Part time, getting shafted (feels like)(16 Posts)
Just need some perspective on this as am hopping mad.
Basically- I am a teacher of a secondary core subject and have been for around ten years. Been at my school for about five. Outstanding school according to Ofsted but in reality things are kind of muddled as is often the way in schools I think (or has been in all three I have taught in- which have been ranging from In Special Measures to Outstanding). Very big, inner city, lots of managers. Ten form entry and going up to twelve so just thousands of people. In my subject area there are 19 of us including four coordinators and the head of dept,
Had a baby 18 months ago and was off for the full year. Came back in September 2015 on two days a week. Timetable is an absolute mess- scrappy and no coherency. Have only got one class I see more than once a fortnight. Other members of staff have not helped me to make things easier either. For example I have put a document on the shared area and have asked the other teachers to write in the document what they do with their class the lesson before I see them so that I can plan accordingly. No one ever does it no matter how many times I ask or email asking on my days that I am not in. Consequently I often plan things that the class have already done and end up having to replan at the very last minute on totally on the hoof. It’s incredibly stressful. Added to this the kids can be a bit tasty behaviour wise and so often they play me up as though I am a cover teacher when I come in and we waste half the lesson on bollocks like the seating plan and taking coats off etc. Especially as I am (or used to be!) excellent at behaviour management and never had trouble in that area at all. Oh and my timetable has been chopped and changed three times with classes randomly allocated and taken away to benefit my SLT line manager. One notable case of this was when I was given an SEN class to teach for one lesson a fortnight but not my normal subject but the SEN departments own tailored SEN friendly basic numeracy course. I have never taught it before and know nothing about it. When I went to the SEN department to ask for guidance and a scheme of work they said they couldn’t help as were too busy but to look on the shared area and see what I could cobble together. Just feel like a cover teacher.
So after a departmental review where I was observed with a year 7 group (and got decent feedback) I was called into a friendly enough meeting today with one of the four coordinators. Felt very sorry for her- I used to be 2nd in subject pre baby and so know the stress and bother of dealing with these shitty reviews- where it was suggested that I might like to take part in some “coaching” to help me “improve my teaching and learning” because of a lack of “coherency” in planning and lessons. Asked where this had come from and she said it was just since the observation and “nothing to worry about” it was just about improving things for everyone. She praised my work with the KS4 group I see 4 times a fortnight and said that my work with them is “coherent and beneficial” and that my marking of their work and assessments is good. She raised concerns that I haven’t marked anything for the other groups consistently. I didn’t lose my rag but really wanted to- I KNOW there is no consistency, I KNOW I can’t mark anything effectively for groups I see once a fortnight, I KNOW that I am not planning efficiently enough for the kids to make decent progress. I was very controlled and suggested that my timetable needed rejigging or that I needed meetings with the other teachers of the classes consistently in order to help me plan and teach beneficial lessons. She nodded a lot sympathetically and promised to talk to the HOD about it but I don’t foresee any actual changes to my timetable and no one ever has the time to meet me or can only meet on days I’m not in when I try and arrange meetings.
I just feel humiliated and like my card is marked- I’m obviously being seen within the review to be failing but I have a history of good, solid creative teaching and am- frustratingly- working really fucking hard to achieve absolutely fuck all it seems.
I just want to go and hand my notice in right now to be honest. Obviously am not going to but this had demotivated and depressed me. And to add to it all- unbeknownst to my school- I am six weeks pregnant with number two. Has anyone got any experience of this stuff or have any advice?
Today I feel like I literally do the worst job ever and teaching can just fuck the fuck off.
It does seem horribly unfair - but the fact that they have used the word "coherency" seems in your favour. How can you plan and mark "coherent" lessons if you are not informed of what the students have already covered - you can prove that you have requested this information and have not been given it - and also if you only see them once a fortnight?
I would have a word with your union - at regional level, not the school rep - and see what they suggest.
Thanks Kait. Tbh I'm tempted to just smile sweetly, get on with things, nod along with any "coaching" and not take any of seriously because it's all bollocks and they'll be a new problem next week as there's always bloody something. Do you think that approach would be unwise though?
I don't think your approach is unwise - it will leave your department leaders' feathers unruffled and keep you in favour, which is far preferable for an easy life than being branded a troublemaker.
It isn't fair though. And you would be well within your rights to ruffle those feathers. Are there any senior managers you are on good terms with who you could have a quiet chat with? Particularly someone with responsibility for either curriculum, timetabling or CPD (all of which have a part to play in this scenario)?
It probably is a wise approach Fell - but you can always ring your union for advice without your school knowing. I once did this about a situation I was in and was given very sensible, non-confrontational advice. In fact this non-confrontational approach worked, but I was also told that if it didn't, then to get back in touch and they would up the ante a little.
You are probably right about there being some other problem next week though and are probably wise to go with the flow - but it's damned unfair - and typical of many schools today.
Don't quit, think of the maternity pay. What subject do you teach?
I share some classes with a teacher who only sees them once a fortnight. It would be annoying for everyone if I had to tell her where I was up to and expect her to pick it up, then her tell me what she'd done and I carry on.
Instead, I look at the SOW and say "you take percentages this term" and she just covers that in her lessons. Or she might do some numeracy practice with them in her lessons, or problem solving. Anything that doesn't require sequential planning with me.
noble I suggested this. I also suggested that I do an entirely different SOW that takes me longer so I do a different SOW across three half terms and then it's solely mine and I don't have to keep stopping and starting. No dice. My line manager keeps saying it's all about "consistency and cohesion" (new buzzwords it seems) and that I need to be doing the same SOW as the main teacher.
Ok, can you email the main class teacher after the last lesson she has before you see them asking where she is up to? Then inform the HOD every time that information is not passed on? I wouldn't ask the teacher to write on a doc on a shared area, because they will probably forget, an email each time is harder to forget. Yes it's a pain for you to remember to send the mail, but not having the info is worse.
If you are being bollocked for not being coherent and it's not your fault, then you need a clear paper trail proving that it's not your fault.
We have lots of shared classes, and lots of part timers, and we map our SoW (which is divided into lessons anyway) on a shared document at the start of a unit. It can then be adjusted if necessary, but generally we keep to it. We have consolidation lessons built in which helps.
We have quite a few shared classes - so we split the sow at the beginning of the term. You might get one teacher seeing them only once a week for 50 minutes - so they focus on "red topics" - things from previous assessments that need to be built and improved on to access the further areas of the curriculum. Could you look at something like that? Which subject do you teach?
I agree with noble - although we are the same subject which does make it easier - we split each half term and take different chapters.
I would cc HOD/Coordinator into emails to other staff requesting info so they can see you are trying to have the information.
I am in a very similar position am finding dropping to part time VERY hard as am feeling very isolated from my department when previously I felt like a key member - now just feel sidelined. I also used to have no issues with behaviour management and this year I feel like I have issues in all classes!
Sorry not much help but really do sympathise.
Yup, union time.
I felt horribly stressed just reading that.
I found working part-time really difficult for the reasons you describe. I did .6 but two days a week I think would be even worse.
I don't know what your subject is but when we did shared classes it was easier to teach discrete units. Then you are in control and can plan effectively and the pupils know where they are. Everyone is so busy and it is impossible to liaise effectively about a class between lessons. I would find the shared documents thing a pain and it would probably be last on my to do list on a busy day so I can see how that doesnt work.
Can you do your own topic or theme or skills-based work that you plan yourself, obviously related to the overall scheme of work?
And part-timers do get sidelined in big schools.
I work in a big school, it's massive and I don't get sidelined! The problem with teaching is the lack of time. This will be why no one put anything on the shared drive, it would just be another task to do.
It works best with discrete units, or a meeting every 1/2 term so you know what you are going to be teaching. I think you should take part in these 'stratetegies' as it would highlight the problems of the timetable. I've been teaching 20 years, and whilst I would initially feel a bit miffed if I was asked, Imwould do,it, as there is always so,etching you can learn. I don't think it's a reflection on your teaching abilities at all.
I have gone back to teaching after nearly a year of maternity. I did 15 years full time and now on a 0.6 contract. I feel like a spare part and a supply teacher! I hate it to be honest!
Would love to go back full time and have my own class (I am primary) but it is actually better for my work/life balance and my stress levels to be part time.
Didn't realise that i could love and hate teaching at the same time.
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