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Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Truronian, Oct 7, 2014.

  1. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    Near Cornwall
    I did one of these a few years ago, and I thought it might be interesting to fire it up again.

    Relevant details.

    - I teach mainly secondary school children (11 - 16) though I have taught primary and sixth form in the past.
    - I teach mainly maths but I've taught other subjects (mainly science) from time to time.
    - I teach in the UK, and I only know what I've read about education elsewhere.
    - I work in a 4-19 age range school.

    Any other teachers feel free to chime in.
     
  2. dusters

    dusters Fairy

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    Another teacher/coach here:

    - I taught Bridge to secondary school children 13- 19 for five years
    - I have given/i give private lessons in Latvian, English, Russian, math, physics, chemistry since i have higher education in these fields
    - I have graduated chess school and therefore i can teach chess at basic level or more
    - I teach only in Latvia, and i know little about education in other countries, despite i have read the methods
     
  3. Cheetah

    Cheetah Deity

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    the relative oasis of CFC
    From my own experience as a kid and a student, middle/secondary school teachers must have it the worst. The kids are too old to automatically respect adult authority (though it may be argued that disappears even earlier), and too young to give a damn about their own education.

    The latter is perhaps made even worse by the new teaching reforms - in Norway at least, I assume something similar has taken place in UK - which put a great deal of the responsibility to learn on the individual student.

    I always imagined that if I were ever to change occupation and become a teacher, I would never want to teach middle/secondary school students.

    Is there some truth in my observations, or are there no greater difficulties in secondary school than at other levels?
     
  4. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    Each age group has its challenges. I work in a school with secondary (11-18) and primary (4-11) teachers, and each group generally considers the other group mad.

    Respect for authority tends to erode a little from around 12-14. Before that age students are mainly reverent, after that age cheekiness and boundary pushing tends to begin, but the maturity is not yet developed. The 15 and 16 years are generally fine, as they are focused on succeeding in their GCSEs (taken aged 16 at the end of Y11). There are of course exceptions to the above.

    Primary teaching has its own set of challenges as well. While the students are generally more well mannered towards staff and keen to learn, they are also a lot more needy and prone to bickering (a personal peeve of mine). You also have the same group of children all day, the variety of ages and abilities in secondary teaching is not something I would want to give up.

    With regards to teaching reforms, there has not been any great shift towards individual being responsible for their own learning in the UK, though I understand that this was very big in the 80s. The government's recent agenda has been focused primarily on subdividing high ability students and introducing systems common in private schools to the state school system.
     
  5. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

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    Do you wish you could administer corporal punishment?
     
  6. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    No. I consider it immoral and I don't believe it would be effective with the students that would likely end up on the receiving end of it. Even shouting or being short with some students tends to cause more harm than good unless followed up with a polite conversation, corporal punishment would just worsen the "teachers are the enemy" mentality that is ingrained in a minority of students.
     
  7. Zkribbler

    Zkribbler Deity

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    Philippines
    No questions here [at the moment], but I do want to thank you guys. Teachers are some of my favorite people. :hatsoff:

    My sister is married to a university history professor. During lulls in the conversation, he springs oral pop quizzes on me. It's unorthodox, sure, but we've had some interesting discussions.
     
  8. peter grimes

    peter grimes ...

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    I was a substitute teacher for 6 weeks when I was in my early 20's. I was very comfortable with the subject matter (it was my major in college), but I hadn't had any training on, well, teaching. I found it to be a terrifying responsibility, as these kids (age 13-18) were relying on me to help them learn. And I didn't know how to teach.

    Some of the more mundane issues I faced:
    -How to structure a letter grade for the first marking period (roughly the first 2 months of class)
    -How to write quizzes and tests
    -How to fairly evaluate the progress a student has made (from my own experience I knew that testing well doesn't indicate a mastery of the material)
    -How to deal with unruly and disruptive behavior
    -What to do when a 16 year old girl winks at you as she walks out of class to go chat with a friend in the hallway.

    I was way out of my element, but I found the entire experience immensely rewarding. A couple of students stayed in touch with me after their "real" teacher returned. I now think of teaching as something I can easily see myself doing after I get sick and tired of my current profession.

    Any experiences like this?
     
  9. shadowplay

    shadowplay (boss music)

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    Location:
    Toronto
    In about grades 5-7, we would sometimes have a substitute teacher that would teach lessons about aliens and UFOs and Roswell and project blue book, and sometimes things like astral projection and ghosts. It was awesome.
     
  10. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy The trees are actually quite lovely.

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    Man, subbing was a trip. I did study hall-like tutoring 3 full time days a week for an alternative highschool for about 6 months. Way more intense than I figured it would be. I was crushed when one of the students I dealt with regularly was killed in an accident a couple months after I left. I have no idea how people would keep up the emotional investment and energy year after year after year.
     
  11. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    It certainly is a rewarding career, and not a job to do if you don't enjoy it as it tends to take over your life in term time.

    -How to structure a letter grade for the first marking period (roughly the first 2 months of class)
    The grading bit I find fairly easy, as maths in the UK has a comprehensive topics based levelling system. Each skill has a grade, and you need to be able to do most of the content within a specific grade to be considered working at that grade. For example, some C grade GCSE skills include:

    - Using Pythagoras' Theorem
    - Solving linear equations involving brackets
    - Multiplying fractions
    - Being able to calculate estimates for the mean from grouped data in a table

    If you can do those, the other C grade skills and all of the G-D grade skills you are a solid grade C student.

    I find this much harder to do in Physics (the other subject I teach currently) as it's not my speciality and the grade descriptors are a lot vaguer.

    -How to write quizzes and tests
    Most teachers here use a combination of resources they developed and resources they borrowed from other teachers. I'm lucky to be teaching in an age with the internet, as there are a huge wealth of resources on sites like www.tes.co.uk and apps like exampro allow teachers to easily compile past exam questions into topic specific papers.

    -How to fairly evaluate the progress a student has made (from my own experience I knew that testing well doesn't indicate a mastery of the material)
    Very true. There is a huge test culture in the UK that all teachers end up working towards in some way. In my opinion its the KS2 SATS at age 11 and the GCSEs at age 16 that are big contributor to students losing interest in learning. The government and thus the schools in the UK measure progress via tests so that also ends up being the bottom line for teachers, even though formative assessment favours certain students over others.

    -How to deal with unruly and disruptive behavior
    There have been entire books written on this one. I'm OK at this, there are teachers that deal with it much better than me, but also some that deal with it much worse.

    This one is hard to comment on, as it is so dependant on the country and type of school. The kinds of behaviour I deal with daily would seem frightful for someone used to an East Asian school, while they would seem tame for someone used to a Inner City London school located in a deprived area.

    -What to do when a 16 year old girl winks at you as she walks out of class to go chat with a friend in the hallway.
    Thankfully I've not had this happen. Being a balding and somewhat pudgy man does have its advantages. Were it to happen it's a fairly simple procedure to report it the child protection officer that every school in the UK has. This is also a good reason to be unionised (if that's an option): the big unions here will provide legal assistance should a claim be made against you by a student.
     
  12. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    1.) How many hours a week do you put in for work, whether it's you actually being there teaching students, or at home preparing materials, or grading stuff, or whatever..?

    2.) I think that I suck teaching people new things. What do you think makes a good teacher?

    3.) When teaching math, do you allow students to solve some of the problems using various means and maybe ways you were not expecting? Would they get full marks, or are you forced to stick to some sort of a static testing regiment that requires you to get them to use certain formulas for certain types of questions? Or does it depend on the situation and what you are trying to teach?
     
  13. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    I taught music, but in a private lesson setup, not in a school. I did spend a year in the B.Ed. program at Red Deer College, and did my practicum in a split class of Grades 3-4. It was an interesting experience, and it made my day a couple of years later (after I'd changed my major to anthropology) when a friend and I were walking by the school where I'd taught and one of the kids recognized me: "You were a student teacher in my class two years ago!" he exclaimed with a smile on his face. And it pleased him that I remembered his name.

    That was 30 years ago. I still remember that kid's name.
     
  14. Truronian

    Truronian Quite unfamiliar Retired Moderator

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    Between 50 and 55 hours a week in the term time. Roughly 24 hours of that is spent in the classroom. The other time is taken up mainly by marking, preparing resources, planning, interventions, clubs and meetings.

    National average is 55 hours for secondary teachers and 60 hours for primary teachers.

    Well, there are actually criteria we are expected to hit in the UK to be considered just that:

    https://www.ncetm.org.uk/public/files/725865/Ofsted+key+indicators.pdf

    I think those are little out of date and I'm not fully in agreement with some of them. One thing I think is very important is how you help people who are stuck: that generally clever questions to hone in on the specific thing they do not get.

    Generally any valid and full method is accepted. In GCSE papers there are occasional questions which require the use of a specific method (eg completing the square for a quadratic) but the question will be explicit in this expectation. One of the big pushes from the conservatives at the moment is a return to the more prescribed teaching of methods. It is a source of frustration for some primary teachers that they are still expected to teach specifically column method for multiplication when there are other superior methods available.
     
  15. Tolina

    Tolina trust the pillars with your s e c r e t s

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    Is there a difference between an "educator" and a "teacher"? Is it two different words for the same thing?
     
  16. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I'm not sayin' it, I'm just sayin'. :sheep:
     
  17. Borachio

    Borachio Way past lunacy

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    Both my parents were school teachers, my brother was a school teacher, one of my sisters was a school teacher, and her husband was a college lecturer. My ex-wife was a school teacher, and her mother was a school teacher while her father was a college lecturer. Oh, and I have a nephew who's a college lecturer while his wife was a school teacher. And my brother's ex-wife is a school teacher, and one of his daughter's a school teacher engaged to another school teacher.

    Let me tell you... teachers are mentalists, imo.

    My grandmother claimed she would have been a teacher, too, but that she had naturally curly hair. (I later learned this was a complete lie when I saw a hairdresser giving her a perm.)
     
  18. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Maybe she reads the Peanuts comic strip?
     
  19. Kyriakos

    Kyriakos Alien spiral maker

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    @Truronian:
    How do you deal with the inherent routine structure of presenting a set course for a considerable duration of time? (after 15 presentations in my own program, with its step/progression structure as well, it still is becoming an annoying issue for me..) :)
     
  20. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

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    I've seen this in a few job-ads on Monster.com on this title, mainly related to educational positions. What is a paraprofessional?
     

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