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calling all disillusioned primary teachers!

(38 Posts)
Bronte Thu 02-Dec-10 21:41:06

I have taught since 1987 across ks2 and 1 and although I managed to escape the post ken baker era with its prescriptive straitjacket NC, and continue my work in the independent sector I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with the systems we impose on our young learners.
Levels,targets and testing leave a bitter taste in my mouth. So much of it seems to be a waste of time, not there for the benefit of the children,but paper filling for the benefit of Ofsted. My year 1 daughter came home with a slip of paper outlining her literacy target: to use capital letters and fullstops in her writing.
How dull and uninspiring! Our year 4's and 5's still forget these literary technicalities. Surely there must be loads of othe teachers out there who feel the same but are scared to question and criticise their employers.
The swedish method looks interesting . Are Montessori schools similar to this?
Any comments, feedback please??

stoatsrevenge Thu 02-Dec-10 22:41:19

I think this is a really exciting time in primary education. Apart from the paperwork, I am enjoying the freedom of the present curriculum. I also like teaching to objective and making the learning outcomes clear to the children. I think it helps the children make sense of what they're learning and helps the teacher clarify his/her own thoughts. I like the way we are easing the transition from YR to Y1, giving a more play based curriculum. I like the way we are using the outdoors, particularly in YR and KS1.
All in all a fun time to teach.

Oh... and I'm really pleased that we've just started Forest School.

Goblinchild Thu 02-Dec-10 23:18:05

But did you read the title carefully little over-excited stoat?
No you didn't, for this is a thread calling to the disillusioned and you are patently not.
This is not your question.
So you get an F.
What do you think the OP was using as her success criteria?

AFL yourself with a traffic light.

stoatsrevenge Thu 02-Dec-10 23:31:58

That's a red one I think - I'll just ask my talk partner...blush

Talk partner wonders if I am allowed to be disillusioned that Bronte's so disillusioned?

Anyway, to the success criteria:
Must understand that many schools are taking advantage of the fact that there is no set curriculum at the moment

Should look for a new job

Could go to visit some different schools to see what they're doing.

What's the Swedish method, Bronte? Sounds a bit raunchy to me! grin

Goblinchild Thu 02-Dec-10 23:41:45

Well, you may need some empathy and SEAL training stoat, how long have you been teaching?
I started in 1984, so I do understand something of the weariness that Bronte is feeling. I didn't get to escape the Literacy Hour either, with PING 15 mins text level PING 10 mins word level Ping...you get the idea. smile

Sassyfrassy Fri 03-Dec-10 06:39:26

I trained in Sweden and taught there for several years before moving to England. There's a great freedom in Sweden. You have targets to meet in year 5 and year 9. No grades or levels until year 8, only informal assessments and each school/teacher decided how to go about getting the children to their targets for year 5 and year 9.
The most paperwork I ever had to do was medium term planning.

That said, I think I have been more challenged as a teacher since moving here and have become a better teacher for it. If only we could find somewhere in the middle ...

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 06:57:37

I don't think I could ever go back to mainstream teaching now I am in the "special ed" sector.

We plan from where the children are at and "go with the flow" wherever necessary. The targets we set are ones which make sense and are important next steps for the children. We can spend time reading to and with them, working with individuals, no "times" to follow so no sitting on the carpet for 30+mins (as I see in mainstream schools all the time shock), etc, etc.

The paperwork is also hugely reduced as we have far fewer pupils.

Definitely the way to go!

Grockle Fri 03-Dec-10 09:06:42

Am also in Special Ed and whilst there are some things that great, I am constantly setting targets, assessing, reassessing, writing reports, reviews, submitting dataattending meetings. This is all important but means I have less time to spend actually teaching and working with the children.

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 09:18:52

Grockle, that's not my experience at all, but I am in a very special kind of special ed! Meetings, etc do not get in the way of teaching. Just the snow as the buses can't get the children in!

Grockle Fri 03-Dec-10 10:53:16

I have the same problem re buses so no school today yay I have an exciting day at home to do performance management, planning and form filling grin

My area of special ed is also quite special - I'm intrigued as to what you do now, Tilly!

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 11:12:03

Ours is different to most provisions as the children attend 2 days a week, mainstream the other 3, so we have a non-teaching day on a Wed when we visit schools to advise / meetings, etc, and do any paperwork grin

Grockle Fri 03-Dec-10 12:07:08

Oh that sounds great! Mine can't attend mainstream really sad

Bronte Fri 03-Dec-10 12:40:12

Thank you for all your responses. Interesting to hear about your experiences of the Swedish system, sassyfrassy.
What ages did you teach and how have you been more challenged here?
Whoopee stoat...you have no set curriculum and are enjoying the freedom. This is how many of us were trained to teach.
What goes around comes around in the end. Is this what is being described as the creative curriculum now? I just know it as cross curricular teaching. This is encouraging.

mrz Fri 03-Dec-10 18:35:09

Stoat do I work with you? grin
I've never ever taught a literacy hour or numeracy 40mins grin we don't follow QCA or the literacy numeracy -straightjackets- frameworks and have the freedom to plan for children's needs (obviously have to ensure we cover the statutory bits but can do it in an interesting way)

Feenie Fri 03-Dec-10 18:45:23

Goblinchild, you got your pings wrong grin - it was 15 mins text then 15 mins word level!

Now that we don't have to time every lesson to the second (Music 33 minutes per week, etc), and can plan for where children should go next (and not where the curriculum wants to go, with or without us), I am enjoying teaching more than ever!

BigTillyMincepie Fri 03-Dec-10 19:05:16

I've obviously been teaching too long - I remember time before the NC and prescriptive timings. The Integrated Day grin

Goblinchild Fri 03-Dec-10 19:14:58

You iz right Feenie, I just remember it being a time when suddenly literacy was all extracts and no texts. Hated it.
Let's see what the new National Curriculum brings, now that the Rose report is toast.

Sassyfrassy Fri 03-Dec-10 19:35:50

In Sweden (at least 7 years ago) there is a heavy reliance at times on text books. For maths it is usual for each child to have their own text book to work in and they would all have the same. So it was easy to be a bit lazy and stick to the book and not differentiate properly. Doing more detailed planning and not being able to rely on premade workbooks has, i feel helped me become more creative and think more carefully about how I teach.

On the other hand I really miss the freedoom in a Swedish school. I could structure the day as I pleased, noone was bothered if I spent a week on a theme and integrated swedish and maths into that. The timetable was more fluid and it was possible to have lessons where some children worked on maths activities while others worked on literacy or whatever else they needed.

I had no teaching assistant and generally worked alone in my class, taking all subjects and we didn't set for anything.

pantomimecow Sat 04-Dec-10 17:41:53

I am sad about how literacy seems to be all about technicalities rather than content.

BigTillyMincepie Sat 04-Dec-10 17:45:55

I agree pantomimecow. Back in the day, I used to read loads to my classes, regardless of age.

Infact, several ex-pupils who have since run into me recall the stories as being part of their lasting memories of primary school.

Reading stories to children is so important in fostering their love of language and therefore high attainment in English.

Feenie Sat 04-Dec-10 19:33:20

So why have you stopped? I have always read to my classes, from Y2 right up to Y6. It's my favourite part of the job!

mrz Sun 05-Dec-10 08:30:31

I agree with Feenie I follow the "5 a day" rule with my Y2s and below (5 books a day) and even in Y5 & 6 our children have a daily story (usually at least one chapter book over half a term for enjoyment)

BigTillyMincepie Sun 05-Dec-10 10:43:44

I haven't stopped smile

But I go into mainstream schools alot and I very rarely see teachers reading to their classes for fun - there doesn't seem to be enough time in the curriculum. Apart from the 20? mins text level, of course wink

Love your rule mrsz!

Feenie Sun 05-Dec-10 10:48:50

Even with the Primary Framework it was always assumed that children would be read longer texts outside Literacy - I know because I had to show the particular paragraph saying this to our then Head, who was also sceptical about having enough 'time'.

Feenie Sun 05-Dec-10 10:50:22

We actually had to produce planning for storytime sad - produce it we did though!

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