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Ask a teacher

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Truronian, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    Downtown opened an Ask a Teacher thread a few years ago, and now I've officially completed a few years in the profession I thought I'd open another to see if anyone had any burning questions.

    I'm a secondary school teacher specializing in mathematics. I will also be teaching science starting in a couple months and have dabbled in a few other subjects such as citizenship, IT and history. Most of my teaching is with students preparing to take their GCSEs (13-16), though I also teach A-level (16-18) and KS3 (11-13) and have done some work with KS2 (9-11) pupils on transition and taster days.

    The academy I work at is very small (roughly 500 pupils). Age range is 3-18 with a few mature students; not a typical British school by any means. I have also taught in some slightly more usual school set-ups of various sizes.

    So... any questions?
     
  2. civver_764

    civver_764 Deity

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    Do you generally feel like your students take you seriously?
     
  3. Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde Both Fair And Balanced

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    Taster days?

    Is it usual for schools in Britain to have nursery school aged children? (3-4) That is usually done in specialized private schools in the US where children only in that age range attend.
     
  4. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    When the extrinsic motivation of getting good marks fails, what do you find is the best way to get kids to do their work?

    Do you feel your work is more impeded by trouble students, or difficult colleagues?

    Are you a scary teacher?
     
  5. caketastydelish

    caketastydelish By any means necessary

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    Do they allow you to use the paddle to whip those boys into shape?
     
  6. SS-18 ICBM

    SS-18 ICBM Oscillator

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    What percentage of students are genuinely curious about the subject matter and do want to learn it?
     
  7. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    Is it true that half of all students are below average?
     
  8. Archbob

    Archbob Ancient CFC Guardian

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    Are some kids just plain hopeless?
     
  9. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    For the most part, yes. The only class I had last year that didn't were a split group that I had for 50 minutes every fortnight. Another teacher had them for most of the fortnight and the small amount of time that I saw them for wasn't enough to build up a rapport or to exert my authority. Consequently the lessons I had with them were always an absolute nightmare.

    Days for primary students to come into the school, have a few lessons and look around. The parents usually come for a little while as well; the purpose is to encourage the parents to chose your school above other local schools when they make their choice of secondary.

    It's not typical, but some schools do. Our school technically doesn't, but in practice there is an independent nursery in the middle of our site so it feels as though there part of the school.

    Having the kids like you tends to work well along side a healthy dose of positive nagging. I've not seen the promise of good marks fail in many kids; at the age range I teach they tend to be pretty switched on to the necessity of getting good grades and a good result at GCSE. I's something our school does quite well; the middle manager in charge of data and ensuring the kids know how they're doing is pretty switched on.

    My colleagues aren't particularly difficult and once you get to know the quirks of troubled students you can usually tailor lessons so they don't fly of the handle. the main issues I have teaching a compulsory subject is pupils switching off in long lessons and having to put up with and abide by a huge swath of government directives, directives which tend to be interpreted differently by every school.

    I made a few kids cry (:evil:) but I'm not nearly as scary as some teachers are. I tend to get by more by having the kids like me than having them fear me.

    No, we have to use a whip to paddle them nowadays.

    In maths? Very few. I'd say maybe ten to twenty percent... most of the good stuff in maths come in the A-level which is only accessible to the upper third of pupils. More kids want to learn it than are interested in it, I'd say that more likely sixty to seventy percent in our school.

    Are we talking mean, median or mode?

    There are some very weak kids around, but I wouldn't call them hopeless.
     
  10. west india man

    west india man Immortal

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    All three.
     
  11. Quackers

    Quackers The Frog

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    Best and worst experiance in the classroom? Yes, it's meant to be a broad question. Anything that can happen within those four walls..
    How many children are on free school dinners at your school?
     
  12. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    In that case yes for median, no for the other two.

    Best is probably a lesson activity I taught using QR codes. I set up a treasure trail of questions an answers with all the question encoded in QR codes. The pupils then zapped the codes with their iPads/smartphones and answered the question that subsequently appeared. The kids loved it, as did the deputy head who walked in during the lesson. It ended up in the local paper.

    Worst was probably the final lesson of term with aforementioned once every fortnight group. They were doing a calculated colouring (colour by numbers, but with maths involved) when a group of boys decided it would be funny to throw pencils at each other full blast. I have never shouted so hard before in my life: most of the teachers in building heard. Then I ended up shouting at them again at the end of the lesson when they tried to leave before I'd said my piece; this time I managed to summon the headmaster with my vocal skills. I'm glad I'm not teaching them next year.

    Not sure. More (proportionally) than other school... I'd estimate about 30-40.
     
  13. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

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    Do you guys assign an ipad to every student or something? That's got to be pretty expensive.
     
  14. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    No, but there's an interest free payment plan offered if pupil's buy an iPad through the academy. Teacher all get iPads for checking emails and lesson planning, though I expect I will have to give it back if I ever leave.
     
  15. Terxpahseyton

    Terxpahseyton How much Parmesan to put on your umbrella?

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    Are there any hot chicks in your classes?
     
  16. Catharsis

    Catharsis catch u on the flip scythe

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    How much of an emphasis do you place on mental arithmetic, and how do you go about teaching it to kids?

    Also, since I don't recall ever hearing a teacher's POV on this: are the tests too easy nowadays?
     
  17. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    No, just hormonal teenagers.

    It's certainly important. I do a lot more direct teaching of it with the weaker and younger kids because the older and cleverer kids will passively learn it through other topics. As for the hows... I tend to go with a little bit of it regularly. I often start lessons with weaker classes with arithmetic questions and cover work or end of terms lessons tend to centre around mental arithmetic games.

    No, not really. They're a lot clearer and focused on understanding rather than skills, which is why I think grades have gone up. Teaching has also experienced many jumps forward recently, particularly with regards to tecahing resources. To me the idea of maths standards slipping in recent years is laughable: one of the major reasons kids find the topic so difficult is because their parents are hopeless at it and the country suffers from a bizarre pride when it comes to mathematical inability. I frequently meet people who on hearing I'm a maths teacher will respond by saying 'I'm terrible at maths'; it's immensely disheartening. How many people will proudly tell you that they're illiterate or monolingual?
     
  18. Flying Pig

    Flying Pig Utrinque Paratus

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    How is academy status working for you guys?
     
  19. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Do you like children?

    I have often considered secondary school teaching but many children seem to me simply horrid.
     
  20. Ironsided

    Ironsided Flower of happiness

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    Why isn't 1 a prime number? It sounds, tastes and feels extremely prime to me.
     

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