Pointing Out The ObviousJuly 22, 2008
I often find myself defending what I write here, often from people who just don’t get it. It is particularly noticeable when I am told that what I see as the almost universal experience in tough schools is just a fluke, something that I must have stumbled upon that is actually very rare. Often it will be claimed that their own experience as part-time SENCO in a very challenging private Church Of England primary school in the home counties proves me wrong.
So, for the benefit of those who have never set foot in a tough secondary school classroom (or those who have but didn’t notice what was going on because they were a member of SMT), here is my list of ten things that you can’t have missed after a single term of teaching in a tough school, yet some people will still swear aren’t true:
- Kids don’t behave just because your lesson is interesting or well-planned, or because you are nice to them.
- Top sets, particularly in Key Stage 4, often behave badly.
- Punishment does work on 99% of kids. If you look closely at the kids who supposedly don’t respond to being punished, it almost always turns out they haven’t actually been punished very much.
- IEPs and other SEN information tell you nothing useful at all.
- When SMT say “come and see me if you have a problem with that” about something they’ve told you to do, they don’t mean it.
- Discipline has got worse since you were at school. By a factor of about 3000%.
- The kids don’t know things that they are meant to know.
- It is a lot easier to teach a class that has been set than a mixed ability one.
- The paperwork cannot possibly be done. No task is worth doing until somebody reminds you to do it.
- Some very stupid people are teachers.
Please feel free to suggest additions to the list.