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How much of the work are you expecting to be done?

(35 Posts)
SunnyStroll Tue 28-Apr-20 20:14:45

I work in a PRU, we are taking the view that if we can get students to engage enough so that we have fairly regular contact and know they are safe, we are doing OK. Regular work is being sent for those who are taking it seriously/want something to do but we're not expecting most of them to do it. We're transitioning to setting less work and more suggestions of things to do to help with wellbeing/general interest.

My own DC both left school last year and I am thankful for that everyday!

Among my friends who have children still at school, this seems to be the week that has broken them. The schools are putting on lots of pressure, the kids aren't engaged and the families are under increasing stress. Tears and tantrums from both parents and kids.

Are schools "getting" how much pressure they're putting on families? Do they care or do they see this as an opportunity to show parents how hard their job is (surely not?) Will children really be disadvantaged when they go back if they don't do it? Is the volume of work, at least in part, because teachers are keen to show their own bosses how hard they are working? (that was definitely the case initially for us). Are teachers thinking about the fact that parents are getting similar amounts of work from other teachers in secondaries?

I've been giving friends the same advice were giving our parents. Do what you can, be kind to each other, stay safe, we'll sort it out when we get back, if you can get them to read something/anything great but this doesn't seem to be in line with what they're getting from their own DCs' schools.

OP’s posts: |
RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Tue 28-Apr-20 20:21:20

Teacher are stuck between rock and a hard place though, because for as many parents saying the school is setting too much, there will be as many saying it isn't setting anywhere near enough.

MossWalk Tue 28-Apr-20 20:22:48

I genuinely don't know myself. I veer between thinking 'stuff it, keep them happy and healthy' and then looking at what I am sending home and thinking the vast majority of families could easily complete it in fifteen minutes.

WhiteWriting Tue 28-Apr-20 23:09:11

In our case its not decided by classroom teachers. SLT and HODs are prescribing what and how much is set. Everyone crediting teachers with more autonomy than is the reality.

SliAnCroix Tue 28-Apr-20 23:13:07

I'm at work all day every day. Haven't a clue what my DC are doing or not doing. Who are all these parents who know what's going on!

Sofabitch Tue 28-Apr-20 23:29:26

We have to set as much work as lesson time, and the school (SLT) are expecting it to be done.

We have to report RAG on each students engagement once per week, We have to have attempted to make contact with any read and SLT are contacting any students that have red in more than 1 subject.

My top sets i'm expecting the work to be done. A significant number of them are excelling, getting at least expected, but frequently higher than expected. They are thriving at home.

The rest...who knows. Technically we have covered 3 whole topics for some year groups. Engagement is low and the evidence i'm getting is sketchy and hard to mark/review/give any constructive feedback on.

We will only be able to pick up if they streamline what is on the exams. There isn't enough time to cover the content as it is.

pfrench Wed 29-Apr-20 00:04:29

I've lowered my expectations! Activities now, not teaching/learning.

SamSeabornforPresident Wed 29-Apr-20 04:27:31

I think for the least engaged if they can do a little reading, at least that's something. We set work every week, twice a week (english teacher) but pupil engagement varies massively. The attainment gap between those with involved parents and those without is going to be far more significant after this, which is extremely worrying. I'd imagine the longer it goes on, the less engagement there will be.

PerkyPomPoms Wed 29-Apr-20 05:19:20

Hard to say. I am setting the work and going through learning tasks. Some days the work is harder, some easier. All is finished by midday. However my son has spent from 9 to 3:20 writing a recount, learning about area and finding it for triangles, reading l, coding and doing a review...

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 07:04:32

Are you getting much feedback from the parents of the struggling families, would SLT care that the pressure parents are feeling is pushing parents to breaking point?

Honestly, I've been contacted by 7 friends who have children at different schools in the last couple of days, at the end of their tether with trying to keep their older children doing school work, entertain little ones and do their own jobs. Part of it is the pressure they're putting on themselves not ro "fail" their children but 2 of them I'm really very worried about. What are schools doing for thse families?

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Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 07:52:58

Are schools "getting" how much pressure they're putting on families? Do they care or do they see this as an opportunity to show parents how hard their job is

Sorry, but considering this is staffroom ,and on a parenting site, this is a bit insulting.

The vast majority of teachers are parents, too! hmm

Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 07:55:12

've been giving friends the same advice were giving our parents. Do what you can, be kind to each other, stay safe, we'll sort it out when we get back, if you can get them to read something/anything great but this doesn't seem to be in line with what they're getting from their own DCs' schools.

If you do work in a PRU, you would have to acknowledge the academic pressures are generally completely different, though, from a mainstream school.

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 07:55:49

Insulting, why? Huge pressure is being put on parents when they have many other strains too? We, as a PRU have absolutely recognised that and changed what we're trying to deliver. My friends' DCs' schools dont seem to have. I'm just wondering what I can suggest to help. Teachers who are parents do have the advantage of knowing how to do it and what is really necessary.

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SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 07:57:17

Yes Piggy, that's why I'm asking.

There's no benefit to the schools if they get a load of broken children and families back after all this.

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Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:04:19

Oh, honestly, teachers of ,say ,secondary English do not have a magic wand to know how to 'do' year 6 maths, or year 8 German or Year 9 science.

The people I know who are under the most pressure are the teachers struggling to keep on top of setting lessons (sometimes live lessons, no thanks to pressure from the expectations of vocal parents and , often in fee paying schools and unhelpful comments from the Sutton Trust) and marking and attending meetings and writing schemes whilst supervising the entirely separate work of small children. Most primary teachers are female and I am sure you have heard of the Triple Shift.

Empathy would be good.

FWIW , I expect all my students (mainstream secondary) to dot he pretty accessible and not particularly time consuming ) work I set. if they don't do it twice I email them ,and then , after awhile, their parents. My school is full of 'why didn't you tell us this before' type parents, so I dodn't see whay I wouldn't let them know their DCs were not completing work.

You are right that we are in bubbles and don't know how much other colleagues are setting them. I have had a couple of emails from parent shaving slight meltdowns about their DCs' coping mechanisms and totally understand this - if contacted, the huge majority of teachers would work around this. But the issue of not accounting for what other subjects and teachers might set is just as much (if not more) an issue when schools are in session as normal.

Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:06:48

Have your 7 friends contacted their schools? because there really isn't much individual schools can do if they don't know about it.

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 08:09:05

I mean they know how to engage children in school work, that all. It's not the work itself that's presenting problems , it's getting the kids to do it and the worry of "letting" children fall behind. Teachers will understand the implications (or not) of that too.

You're right, some empathy would be good grin

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Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:13:05

Just look on MN. Parents expect teachers to do their jobs. If we did not contact those not doing the work, we would be accused of 'being on holiday'.

I would have absolutely no clue how to engage a 10 year old in maths work. You are basically saying that only teachers know how to help DCs with school work. that's a bit insulting to lots of parents who are doing brilliant jobs (better than some teacher parents no doubt!)

Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:13:57

have your friends contacted their schools OP?

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 08:15:38

I dont know why you've taken this to be having a go at teachers. I am a teacher! Everyone is doing an impossible job, schools don't know what's expected of them but destroying the kids and their families isn't going to help anyone. I was just trying to get a feel for what's going on in mainstream schools .

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:20:14

Read your OP again. It sounds entirely like you are saying schools, who have long long histories of working with children and families do not understand what it is to parent and do not understand the stresses of the current situation. That a teacher would peddle the 'teachers are unemotional robots' type of line with no RL experience is actually hurtful.
Have your friends contacted their schools?

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 08:22:12

I have suggested that they do. They are reluctant to do so for fear of being judged for not being able to get their kids to do as they're told.

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:22:56

Also, you have now said we are destroying families! angry

I think you will find that's the coronavirus!

In my mainstream school, we are setting reasonable amounts of work, no videoed lessons and have yesterday been encouraged by a HOY to email students and parents if work is missing'at our discretion'. It actually annoyed me that the HOY wasn't doing this centrally, having more insight into the families and also knowing whether this was across al subjects or unique to one so that could explain overload of school contact to an extent.

SunnyStroll Wed 29-Apr-20 08:26:18

Stop taking it so personally, I'm just trying to support some struggling families .

OP’s posts: |
Piggywaspushed Wed 29-Apr-20 08:29:05

Genuine advice, then : don't use loaded words like destroying. Support your friends in RL. Every school and every teacher is trying hard to support families, but also learning , under extraordinary circumstances. Your friends will find , if they contact teachers, they will help not judge 99.99% of the time, many being parents themselves (and even if they are not).

I'm out.

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