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"Why should I revise? It's not fun."(78 Posts)
Dear God, I am at the end of my tether.
My best KS4 class, with 2 weeks to go before their GCSE exam. I can say with utter confidence that I have spent the last academic year wasting not a minute of lesson time, teaching them their exam curriculum, providing them with excellent resources, being really really proud of their books and content, ensuring that pupils are clear about exam dates, expectations etc. I have been in school at 6:15 every day so far this week, same tomorrow and not leaving until 5:00. Same for the run up to the exam.
Today, when starting my deep-revision sessions, I have pupils who have forgotten their books, didn't engage and when I became impatient and asked them about how much they've revised, I got told that they wouldn't probably bother because it wasn't "fun". They also told me that all teachers in our school haven't nagged them to revise (bollocks), that they didn't know how to revise (more bollocks), and that they couldn't be bothered. When I asked them how exactly they thought the work would be learnt without revision, they tried to blame teachers in general for not putting enough emphasis on the importance of revision. I asked them why they thought we set tests (because I really love marking extra pieces of work when I'm already buckling under the pressure of 380 books) and.... wait for it... I was told that "tests are more a thing for you teachers, because then you know what you haven't done". I asked them about personal responsibility, and they just shrugged. Not every pupil, but a vast majority.
I feel like a broken woman to be honest. I'm sleep-deprived and surviving on coffee to get me through the day. I am chasing KS4 pupils who do not give a shit and I can honestly say that I've delivered good lessons. Totally disillusioned and dreading results. They're my best class FFS and their attitude is frightening.
Sorry - I have to offload before I just cry.
Same here. This is the first year I haven't had students begging for extra lunchtime and before school sessions. In fact, no one turns up when we offer them! My department are willing to give up all of their spare time, but the students don't show.
Why are they like this?
I'm only 43 and I wasn't a total high-flyer. I had to really slog. I'm really concerned for my DD's, growing up surrounded by this mentality.
You are not alone.
I am not a teacher but have friends who are. They ran extra revision sessions during the Easter holidays and found the same attitude from their students.
"No, it's not, but neither is resitting, or not getting into college, or unemployment..."
I hate this time of year. I always feel like I'm working harder than they are and that feels wrong.
Nor is getting a job as a toilet cleaner.
In defence of Year 11s my DD is working loads! Much more than I ever did for my exams.
Wow, these kids are horrifying!
Could you send a blanket letter home (with some of those examples) to describe the issues and concerns the school is having? Or would that be problematic and create reputational risk for the school?
I'm considering sending everyone in Middle management and the Senior Leadership team an email. I feel incredibly flat. Sending letters to parents will open up a huge can of worms.
TBH, this time of year just emphasises what I (we) already put up with. I hate the phrase "It wasn't like this when I was young" but it truly wasn't. A few rogues were unteachable, yes, but the whole ethos was different. I teach in a city school whether that makes any difference. Our teachers here on the whole are dedicated and hard-working. If I could understand why they're like this, then it would help.
I'm so disillusioned.
Where the hell are we going all wrong??
Something isn't right.
Performance related pay and Ofsted - it means results matter more to us than to a sixteen year old who has had everything provided for them by parents and can't imagine that they will have to be out in the big wide world, where qualifications might make a difference.
Sorry I'm just a parent but my observation is that students just don't see the point really. A) they are young and optimistic so assume they will pass b) people no longer believe that an education will help your career much c) revision is boring d) they know it's your responsibility to get them the best grades possible so they do t worry so much about it e)burnout. By key stage 4 you have had many years of important tests from the school and all you have in the future is more exams it's easy to lose motivation.
Thank you so much for doing such a difficult job I hope this message hasn't made you feel worse. I'm just trying to say teenagers are often naughty and don't give a shit, it's no reflection on you and please try not to let it wear you down I know it's easier said than done xxx
I feel your pain. DD is in year 12, and needs a lot of encouragement to revise. She is fine with after school sessions and gets a lot out of them. At home she is just so exhausted that she struggles to find the motivation to revise. I am struggling to get her to revise without constantly messaging her boyfriend/watching TV/watching YouTube.
I can't switch the router off during the day as OH works from home, and at nearly 17 DD should be self regulating, but unfortunately she isn't or won't. If there was an A level in procrastinating she would get an A*. No amount of reminding her that she would get more done if she didn't multitask will get her to just switch everything off and do one thing at a time.
I hate this time of year as well, and I am so glad I don't have to go through this multiple times as we only have one child. I don't know how families with lots of children cope.
I was a lazy cow at school. There were a lot of badly behaved children in my classes and none of us revised for our exams. I think you might have been fortunate in your choice of school.
I hope you're not going to carry on working the way you are for them? To be honest, unless you are absolutely loving it, I think your working hours are ridiculous. Why are you doing so much? You aren't being paid for that. Stop martyring yourself. Nobody appreciates it.
If I were you I'd find a school with an ethos more deserving of my time.
Sometimes they learn a lot more from failure than they do from success.
My eldest is year 11. He has been revising for at least 2 hours a night since September. I sit with him for an hour every night talking about Macbeth/Nazi Germany/recurring decimals/PEE/figurative language/logic gates.
I am an engaged parent. He is an engaged student. But if anyone asks us about the exams we both answer with 'fuck it, they're only exams'.
He is under so much pressure and he is coping with that by acting cool and acting like it's no big deal. He didn't go to any of the revision sessions at Easter because he was doing 4 hours a day at home. His teachers are pushing and pushing and I get it, but it's A LOT!
I'm sure there are kids with bad attitudes and that must be so hard for teachers but there are lots like my son too. I hear them all on the Playstation saying, 'fuck Mr D's lesson', 'as if I'm doing that homework' etc but then they all do it! They do care.
I think the truth is most of them are terrified of failing so it's just easier to say they don't care. I don't blame them. I can't wait for it all to be over, for the summer at least.
We have another 4dc.
OP I wonder if you teach my DS? If so you have my upmost sympathy. Some of the teachers at his school are bending over backwards to help him, but he's doing bugger all revision. I've given up arguing with him, you teachers deserve a medal for putting up with these teens all day.
I am surviving by a sort of mental see-saw approach to my KS4 and KS5 lot.
I'm sure there is some scientific name or principle for it (which I don't know) but basically I put the same kind of fucking effort in as the kid - which means I will bend over backwards and give up lunchtimes and stay after school to offer revision sessions for any pupils who come ask me. I'll mark any past papers they care to do, any essays they email me. I'll happily offer any help they want.
As for the ones that are doing nothing/not handing in work/failing to do essays I have shrugged my shoulders and mentally thought, 'fuck it - go ahead and fail then. You can lead a horse to water...'
I'm refusing to stress over them. (I'm talking to you Y12 in particular - you CHOSE my fucking subject and are pissing me off)
"He has been revising for at least 2 hours a night since September"
Wow. I don't know of anyone's child who is that dedicated. I fully support DD, but in year 12 she gets so much homework that it is physically impossible for her to do 2 hours of revision every night. She would burn out.
Mine doesn't get much homework, so it probably evens out.
He's not even expected to get a bunch of fantastic grades, so I'm not boasting, honestly. He's predicted a couple of A's, a couple of B's then C's and an E (French). He does an hour of maths every night just trying to get from a grade 5 to a 6.
He does have a great attitude though and he is determined to do his very best.
I feel your pain, not a teacher but ds1 is doing nat 5's. perfectly capable but bone idle. He has failed every maths prelim, refused to work with a tutor so I'm not wasting £100 a month and her time with that.
I have got papers from school and am making him do one every day which I mark and go over his mistakes with him.
It's just sheer laziness and because he already has his college place so doesn't see the point but he WILL pass 😡
It's infuriating OP. I invigilate and assist with reading/scribing in my daughter's secondary school and some of the kids I work with are stunningly stubborn about refusing to engage. During their mocks last year, one student refused to do anything other than write their name at the top of the paper, doodling all over the answer sheets. When I asked what the issue was, they replied that these ones didn't count, they were unlikely to do well in the real thing so why was it worth bothering with and they just couldn't be arsed. I've never heard anything like it.
I'm beyond grateful for my dd , who in yr9, is actually quite diligent and focused on trying her best.
My Dad is 78 and was a KS3,4 and 5 teacher all his life. As fit as he is, he admits that he'd probably have a stroke if he sat in my classes. I off-load a lot to my Dad ever since he bollocked me some years back for not juggling my workload properly. "Set them the work, then sit at your desk and do your marking". My face said it all.
Honestly, I'm no pushover. I set really high behaviour standards and the kids mostly adhere to it. If a pupil has a problem (not work related) I am one of those go-to teachers who will listen. But I have to keep on and on with the discipline so I am constantly on my feet. There are regular fights in other classes, pupils leaping over desks to run out 5 minutes early without permission, not to mention the feet on chairs, rocking on chairs, calling out across the class or to pupils across the corridor.
And don't get me started on the new craze of spinning fidget toys
Clearly my large vino to relax me hasn't worked at all.
CarrieBlue's right. While teachers take responsibility for the pupils getting good grades the pupils can't. Same with parents taking responsibility.
The pupil can only take responsibility if no-one else is.
This is what was different 'in our day'. The teachers taught. But they didn't care what grade you got. Which meant you HAD to care.
Plus these kids have 10 teachers. All stressing and nagging them to study. And they can't possibly do as much revision as all 10 teachers want. So they shut off to protect themselves.
You are definitely not alone. I spent two days in Easter doing revision days - it was clear that about half the students thought that being there was enough because they were not going to do any of the activities I planned (which took me days to plan).
They're constantly asking me to give them revision notes and when I suggest that they make them themselves from their class work as part of their revision they are totally bemused by the concept.
As a department we've realised that we've spoon fed our students so much (because we 'can't let them fail'), that they've never had to take responsibility for their own actions. Next year we are going to back off to try to teach them some self direction skills.
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