How did this happen? I’m teaching underachieving classes yet again…

I have just finished marking paper 1 of my year 11 mocks. The class I inherited did appalling badly in their end of year 10 exams. When I looked at the data I was seriously considering putting them in for foundation because there were so many U grades in the end of year 10 higher paper.

I took me a month to sort out their behavior and create a decent learning environment. During that month the majority of the class did little work and less homework in many lessons and this only turned around in mid October.

I thought the group were  very weak group at the start of the year. I have since discovered that their laziness and complete lack of mathematical knowledge have been disguising some quite bright kids and some decent mathematicians to boot. Just by telling their parents the score on parents evening, setting them lots of homework, making them listen and making them work most of them have improved 2 grades or more since September.

I would love to put this down to me being a brilliant teacher but I don’t believe I am one. I’m a decent enough, solid, hard working safe pair of hands. I have worked with many teachers far better than I am.

I have no idea how this class were allowed to fall so far behind and I don’t want to find out as I suspect it will just annoy me.

My fear is that it will be the same story as in my last school. In my last school there was an under-performing teacher. He was capable and competent. He just had no interest in teaching any more. He held the kids, the HOD and SLT in utter contempt. SLT would not take him on. Nor would they support the HOD in taking him on so his under performance continued for years. Every year his (marked by him) KS3 data would show pupils making progress. Every year the year 10 results (GCSE modules) would be dreadful. Every year for 3 years his year 10 class were taken off him and given to me to sort out in year 11.

Last year every class I taught bar one was filled with underachievers. It was depressing.

This year all my classes bar one are filled with underachievers. I had hoped it would be different in my new school. Don’t get me wrong I like my new school. It’s going really well so far but I  would love to teach some bright kids.

My fear is that if this class gets good results I will once again find myself being “the teacher who sorts out underachieving classes”. I can’t have that.


3 thoughts on “How did this happen? I’m teaching underachieving classes yet again…

  1. scitech2011

    Hi I feel for you … I been through that for the last 3 years.. First year as an nqt, I thought this was because I was an Nqt and as an nqt hod doesn’t give good class … The second year came I was given a middle set as well as a low set with 23 underachievers.. My hod said to me you done well last year and the class is smaller .. I was furious and didn’t want to be moaning so I just smiled. The third year I was told because my behaviour management is good which again I think the hod fobbing me off. I am not sure what to do or say… I too think I am a solid teacher who works very hard and never gives up but I think that’s my downfall..

    1. bigkid4 Post author

      I would approach it from career development point of view. As an NQT you need a range of different classes and experiences with your year 11 teaching otherwise your development as a teacher will be slowed is the line I would take. Possibly involve the union if your school has an effective rep.
      Your HOD would not give you key groups if you were not one of the more effective teachers in the department. They couldn’t risk it. Their head is on the block if your classes fail. You must be very good for someone at your stage of their career.


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