Thursday, 13 February 2014

Education - pick and mix?

I'm annoyed. Really annoyed.

One of my students, and their friend (it's awful how students can gang up on you!) have made a massive fuss because they've decided that I've put them on the wrong level for English. They've been going to their tutor who has been encouraging them to make a complaint. Since when did the student know best?

A big problem in education is that young people want to have all the control. They want to decide if they are higher or foundation, or level 1 or level 2. They have this belief in themselves that they will just 'do it on the day' and and pass. It's so frustrating as a teacher that having done a three-year degree, worked hard to increase your subject knowledge each week to teach a particular subject, completed a PGCE, and a number of teenagers believe themselves to be more qualified than yourself.

We seem to be in a culture of complaining. Don't like your teacher? Make a complaint. Didn't understand the work? Make a complaint. Stubbed your toe? Make a complaint. There are billions of people on this planet. With all of them standing up for their individual rights, it feels that a big part of many jobs is just to receive complaints, and respond to them. Gone of the days of grinning and bearing it, or even accepting someone knows better than you do.

I believe there are times when you should stand up for your rights, but there are also times that you need to accept the opinion of someone else, particularly if they are trained. I'm never 'out-to-get' a student. I will always put in the extra time to help someone who genuinelly wants to achieve, but I also get judged on my results and have to make decisions based on who has a good chance of passing. The thing that makes this more difficult is the extra 'help' students get at GCSE - meaning someone coming to college with a D often hasn't deserved that grade, but has achieved it with a lot of input from former teachers. With the students knowing full-well teachers are cheating, what respect will they hold for us? I have a number of students coming in expecting to simply re-sit one module of GCSE to achieve a better grade. We could all endlessly re-sit something and eventually get the grade, but when it's the skills that are lacking, isn't it that we should be focussing on.

Situations like this make me feel very put-on-spot and criticised and for no good reason. I have the training, I have the experience, surely it should be me making the decision? Is that too much to ask?


Tall Slim Sally said...

My Mum and Dad used to complain about exactly the same thing. Pupils and parents were always looking for somebody to blame when the real problem was the lack of talent and/or work done by the young person.

It is the same at uni. There are people on my course who hardly do any work and who then act all surprised and aggrieved when they get low marks or when other people don't want to do team projects with them.

Lucinda Harrington said...

It's so frustrating - parents and other teachers take their side and you feel ganged up on. No wonder so many graduates leave tecahing in the first few years!