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What does 'disaffected' actually mean?

(15 Posts)
PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 18:15:40

When relating to secondary school pupils. Thanks.

bluerodeo Tue 14-Jun-11 18:16:36

just not interested at all, school holds no interest

zandy Tue 14-Jun-11 18:18:03

I think of it to mean very disinterested, unable to be engaged.

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 18:54:45

Thats great, thanks.

I was wondering if it was a reference to home life. Perhaps I am thinking more of 'dis-advantaged'.

Just doing a quick google and the definition seems to be 'resentful' and 'rebellious'

Its not ok to just write a child off as 'disaffected' though is it?

I did some observation in school today in readiness for my future teaching career and was struck by this term.

bufforpingtonchick Tue 14-Jun-11 19:03:14

It's not writing a child off! It's recognising that they are not currently motivated by, or engaging with, school. If it interests you, find out what strategies the school have out in place to support the student.

Tip - don't judge teachers until you've walked a mile, etc wink

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 19:07:14

Thanks for that.

I just thought saying 'oh he won't pass any GCSE's, he won't even write anything on the paper' was really sad. Not judging, I'm in no position to.

bufforpingtonchick Tue 14-Jun-11 19:13:20

That is sad. Do find out what the school have put in place for him though, it'll be interesting for you in terms of research. It's probably a bit gallows humour - to be fair, some students can have all the support in the world at school, but for whatever reason, difficult home life or whatever, they will not engage. If he's in Y11 then yes, I bet teachers are v frustrated! I had a student last year who did really well in all his coursework with loads of support, help and encouragement, then didn't turn up for the final bloody exam angry I had some choice words to say about him!

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 19:19:12

How would I find out though without sounding judgy? (which is what you thought, Buff). I have a placement there in July for a week which I have arranged myself through the head of department, who was the teacher in question today.

I appreciate that I may find out that this is what its like nowadays, I was just shocked TBH. The class in question 'are the worst class in the school'. Things were thrown, including punches, and one pupil told another to fuck off. All ignored.

If this is 'normal', then that's fine, I'll undoubtedly get used to it very quickly. I admit though, I was surprised.

Intothevoid Tue 14-Jun-11 19:20:11

I means you've cleaned them with kitchen wipes.

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 19:21:53

Took me a minute. But grin.

Intothevoid Tue 14-Jun-11 19:24:33

If I'd have started with 'it' instead of 'I' it might have been easier!

bufforpingtonchick Tue 14-Jun-11 20:35:39

Hmmm, it sounds like a tough school! Good place to have a week placement but I hope you get somewhere nicer to do your long placements!

Bear in mind you do also get disaffected teachers, and it's totally human of you to judge. But bear in mind this class may be a bottom set in what sounds like a very tough area. There are kids for whom swearing is normal behaviour, and while there is no excuse for throwing things etc, it's likely a bigger problem than anything one teacher can achieve. Faced with a class like this, the only way to maintain order ime is to have very strong senior leadership with a zero tolerance policy on poor behaviour, who are willing to remove disruptive students as soon as it starts. Unfortunately, schools in poverty-stricken areas struggle to attract strong management staff for long. Even a head of department is bound by the culture of the school, so tactical ignoring of things like swearing may be necessary to get students vaguely settled and on side in order to get anything at all done. Another problem with bottom sets is you likely have a real mix of students - some disaffected, some SEN, some students who have for whatever reason missed a lot of school,some ASD, some with horrific home lives, and so on.

Remember this golden rule - your job is to teach the students you get, not to judge them and try to change them.

Do ask what behaviour support management provide, and ask if you can see information about the students in this group, it might be interesting.

Do compliment the teacher on their strategies whether or not you think they work - until you're literally up there in front of them, you can't judge. I know it's really hard not to though! I mentor PGCE and NQT students and still get quite self-conscious when they challenge me on my strategies!

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 21:12:46

Just a quick reply, I am still an undergraduate. I have 2 years to go before my PGCE/GTP. I was fixed on GTP...until today! (and I realise that it might not be available soon).

They were bottom set year 10. Its not actually a tough school. It is considered middle of the road. It is in a disadvantaged inner city area though. it looked bloody tough to me

bufforpingtonchick Tue 14-Jun-11 21:22:20

Don't be too fixed on GTP would be my advice. I was going to do it, got a job as a teaching assistant for a year in the school I was due to do my GTP in and realised I wanted more support. With a PGCE you have time in uni (albeit not much) with fellow teaching students you can offload to - don't underestimate what a tough year it is! Also a course tutor who can reassure you, someone outwith the school. On GTP you're totally dependent on the head of department for everything.

Mind you, with all the cuts to teaching courses I'd jump at whatever you can get! The govt seem to prefer in-school training as it's cheaper.

All schools are tough,and don't worry - you may find it overwhelming at first, but good teachers develop, they don't pop out of uni with all the behaviour management skills they need! I remember having an awful lesson in my first year of teaching and was observed by a senior management teacher of my subject who is amaaazing. I was having a little cry in the staffroom and he told me lots of stories of his early career, locking himself in a cupboard to hide from students etc!

It is hard, but it's always been hard, and for all that teachers complain, you wouldn't find them doing anything else smile

PippiLongBottom Tue 14-Jun-11 21:31:02

I am definitely fixed on teaching, I feel passionately that this is what I want to do. But today made me think that a PGCE might be better for me. I have lots of similar experience, but it is more adult based and if I am honest, today was a massive eye opener. Which is a good thing. That is why I am doing these placements before I embark on a PGCE.

Thanks for the advice.

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