish and incapable of teaching a decent lesson.
Or maybe it's all the headteacher's fault or the parents' fault. Maybe it's the child's fault for telling her mother what is going on.
Brycie, I'm not saying that underperforming teachers should not be dealt with, nor removed from the classroom.
There are teachers out there who are not up to standard. Some are very inexperienced, and get much better very rapidly over a relatively short period of time. Some teachers have huge changes in circumstances which mean they can't cope for a period of time with their current workload. Some teachers (thankfully a tiny minority or none in most schools) are just plain crap.
As I said, some headteachers are not the greatest at identifying the best strategies for dealing with underperforming teachers. Inexperienced teachers get much better with the right support, training and mentoring. Teachers struggling with personal circumstances may be helped by going part time or relinquishing responsibility posts. Crap teachers need to be out of the profession if they don't show the capability to improve.
Too often, headteachers use tactics when trying to 'manage' underperforming teachers that leave them wide open to union intervention or even successful tribunal claims.
Either way, it would be very rare for a school to choose to, or even be able to, replace a poor or off-sick-with-stress teacher with anything other than a short-term supply teacher or cover supervisor.
Cover supervisors - employed by many schools - are often not qualified teachers. They merely 'supervise' students completing work set by someone else. Short-term supply teachers don't mark work, carry out assessments, write reports or attend parents' evenings. Long-term supply would only be used if the long-term nature of the absence had already been determined.
Either way, it is not a great state of affairs for the students, but it is up to the SMT to ensure that this is dealt with in a way that doesn't leave them wide open to a successful claim for constructive unfair dismissal.
What some headteachers are guilty of - and the blame must be laid entirely at their door - is 'recycling' poor teachers. Rather than following procedures and dismissing inadequate teachers, they 'persuade them to find employment elsewhere' - often in another school - with an agreed acceptable reference. How does this help the situation?
It's a terrible state of affairs for the students, not just "not great". It's appalling.
Right, have just sent the following;
Im writing with some concerns about my daughters history lessons which Id like to raise.
xx has told me about a few different incidents where it seems that theres not a major focus on history.
One of her first lessons the teacher stopped a documentary as according to xx the teacher said the kids looked bored. The teacher then invited children to come and draw on figures/people on the board. .
Another lesson the teacher showed them You Tube videos of different Gangnam Style versions.
Last week the children were given a card matching exercise to do which was history based. However the teacher told the children that she was really stressed as she had an observed lesson for the next lesson which she needed to prepare for. xx says that she felt she couldnt ask her teacher anything as the teacher appeared so stressed and had her head down in paperwork for the full lesson.
Today xx says that they did do some history but approx the last quarter of the lesson was spent watching YouTube videos of theme tunes from childrens TV shows. xx says she was still trying to complete the earlier work for which she needed to look at the board but as children were requesting different songs/theme tunes the teacher kept turning the board (projector?) over to YouTube so xx says she then couldnt carry on with her work. The teacher told them that as some of the theme tunes were from the 1990s it was history. However I was under the impression that the topic area for the class was Stone Age and Iron Age so I dont understand how this is relevent.
I do appreciate that there may be some times where its felt the children deserve a treat, etc. However there just seems to be a surprising amount of it.
Good. Send another one tomorrow if you don't get a reply saying i would appreciate an acknowledgment of my previous etc etc. Get your daughter to tell you waht happens in every hstory lesson, write it down and email it every day if they're all as crappy as they have been so far.
This teacher should not be in the classroom at all.
Thanks Brycie. Do you think the email sounded ok then? I'm just a bit worried that they're going to think I'm making a fuss over nothing. I'm dreading an email coming back saing that they've spoken to the teacher who denies it was anything like this and that dd must be exaggerating, etc.
They might try to suggest she's exaggerating; surely they won't come back and say that's a fuss over nothing...Maybe check with dd that there are other students happy to back her up (who are not pleased with just dossing every lesson!). Did you not mnetion the boob job lesson??!!
Sorry I can't be of more help, viva:-(
Hope you get a reasonable response soon.
Also, and this is a really flippant and unhelpful observation, but this teacher sounds about 12 years old. Anything that happened before today is history? Well, yes, of course, technically it is; but to try and justify her lack of lesson content is this way sounds ridiculously immature.
If you hadn't contacted the school, Viva, you would have been doing your dd and the rest of her classmates a disservice (always supposing no-one else has bothered). Good luck.
I suppose even if the school come back and say its all been a misunderstanding and the teacher says its only for 2 mins at the end of the lesson, etc. At least this should maybe make the teacher pull her socks up.
Same teacher takes some of dd's friends for geography and apparently is the same in her geography lessons. It's all YouTube videos, etc.
I'm just glad that dd doesn't get her for geography as well!
Email sounds fine. Am at what's been going on in your DD's lessons. I once worked with a teacher who, it transpired, had been showing YouTube clip after YouTube clip on subjects tenuously linked with what she was teaching, for the best part of a term. She got away with it until a parent raised it. Will be very interested to see what the school say.
I think the email sounds good. You need to be there for your daughter. You never know, history might be her thing, it might be the thing she's best at, she could develop a passion for it, it could be a subject she excels in But not iwth this quality of lesson. This is just a dumb waste of time and you'd be better off taking her out of it and taking her to the library and sitting with her reading hisotry books. Anything is better than this nonsense.
It sounds even worse than my DSDs' school. And that's REALLY saying something.
Well no reply from the school yet.
I think you need to mention the students taking pictures on their phones. It adds weight to the story and it set off my crap-teacher-claxon more than the other stuff.
Well even better than the photos I've seen a video on Facebook on one of dd's friends accounts. Its not one of dd's lessons and she doesn't recognise the classroom so unsure which teacher it is.
But there is a whole class of year 7 kids dancing to Gangnam style, music blaring loudly. Another kid has commented, omg, where ur teacher?
The girl who put the video up has replied saying she's just out of shot putting the music on! I suspect it's the same teacher.
The classroom looks like a zoo! I don't think the school would be happy if they new this is how they're been portrayed. But I don't want to get dd's friends in trouble. They're not allowed their mobiles on in school, plus they're too young for Facebook.
I would definitely report it. Download it and claim you don't know which child it came from if needs be?
With regards to FB and underage...that is a matter for parents and not the school. So your daughter`s friend`s parents need to impose their rules re FB and underage not the school.
However, as a secondary school teacher, there are boundaries which the teacher is crossing. I am thinking that she is struggling and perhaps is not cut out for teaching. Is she a nqt? Perhaps the last incident with them dancing is happening during a wet lunchtime? I often let my form into class during a wet lunch and they play on their phones and play music until the bell goes for registration.
I don't think it's at lunch or break time as they have a year 7 common room for breaks and dd says its not in the common room.
OK thanks for responding...I was trying to play Devil`s Advocate as a teacher. Trying to see a positive but there clearly doesn`t seem to be on
Still not heard anything from school.
It's not good is it? I'd have expected at least an email saying we've had your email and are investigating, will be in touch, etc.
Yes, not to even acknowledge receipt is quite poor.
what school is this?? can you tell us at least what area so i can be reassured that this isn't my child's school?
I don't want to out the school online. I just never thought I'd be ignored.
It's the Xmas Fayre tonight, I'm tempted to mention it to the head if I see him but I suppose it wouldn't be very appropriate.
i would!!!! definitely!!!
if thy don't want to communicate with you apppropriately then why shouldn't you communicate with them inappropriately?
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