‘When apathetic and feckless students mess up their GCSEs, we teachers are accused of being lazy or ineffective.

The TES reports that despite doing everything in her power to help her students achieve, this teacher still feels unfairly blamed when students’ progress data is not strong enough.

Ding. Email. It’s the deputy head. “Your data’s gone down. Fill in this spreadsheet to explain yourself.” I fill in the spreadsheet.

One of the students in this class truants lessons. I phoned home but it had no measurable impact. I invited him to attend numerous interventions, including one-to-one support in my so-called “free” periods. How is tutoring lazy kids the same as being “free”? I digress.

The data problem is exacerbated by a small set of slightly lazy, feckless and apathetic students in and amongst some real star performers who always get overlooked. Nobody ever seems to ask me about what I did to get one student from a target C to an A*, or how another is making five levels of progress. They’re not looking for success stories or morale boosters; they only want their spreadsheets to turn green. Their whole job is, apparently, staring at spreadsheets and just hoping – from the turrets of their ivory towers – that they will turn green.

“But your data’s gone down. You’re not being aspirational enough with your predictions.”

My predictions are expected to be accurate and I’m measured against their accuracy in September. I was asked in March to inflate them to please Ofsted. But now that Ofsted have been and gone, I have brought them back down to a realistic level, like I promised I would. Even with the best will in the world, grades don’t go up just because you want them to. Even if you squeeze your eyes shut and cross your fingers and clench your buttocks really tight, they still won’t go up.

I am going to lead a focus group on improving our learning culture and examining methods of building work ethic, motivation, resilience and responsibility in our learners. 

I’m not trying to prove my SLT credentials or looking for a promotion. I’m doing it because I’m highly dedicated and this is crucial to our school’s future, as well as our learners’ ability to negotiate 21st century life outside the classroom.

“That’s great. But your data’s still gone down.”

Read more ‘When apathetic and feckless students mess up their GCSEs, we teachers are accused of being lazy or ineffective.

Do you find yourself in this position? Do some students just not want to learn? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin

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