Jump to content
Home
Forum
Join Us
Articles
About Us
Tapestry

Going Round In Circles!


 Share

Recommended Posts

I've had this chat before!! I just need to air it again before I go completely insane. Right, have a new head that started at Easter - he's fantastic. On the ball the lot. He's moving the school forward and he's only been around half a term.

 

Problem - the FS co thinks that we are immune to any changes related to raising standards. She thinks if we ignore it, if we plan to have people coming in to talk to Early Years staff at the same time as the rest of the school are having ISP consultants coming in to talk about targets and planning formats, then we don't have to do them. If we pretend to our school improvement officer that we are doing things, if we tell the new head things that we do (obviously embellishing) then we are doing okay. If we are told as a whole school that we have to change planning formats and how we deliver the curriculum, but if we again aren't around for some of the meetings due to FS related stuff, then we aren't counted. Anyone else seeing my problem here?

 

So having spent two years listening to the same promises that next year or next term will be different, that we will start doing things more like FS and less like Yr 1, it's getting harder and harder to convince myself that things are going to change. So me and the third Rec teacher went to see the new head and had a chat. We outlined that things weren't personal, but that we were there for the children. We explained how when new things were implemented, they often lasted about two weeks before we reverted back to old ways. Planning I could pull out of a cupboard to show him, but LTPs an MTPs aren't USED. I did them over the summer as a paper exercise because I had spent my NQT year having my Mentor tell me that I had to keep pestering the FS co for them. Explained that although he was told we did things a certain way, things were often simply because it was what he wanted to hear. I explained that as much as me and the third Rec teacher try our hardest to do things as we know they should be done, it is very hard for me being in a double classroom with the FS co because I cannot change things without her okay as it not only influences my class, but hers also. The third teacher voiced her concerns that although she is able to do a lot more than me, it is not what she knows she should be doing because there is no clear leadership and often new things are frowned upon.

 

The FS co has refused to retire this time (again) and plans on staying ALL next year. This means, it will be another year before any changes are made. Although she insists on being up for new changes i.e. more child initiated stuff rather than being sat at tables most of the day - the day I am off she goes into the other Rec room and tries getting that teacher to rally against me as my class are unruly, they cannot tidy up anyway and having the children 'free-er' would be a nightmare. She never really looks at her placing all the special needs children in my room, all the behaviour problems in the third room and all the angels and high achievers in her class as the root of problem behaviour in other classes. Anyway that's another issue. My problem is that she isn't up for trying and although she has been saying that we will be working towards things, I don't think things will change.

 

The head thanked us for being honest with him and reassured us that it is his job to come in and actually see what is and what isn't being done. He made us aware that when he says he wants something done, it will be done. I believe him. Me and the third class teacher are meeting up at the end of the week to start planning the autumn term because if not, we will get to the end of the summer term and not have anything - AGAIN! The problem is that when the FS co finds out, she'll be livid. Yet, when we ask her to sit down with us and get on with it, it is always being put off - and I mean always!!!

 

I don't know what else to do. It's hard being in the double room - it is basically a task getting myself to work every day. The head asked me not to look elsewhere for a job - he wants me to stay for at least another two years as he wants me to be a part of the changes that are coming for the school. I was excited about it and the FS co led me to believe that me applying for another job had woke her up to how things do need changing. The problem is she's reverted back and is now being unprofessional in her attitude towards me and the third teacher. She is back biting and bitchy - and I'm worried that this is going to be a really hard thing for me to handle.

 

I'm trying to convince her how the FS currirculum is supposed to be - but she is fighting me. I feel that I have to promote the FS curriculum to an FS co and it is bloody hard work. Any ideas? I've practically used them all up - I've been the fresh faced NQT trying to pull at her wisdom, I've been the eager new teacher who comes up with her own ideas, seeks out the advice of the FS co and silently sat back and watched her take the credit (but not really bothered coz at least they came into effect), I've also been the annoying one who has kept suggesting that things need to be done - and then been upset when things are reverted back to i.e. phonics being in place for two weeks but then getting scrapped because it was too hard work to get everyone to actually do the games that were requested of them! I can't even manage my own staff because the FS co tells them that they don't have to do what I've asked them to do with MY class!!!! The FS co and two nursery nurses were overheard moaning about phonics outside the classroom and then it was announced that we wouldn't be doing it any more - but I wasn't informed and I am the class teacher - yet it wasn't my decision.

 

What else am I to do? Anyone got any magic ideas? Anyone got any really good OFFICIAL looking quotes that tells us how the FS should be delivered so she doesn't just think its me being a bitch? I keep referring her to the FS handbook, lend her books that I think she leaves in her bag for days and then gives back to me, feedback on things I've read on the forum - didly squat comes from that. Am the only one who seems to bother how things are done and whether we are up to date - don't think she'd know anything about the changes if I didn't report them back - but don't think witholding information is the most professional thing I could do . . . or is it???!!!

 

Am at my whits end. I've been asked by my NN to write up an outline of how I would see a typical day because she can't picture it. I repeat myself over and over and still the FS co thinks that when I say I don't want all the children sat at the tables at the same time, she thinks I mean no adult intervention all day. Yr 1 are going to have less tables than reception next year - but when I say I want to get rid of furniture she throws a wabbly. So how good is that? Yr1 less formal than Rec - now doesn't that sound like a well structured FS to everyone????

 

All I want is to be able to use sand and water for literacy and numeracy - instead of having every child sat at their tables. I have one group of eight children sitting on their own coz not enough adults - they do great to say they aren't being adult led - but it's getting harder and harder to keep them focused at the table - I would much rather direct them to continuous provision while I finish with my group - but that is seen to be too disturbing for the other class - it' not fair that one side should be seen as 'playing' while the other class are working hard at their tables. Go figure. Anyone help???????

 

Can anyone give me some idea how they've managed a similar situation? Do you think I should just die inside for another year - let the children not have the best start. Or do you think I should step on toes and do things my way, getting slated in the process, being ignored for days on end and having FS co talk down to me in front of children, parents and other adults in the class - oh what am I saying - wouldn't be any more different to how things are now!!!

 

Help in any shape or form would be much appreciated! Thanks for the moan,

 

D xxx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh Gater sorry I have no advice to offer, I don't work in a school but I have just read your message and felt a need to come up with some sort of response!

 

All I can say is chin up, hope things get better and have a 'virtual hug' from me

 

Sure someone will be along soon who may have some ideas to help :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No words of wisdom, Im afraid Gater. I can understand how frustrated you must feel and symathise with you. Sounds as if, if you can hang on long enough things might get better with your head's support. The double classroom is obviously making things more difficult, what happened about your ideas to integrate? Could you get your head to put you and the third teacher in together?

Good luck and keep moaning, if you need to!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I used to work with a woman like that. All I can say is grit your teeth and hang on in there. My boss left just as I was looking at alternative jobs, what luck was that :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gator,

No useful words of advice from me either I'm afraid. It really looks like it's down to you and the other teacher to push the changes through without the support of the one person who should have the greatest understanding. :o Hope things get better soon. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gater, When was your last ofsted inspection? What did the report say, have any of the recommendations been implemented?

I agree with Susan get the HT to put you and the teacher you can work with together, you can then set up your room as it should be, I'm sure he will find somewhere to store your spare tables as well. I'm not sure if your NN is on your side but if things go well they will come round to your way of thinking.

Unfortunately I don't think you will ever get her to change, let's hope she will retire soon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gater,

Your concerns and frustrations appear to be very valid and I hope just writing them all down and sharing has helped a little ( it certainly did for me a few months ago when I too wrote about how I feel about early years and how it's all going).

 

After my sound off I actually started to see things in a more positive light. By writing my thoughts down it seemed to put everything in perspective.( which I am so grateful to this site for, to be able to be totally honest with my thoughts within the security of anonimity)

I stopped worrying about the big picture and just started to recognise the little positive things that happen during a working day.

This new attitude hasn't resolved the issues of "principle" that I felt, but it has made daily life more manageable.

 

It appears from what you say that your head teacher is taking you seriously and no doubt will initially observe and make his own enquiries, hopefully then with his additional support the changes you strive for will come sooner rather than later.

 

You may have tried this, one way of helping people who are resistant to change is to lead them through discussion, questioning etc toward an idea you have, so that they feel they have come up with the idea and are therefore more likely to "own" it and impliment it. (You may have tried this but it's all I can think of at the moment.)

 

Please don't have any self doubts in what you strive for, keep strong and build your strength through seeing the positives that you are currently bringing to the children each day.

 

Good luck.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi GAter,

My heart goes out to you - it really does. [p] I am finding myself in a similar situation at the moment, only I am new to the school. I have successfully run an Early Years unit for two years and came out of an Ofsted inspection very well in my previous setting, but now find myself very frustrated and uspet by the way things are being done at my new place. The children have NO child initiated activities at all! How can that be a good thing? :o [p]My FS co is also my parallel teacher and she prefers to have the children all sitting at their tables all day, or sitting on the carpet reading books in silence so that she can get through her daily reading. I am finding this really hard on a daily basis and am slowly trying to intriduce things as I have done them previously into my own classroom - with the same snide remarks coming back as I'm sure you're getting. [p]

I think the best we can do is to stick in there - if we care enough to be upset about it, then we are the right kind of people to be working int hese settings. Just don't give up the fight - the children ARE worth it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi GAter,

My heart goes out to you - it really does.

 

I am finding myself in a similar situation at the moment, only I am new to the school. I have successfully run an Early Years unit for two years and came out of an Ofsted inspection very well in my previous setting, but now find myself very frustrated and uspet by the way things are being done at my new place. The children have NO child initiated activities at all! How can that be a good thing? :o

 

My FS co is also my parallel teacher and she prefers to have the children all sitting at their tables all day, or sitting on the carpet reading books in silence so that she can get through her daily reading. I am finding this really hard on a daily basis and am slowly trying to intriduce things as I have done them previously into my own classroom - with the same snide remarks coming back as I'm sure you're getting.

 

I think the best we can do is to stick in there - if we care enough to be upset about it, then we are the right kind of people to be working int hese settings. Just don't give up the fight - the children ARE worth it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, Gater, quite a big problem you have there! I think you did the right thing talking to your Head and you may find that it will reap results sooner than you thought. xD

It's hard to visualize the set up you have, but maybe you could instigate small changes in your part of the classroom meanwhile? e.g. Could you start with small table top trays of sand for the children to write in? or, How about a group phonics game on the floor? After a while you may find you can introduce bigger changes... :o

 

Good luck and keep us posted, we're on YOUR side :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a good article in Nursery World this week highlighting the need for play and movement when children leave the Foundation Stage into Key Stage 1.

 

It is based on a research report commissioned by the DFES.

 

The 1st paragraph starts with;

Young children should spend less time sitting still and listening to their teachers in Year 1 and instead be given more opportunities for active, independent learning and learning through play.

 

It goes on to state some childrens responses when asked "What year 1 will be like";

 

Boy: " No toys".

Girl: " No toys".

Boy: " No building". (construction activities)

Girl: " It is just going to be work, work, work".

Boy " Carpet, carpet, carpet"

Girl: " You have to do work all the time - writing."

 

When asked What they do in year 1;

 

Girl: " We do hard work. We have to count lots and we are trying to do some numbers and have calenders"

Boy: "We do work"

Girl: " Hard work"

 

When asked What they don't like about Year One;

 

Boy 1: Being on the carpet for a long time

Boy 2: Neither do I, because it's very boring

Boy 1: And it wastes our time playing.

Boy 2: It wastes your life.

Boy: I don't like sitting on the carpet all the time.

Girl: Year we sit, sit, sit.

Boy: Yes, and it's boring.

Girl: Year, and we could be playing outside and getting some exercise.

 

The study also quotes a child in a reception class complaining;

"I hate it when we do work. Every time we do work all we have to do is write, and my hand gets tired"

 

I found these transcripts very sad to read :o

 

The article empathises with teachers who feel "torn" and "pulled in different directions" as they try to provide for FS practice and the need they feel to prepare children for the amount of content in Year 1 curriculum and the National curriculum assessments in year 2.

 

The report, "A study of the transition from the Foundation Stage to Key Stage One" can be found at www.nfer.ac.uk. ( I haven't looked at the report myself yet)

 

Maybe the FS coordinators may find this useful reading.

 

Peggy

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Gater,

 

Which local authority are you in? In my school practice was a mix of quite formal times which extended over the year as prep for year 1 mixed with lots of free times, called activities when the children had very unstructured free choice whilst teachers took turns to do individual reading. We then had a locum head in from County who suggested that when the FS Co retired we get in the county advisor to look at practice and suggest how to bring our work more in line with Foundation Stage Guidance. I'm in West Sussex and got a lot of help, including going to see another school. We changed massively which was very scary initially. I'm feeling more secure into my second year of more freed up ways of working. This site has also been invaluable for ideas. My real point is, if your head observes and sees that change is needed a visit from the Early Years Advisor to do an observation then to come in and support any change might be quite a non-confrontational way forward. So perhaps you could make a discrete suggestion to the head?

 

Keep doing your best for those children. I'm sure your TAs will come round to your way of thinking when they see how much more independent the children are in a freed up system. It's less controlled so it's scary but it definately pays off.

 

Angela

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last inspection was 2002 I think (before my time) but even then the FS co had been off long term sick so the FS team rallied together to get things 'ready' so to speak. The teachers kept ringing the FS co at home to ask for the LTPs and MTPs but she kept putting them off from collecting them - and then turned up with them weeks later and displayed quite irrelevant planning documents that no one had ever seen before! She took down displays that had been done specially for the inspection and changed the topic for the Ofsted week the week before - despite it being in the pipeline (as she came back just in time for the inspection). Then she took all the credit when the inspection said they were satisfactory.

 

This has been the problem. The inspection gave a satisfactory label way back when the FS curriculum was relatively newborn, and there is a reluctance to shy away from what practice was deemed as suitable at the time. It's difficult to make her see that Reception practice is so far away from what we are doing now and I am sick of playing catch up - even though catch up implies we actually do stuff!!!!

 

I was on a course last year and spoke to an Early Years Advisor quietly who made an appointment to come in under the proviso that she was doing it in other schools. Coming up to the meeting everyone was skeptical about what she was going to have to say and after everyone was ignoring comments and suggestions as they felt she was too wishy washy and it wouldn't work for 'these children' (EAL).

 

The observations we should be doing - well they started off well in the Autumn term - I made sure that we started up individual observation profiles and they looked brilliant - School Improvement Officer was well impressed with them and she asked our school to part of a project she is doing. Great stuff. Problem is observing has gone by the by. They aren't deemed as 'good use of teaching time' when we can be directing the children, which now means that I'm timetabled most of the time so there is no 'appropriate' opportunities for me to do observations.

 

I'm definitely going to take into account your suggestions and get an Early Years Advisor suggestion made to the Head. Maybe I can feel more comfortable this time around as last time I was seen as merely an NQT by FS co. - this time it might be more helpful if I am seen by the Head to be wanting outside guidance. When the Advisor came in last time there was no follow up = no checking by the old Head that things had been acted upon etc. Maybe this time it will be different.

 

Thanks again,

 

D xxx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ooh and another thing. The FS co has been that for a long number of years and I found out only yesterday that the person who was at my side of the room had also heard the 'it won't work for these children' argument about 3/4 years ago when she wanted to implement earth shattering change . . . . yes, she shamelessly made the suggestion that in Reception the children should have access to a water tray!!!!!

 

There was uproar - these children would find it unsuitable . . water would go everywhere!!!!!! So the teacher and Nursery teacher made a cunning plan and got one into reception - to the outrage of FS co. who was disgusted that the children were wet - yes apparently, when playing with water, the children get wet!!!

 

Welcome to my life!

 

:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

HA!! I suggested to a member of staff yesterday that in future, the children who hadnt done a particular activitiy would have to miss out on it if it meant that was the only craft she was going to offer all week. Face like thunder. How dare I suggest that the children were bored and for goodness sake, why shouldnt they paint more than once? What a grand world we live in :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not that I am bragging or anything, but I have found something that may turn out to be the light at the end of the tunnel (or not as is my luck!!!). Have just trawled the Ofsted website and found the Inpectors Guidance for Early Years Inspections. Had a good read through and found an example of outside play and what goes on. In their words 'a free for all'. It describes our Friday afternoons (and to be honest the majority of free choice activities in the classroom) to the minutest details. Guess what Ofsted had to say about it . . . unsatisfactory!!!!

 

I'm all a glow at the minute. Not because I am proud of the fact - far from it. The big smile on my face is that I have something other than my own opinion (and that of copious others but who are we to say anything against the FS co opinion on practice at my school?) that will highlight that changes need to come into being soon. We are likely to have an Ofsted next year and I refuse to put on an act for them. I refuse to be her when she ran from her side of the room, through mine to the outside area one playtime to throw hoops and balls out as she had spotted new head and visitor coming round to look at outdoor provision - how completely false is that? Don't get me wrong, I know all stops are pulled out - but there is pulling out the stops and there is bullshitting hugely. Not my way of doing things. If it's wrong, I want to know so I can change it, not pretend I do it to get passed and then revert back to shiteness.

 

The FS curriculum folder is on a shelf and comes out when someone in KS2 has issues about what goes on lower in the school. The argument of promoting independence in the EY is used when KS2 go on about having to spoon feed the children. Unfortunatley, my definition of independence is slightly different to hers. She sees fastening buttons, putting on shoes and basically managing own hygiene as the biggest ones. I on the other hand like to include those along with becoming the indepedent learners that they need to be, children who can sort out their own differences, decide which of the four children should put the pencils away rather than all pulling at the pencil pot. I'm not happy with the children being told to do something - I would much rather promote them nominating others etc. Deciding things for themselves. Is it me or is this being completely unreasonable?

 

I'm printing the Guidance out, photocopying it and dropping it on the laps of FS co, all Rec teachers, all NNs and Head. The other Rec teacher thinks I'm brave but I've just replied that I'm not brave. I'm angry and fed up. Don't see why I should go out of my way to look for another job when this one could be half decent if I wasn't stamped on.

 

I shouldn't be the one promoting the FS curriculum to be the best that it can be in my school - but if the FS co can't do, then someone has to coz its the kids that will suffer in the long run. It's their only opportunity at Reception year - who are we to make it crap for them?

 

D xxx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Gater, I'm glad you feel empowered by the Ofsted findings, but please be careful how you deal with the situation at your school - you could end up alienating yourself if you are too forthright!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please don't be worried by my happiness at finding the Guidance! I won't do anything stupid - coz I have to work in the room! That's often the problem i.e. suggestions from colleagues are great, but impractical, as they often require a great deal of confrontation and thus repurcussions! So, on that note, my joyousness at having found some supporting stuff will be done covertly - have learnt a great deal in my two years of teaching - most of all the ability to be submissive with my findings while at the same time playing the worried little lamb wanting the best preparation we can have.

 

Do you get what I mean? I can't ever be too direct, but at the same time, I know what needs to be done and so will do it in such a way that if ever the Head asks if we are aware of certain things and can actually say well yes, I handed them out or I discussed them at meetings so to speak. My balshiness is not well matched with my ability to blush profusely at confrontation - so I work and work and annoy her because I know what we need and am willing to have a go, but my problems arise from her unwillingness to implement them. I also annoy coz I have what has been described as great enthusiasm to trial almost anything!!!! I can't do anything more as I know my constraints or restraints in this case. Thanks for your concerns and careful watchfulness of me though!

 

It does keep me grounded!

 

As far as Ofsted guidance the link is

 

http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/publications/inde...summary&id=2988

 

D xxx

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good Luck Gater you have a difficult job ahead but is important to keep going.

Love your signature, where did you find it:-

We could learn a lot from crayons: some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, some have weird names and all are different colours . . . but they all exist very nicely in the same box.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My balshiness is not well matched with my ability to blush profusely at confrontation ...

I also annoy coz I have what has been described as great enthusiasm to trial almost anything!!!! 

 

33532[/snapback]

 

You sound sooo like me it's scary!!! :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue. (Privacy Policy)