Have we all be watching "ToughYoung Teachers" on BBC?

(34 Posts)
LizzieVereker Sat 11-Jan-14 18:45:53

What did we all think? I liked the Science teacher - I felt sorry for her when Year 8 didn't enjoy her activity and she cried.

petalpower Sat 11-Jan-14 18:48:03

When is this on? I've missed it. Is it a documentary or a drama?

LizzieVereker Sat 11-Jan-14 18:57:33

It was on BBC3 on Thurs, and it's a fly on the wall documentary following Teach First people as they start their first jobs. It's on IPlayer, I found it v interesting as a "long in the tooth" teacher.

petalpower Sat 11-Jan-14 19:05:13

Fab, thank you! Don't know how I missed this. A bit of a long in the tooth teacher here too (primary). I remember the fear of teaching practice though like it was yesterday!!

BatmanLovesRobins Sat 11-Jan-14 19:09:44

I was absolutely cringing as I watched it. That English teacher! Doesn't enjoy reading, turned up late on her first day, and forgot to bring books. Dreadful.

LizzieVereker Sat 11-Jan-14 19:18:57

I know! I did try not to be too judgy, but "write what you did in the Summer holidays" - oh my goodness! No other scaffolding/ differentiation. And said to students who probably hadn't had the opportunity to do much at all.

RudolphLovesoftplay Sat 11-Jan-14 19:29:32

That English teacher made me rage with her comments about low ability children sad

I've just caught up with it. The English teacher didn't look as if she'd had much support in preparing her lesson. The summer holiday task was ridiculous and her mentor should have been able to guide her to something more appropriate.

petalpower Sat 11-Jan-14 20:38:29

It will be interesting to see how the teachers develop and move on in subsequent programmes. I've just caught up with it on iPlayer too!

spudmasher Sat 11-Jan-14 20:44:46

It's a great charity. With good support in school, it can be a real success. The candidates are determined and able, reflective and thoughtful. With the right support, they can do really well. They find out very quickly if its not for them and are quick to move on.
I'll be really interested to see how this cohort get on- I don't think they will all last the course.

Rooble Sat 11-Jan-14 20:47:02

I was shocked and quite outraged really. In the Sunday Times last week they said the Teach First programme is sponsored by companies such as Accenture. About 50% of trainees leave after two years, many aiming to be taken on by, eg Accenture in consultancy roles. Which means generations of children in the most challenging schools will have generations of inexperienced, under supported teachers "teaching" them, totally out of their depth... It's appalling. It's such a write-off of those children. (Non-teacher here. But having done a PGCE could not believe that those graduates were being sent alone and fairly unsupported into the classroom).

Rooble Sat 11-Jan-14 20:49:22

You see, Spudmasher, it's great they can find out if teaching's not for them. But what about the poor sods being "taught" by them, who actually need to obtain some GCSEs? (And could do with some support in school)?

spudmasher Sat 11-Jan-14 20:51:02

They are very closely mentored- it didn't really show that in the programme.

Snargaluff Sat 11-Jan-14 20:53:32

I thought the science teacher was trying to be really creative, which was great. The year 8s were very hostile and I bet she finds they come round to her.
The English teacher seemed very naive- 100% pass rate! Nice aim, but clearly no knowledge of very low ability students. I guess she needs more support and that's the issue I see with Teach First.

Rooble Sat 11-Jan-14 20:54:50

Ah. Ok. That's less bad.

spudmasher Sat 11-Jan-14 20:55:20

I agree. Schools shouldn't take them if they don't have the capacity to give that support. That is the fault of the school.

kilmuir Sat 11-Jan-14 20:57:41

I would not want the english teacher teaching my children, she was disorganised , unrealistic, negative opinion on lower ability pupils and did not enjoy reading!

I realise that they are closely mentored (and, indeed, have mentored some of them myself) but any mentor worth their salt would have told her that expecting them to write (unguided) about their summer holidays (which most of them probably spent just kicking around) was misguided at best.

PintameElCielo Sat 11-Jan-14 21:01:57

I have big misgivings about Teach First to start with. (It's also a big recruiter into the Civil Service IIRC).

The science teacher will do very well I think. I also liked the RE teacher.

The English and Business teachers- not so impressed. Late and no plans?! What was she thinking?

I'm looking forward to watching next week.

spudmasher Sat 11-Jan-14 21:02:24

Yes, it seemed no one had talked through their lessons with them!

GW297 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:29:34

Just watched on iplayer - I love all these sorts of things, thanks!

lilyaldrin Sat 11-Jan-14 21:33:33

TF is a terrible idea and I can't see how it is supposed to "raise standards". Surely properly trained, qualified teachers and improved staff retention will raise standards, not chucking graduates in at the deep end to have a stab at teaching for a couple of years before they move on to their proper jobs?

When it works, it's good. But too many people are still just using it as a stepping stone and have no intention of staying in teaching. I think they should have to commit to three years.

Oh, and I really, really resent the idea that TF will 'save' education by putting good graduates into tough areas. Some of us have spent our entire careers in tough areas, doing a half decent job and working hard. TF appears to deny that.

LizzieVereker Sat 11-Jan-14 22:43:33

I agree Remus, when it's good it works, but...

I've worked with a lot of Teach First recruits, as I work in the kind of school that they're targeted at. Some have been brilliant, and stayed on in teaching, and they tend to rise into management quickly, but I wouldn't say that there is a greater proportion of TF candidates who are brilliant, compared with trainees from other routes. It's win-win for the school and the TF person; the school gets a relatively cheap, fresh, energetic teacher for at least two years, and the TF candidate gets a gold star on their CV and they do get excellent, intensive training.

However, I do think students suffer from constant staff turnover. The worst TF candidates are very naive, and incapable of relating to the types of students they are there to help, both socially and academically. I've heard them talk about students as if they were a completely different breed of human, one which needs "fixing". They treat TF as if it were some kind of extended "charity work", like a World Challenge adventure.

But, as I've said, a handful have been excellent - I'm in two minds about it.

DalmationDots Sun 12-Jan-14 20:40:57

I've worked with TF students in my primary school and my DD is joining next year, she has wanted to go into teaching for years and having got to final year looked at the options, financially she is very tight and TF offer a good deal in terms of no training fees and a salary. DD suits the on the job style, and I can see she will be OK as she has done loads in schools, with children and is very organised and passionate. I would not be recommending her to do it if she hadn't had the experience, didn't have the passion or the necessary skills.
I hope she will be OK and able to enjoy it (remembering how horrific teacher training was at times!). DD is worried about the mixed views of TF (lots of love/hate) and really doesn't want that to impact others' judgements of her as a teacher when she starts. I do hope she gets a supportive school with staff who are open minded and don't jump to negative conclusions if they aren't TF fans. TFers are so varied, as are PGCE/other routes. Equal advantages and disadvantages off all IMO.
Some of my trainees have been fantastic, far better than ones who had done PGCEs traditionally or BEds, others struggled and it took a lot of mentoring and support. Our school put a lot into supporting them though and were successful- others don't and the outcomes are much more dependent on the TFer themselves. Yes in all honesty there are some who seem to miss the charity's point and must have just parrot learnt things for the assessment centre (which DD found very rigorous and tough so not sure how Meryl got through!).

Was pleased with the show, very realistic but a few editing things which annoyed me. And very frustrated by the lack of support Meryl was getting, yes she was a bit hopeless but there should have been much more support and someone should have checked the lesson plans.
Glad they showed Sophie (although she didn't seem to know much about teacher's dress!!) but she seemed excellent and very in control.

DalmationDots Sun 12-Jan-14 20:42:33

I also wish they had done some sort of comparison with other routes into teaching and also more experienced teachers in the school to show the whole picture.

DH and I are both teachers and watched this.

We were absolutely cringing at the business teacher and his playing classical music as the kids came in. I really thought "know your audience, mate" grin

The RE teacher will do well, I think but not so sure about any of the others. I've worked in schools very like those featured (indeed still do!) and I think you need a certain toughness about you and ability to empathise with the kids that most of them seemed to be lacking.

MsFiremanSam Sun 12-Jan-14 22:01:50

Completely agree with everything LizzieVereker says.

I work in a school like the ones in the programme. Of the 10 TF's we've had, 4 lasted the full two years. The others quit during the first year, mostly disillusioned with the amount of data and apathy of the kids. The 'summer institute' seemed to have convinced them they were going to change the world, one lesson at a time.

The 4 who completed the placement all left teaching for other careers - advertising and journalism. While they were there, they were enthusiastic, bright and creative - but honest about the fact that TF was merely a route to doing something better. Other colleagues felt belittled by that attitude.

6 teachers quitting in their first year equals hundreds of kids missing out on the stability and consistency they need. I'm not a fan!

wonderstuff Sun 12-Jan-14 22:23:30

The thing that children in challenging schools need, more than anything is commitment and consistency, I can't see TF delivering on that. I think as a route into school it's a valid training option, the four year BEd gets the same results as a years PGCE, most teachers will tell you they really learn in their NQT year, why not allow the best graduates to go straight into teaching, but they need to be closely mentored and they need to want to teach, seeing it as a sort of extended GAP year is not what kids need. It would be interesting to see the stats, because if 60% of them are leaving in the first year and those that stay are only doing two that's massively disruptive and a waste of resources. I'd like to see teaching getting a better press and being a more attractive profession. Bring back key-worker housing scheme for teachers in year 4 or higher in challenging schools or shortage subjects?

I really liked the Science teacher and the RE guy, but the English teacher, I wasn't sure why she was there, she seemed to feel she was doing her students a massive favour by being there. If she was well prepared and enthusiastic she may have been, but she wasn't. It is a privilege working with teenagers, being in secondary and seeing them go from children to young adults.

eatyourveg Mon 13-Jan-14 07:51:50

I liked the business teacher - his classical music thing was a bit off the wall but in years to come if his pupils know nothing about business studies they will remember him for being the one who played them Bach and Beethoven - had to laugh when his computer failed. Happens all the time at my place.

In the trailer for the next episode, the English teacher is told that she has been flagged up as a cause for concern so maybe she'll improve (still wouldn't want my dc in her class though) Very strange that someone who is on film stating they don't like reading, should be given a role teaching English.

MollyBerry Mon 13-Jan-14 19:16:13

There is a lot of negative around TF but I think this post addresses some of it:
dailygenius.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/youre-my-teach-first-my-teach-last-my-teach-everything/

LizzieVereker Mon 13-Jan-14 19:38:05

That's a really interesting piece Molly, it's certainly thought provoking with regard to the rigour of the TF programme and it's retention rate.

DalmationDots Mon 13-Jan-14 19:42:36

wonderstuff where did you get 60% leave? All the official stats I've seen say TF has a 95% completion rate (and I hate comparing but for info PGCE traditional route has a 86% rate.
After the 2 training years it is 65% retention rate for the most recent cohorts (PGCE retention rate is 63%) so barely different.

As I said in my post, I am level-headed about TF and see its pros and cons (And same with other routes- I did the trad PGCE route) but it does grind on me all the misconceptions which I find very unfair and unjustified. That article sums it all up brilliantly thanks Molly.

LizzieVereker Mon 13-Jan-14 22:35:05

its retention rate blush

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now