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Common problems at secondary school- your experiences

(59 Posts)
hls Sun 26-Aug-07 08:31:51

As part of some research I am doing, I wondered what were the most common problems your child has experienced at secondary school- anything from teachers picking on them, friendships going pear shaped, homework problems - anything at all. Need to see if there are any common themes.

Any ideas?

fizzbuzz Sun 26-Aug-07 09:51:22

Hi, I'm a teacher, but I don't know if this helps.

Kids always accuse teachers of picking on them, yet I have never knowingly picked on a child in 12 years........

hls Sun 26-Aug-07 09:57:58

I wonder what makes them feel they are being picked on...??

Anyone else with that problem/ideas?

suedonim Sun 26-Aug-07 14:10:56

Teachers apparently ignoring them has been an annoyance with my dc eg not marking homework or acknowledging a special effort. Not a major problem in the scheme of things but it does discourage children.

mammaduck Sun 26-Aug-07 14:31:21

I'm a secondary school teacher too and I don't pick on kids either. What would be the point?

hercules1 Sun 26-Aug-07 14:41:00

I'm a teacher and kids often say this about teachers yet I've never met a teacher who does it.

It's a good way for kids to have a moan and blame someone else and gives their parents someone to blame too.

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 14:53:11

I'm a secondary teacher, and I don't pick on kids. As other have said, what would be the point. It is interesting that those few children who have accused me of picking on them are very often seen standing outside the doors of teachers other than me! So unless we all decided to pick on the same kids, that would be impossible.

Kids often accuse you of picking on them when you are, in pact, highlighting porr and unwanted behaviour. It is easier to accuse the teacher than address their problems. Ditto their parents.

hercules1 Sun 26-Aug-07 15:04:52

That's so true. Same kids saying the same thing. Really, we have got better and more interesting things to do.

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 15:08:45

That is what briefing is for, isn't it? 'Today we will be picking on the following children in year 7' wink

potoftea Sun 26-Aug-07 15:15:42

In answer to op, my dc biggest gripes with secondary school seem to revolve around the fact that all teachers go heavy on the homework at the same time- they'll have piles of homework for every subject one night, and very little other nights.
Teachers also don't seem to listen to their complaints as much as primary teachers, probably because there is more pressure to get the work done in the 40min class.
As a parent my biggest problem is that a bad teacher (and there are some in every school) will ruin the child's chance of loving a subject, or of continuing on with it in later years.

AttilaTheMum Sun 26-Aug-07 15:16:45

DD was always convinced it worked the other way round though: she has never been exactly a respecter of uniform rules - rolling up her skirt, make-up & jewellery whenever she could, but she was bright and worked hard in lessons, and almost never got pulled up for uniform violations when others did.
Luckily she is now at 6th form college, where they don't care what colour your hair is or how many piercings you've got.

But,was she imagining things or do teachers go lightly on those who work hard?

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 15:25:34

I don't. I jump on anyone that breaks the rules. Kids are great at spotting inconsistancy (as any parent will know from home), so I avoid it at all cost.

We get the kids to review our teaching on a regular basis. this is done 'blind' but I'll bet my boots that the one or two kids who marked me down as 'unfair' were the kids whpo refused to floow school rules.

AttilaTheMum Sun 26-Aug-07 15:39:20

Well, that's what I thought, but DD was always convinced - especially as the only one who did pull her up was the head of Year 7, who never actually taught her.
She used to come to see the Year 6's at our school & would talk to them in the library where I work. When she to the bit about uniform, she'd always give me a grin & say 'but there are always some who will try it on...'

Lilymaid Sun 26-Aug-07 15:55:45

Our most common problem was the drop in achievement after Y6 until Y9, when SATS come in again and the school starts to make an effort. I have the (probably erroneous) view that secondary schools consider that Y7 and Y8 are less important than the subsequent years. DS (just finished Y11) said to me that he wished the teachers had helped him in the earlier years as much as they did in the GCSE years.

southeastastra Sun 26-Aug-07 16:02:21

lack of lockers or anywhere for children to store things was a problem at first. my son had his entire pe kit stolen within the first weeks. but they more they get used to only taking what's absolutely necessary after a while.

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 16:03:15

Obviously not every teacher is 100% consistant 100% of the time, we are after all human smile, but I'd bet that the vast majority are because if you are not, your life becomes hellish. Just like parenting.

When kids walk towards me they have this funny nervous reaction, their hands fly up to their top buttons smile. And I quite like that in a funny sort of way, it is a mark of respect, and I respect them for it.

I allow kids to sit where they like at the start of term, and I warn them, that if they misbahave I'll move them. In any class there will be one ot two who will try it on, lets call them Atilla and Ghengis.

A and G choose to sit next to each other at the back of the class, and after a lesson or two the problems begin, lack of concentration, poor levels of work, disturbing other students. You then step in and warn, then you sanction, and because Atilla and Gengis may well not have parents who actually follow up on a threat (they did it once and the boys didn't like it, so they stopped) the poor bahviour continues.

So eventually, because you actually want to teach and not contain mini Barbarians, you make them sit alone, under your nose. The rest of the kids have worked hard, so they get to sit where they like. Immediatly the cry goes up from Atilla and Ghengis, 'You are picking on me , Miss'. Wheras I have simply responded to their behaviour and as a reasonable teacher responded to their particular needs. For the good of them, the rest of the class and to stop my blood pressure reaching danger point.

Atilla and Gengis will scurry home, eger to tell Mum and Dad how horrid I am and how I pick on them, the rest of the class can stil where they like, but these two angels have been singled out, because I am an old Harridan, with nothing better to do. And because Mum and Dad have long given into the path of least resistance, they belieave little A and G.

And that, ladies, is whey I keep a well documented behaviour log smile

AttilaTheMum Sun 26-Aug-07 16:09:17

Are you picking on me mb?.... grin

Whizzz Sun 26-Aug-07 16:15:37

I work in a secondary school & my opinion of the most problems would be :
lost kit due to a lack of storage / rushing around a big school / no names on stuff
girlie friends having fall outs
the swap from having one teacher in primary to having lots of them in secondary all with different expectations / teaching styles

(can I be nosey & ask what your research is for grin)

hls Sun 26-Aug-07 16:30:12

Thanks all- as to what I want this for, I do some freelance writing as an "Agony Aunt" for some magazines- and I am a p/t teacher myself,although I don't work in the state system any more. I am interested in parents' biggest issues with schools, in order to try to address those issues in future features.

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 16:58:44

From chats I have had with parents of Year 7 kids (I was a year 7 tutor a few years ago) I would say that frequent concerns would be

The amount of homework
Stuff getting lost
Kids getting lost
Missing the bus
Not having one single teacher
(in no particular order, except the first which does seem to worry most parents)

hls Sun 26-Aug-07 17:41:20

HOmework does seem to be a major issue- it's often a case of 3 well-meaning teachers all giving homework on the nights they should- then 3 teachers another night not bothering! so that kids end up with masses or none at all.

One question- does the talk and visit parents get when their children are in year 6, bear any resemblance to real life at that school- come on- be honest!! And how do parents read between the lines when making a choice of school?

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 17:54:05

yes, IME it does.

Open evening does show the school at its best, for example the stuff we do in the science department is stuff that we do with the kids in school.....but we don't do it all in one day IYSWIM smile

And in reality many schools are now aiming their pitch at year 5 kids and not year 6

Something that happened to me was that I inadvertantly got 'broadcast' to a group of parents who were having an open evening talk. I'd set up an on line revision class for a group of kids, and the ICT guy realised this and put up the session live! I honestly had no idea it was happeneing. Thank God I was less sarcastic with the kids that usual wink I dare say tha many of them thought it was a set up, but it wasn't.

We also let parents visit the school on a normal day, and they do tend to see us warts and all. And I work in a state comp

hls Sun 26-Aug-07 18:23:04

Would you agree that schools have a massive clean-up and teachers wear their best stuff,and kids are told to be REALLY good on open days?

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 18:28:08

I've never been told to wear anything special! smile Other than my name badge, which I tend to wear anyway. The floors are swept, but they are swept every morning. And while we don't go out of our way to ask the most distruptive kids to come into school for open evening, neither do we only ask saints.

I'd say it is a good, and honest, portrayal. And in the end the parents all read the GCSE/A level results in the local paper and read the OFSTEAD results as well.

Blandmum Sun 26-Aug-07 18:28:58

So, no, I wouldn't agree.

We show ourselves at our best, but it is still 'Us', however disapointing that may seem to someone from the press. wink

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