Gransnet forums

TV, radio, film, Arts

The Secret Teacher

(21 Posts)
Grandma2213 Sat 17-Aug-19 01:49:40

Anyone seen this on Channel 4? I have watched with a certain amount of cynicism regarding editing, the motives of the entrepreneurs involved and the selection of children to help but what it does throw up is the absolutely devastating effect of funding cuts to schools especially those in deprived areas.

The dedication of the staff who have managed to survive the stress so far is inspiring. The head teacher in the last programme sent out an emotional message, 'The truth is schools (......) are being forced to do more with less and as such something has to give. It shouldn't be Molly. (the student being followed)'. I was moved to tears by her later comment 'We are not talking about GCSE grades. We are talking about young people's lives.'

I would love to see a follow up programme about how these young people progressed and whether they took full advantage of the help they were given. Such a responsibility to succeed placed on their young shoulders.

SueSocks Sat 17-Aug-19 06:31:52

I watched this with interest, as an ex-teacher, bit like the previous Secret Millionaire programme.
In the first episode an English teacher was trying to teach 2 classes (60 students) together in the library with no board due to not having enough teachers. My head teacher suggested that I do this when we were struggling to get good maths teachers, she wanted me to teach the 2 classes in the hall, she did offer to set up a board, give me teaching assistant and a microphone! I refused! How can you give students one to one help in that situation? The programme clearly shows the results of lack of investment in schools with poor buildings and over worked support staff. I agree with the second head teachers comments about schools being all about GCSEs, & not about the students lives. Recent changes to GCSEs to make them more challenging & removal of coursework have really increased the stress on students. It is shame that schools no longer aim to develop the whole person & that massive emphasis is put on the GCSE grades. In my final school, students in year 11 now have to attend revision lessons in academic subjects almost every day after school, in effect an extra lesson, what about drama clubs, art clubs, PE clubs?
I too would be interested to see how the students respond to the opportunities they are given.

EllanVannin Sat 17-Aug-19 09:29:36

I too watched this latest programme with mixed feelings really. How on earth any teacher could get any sense out of any one pupil was beyond me.

There would have to have been an outsider to try and pick out one or two pupils who looked to have the potential to make something of their lives because as unruly all the pupils were it would have been difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff when you're just the lonely teacher trying their hardest to even begin to teach them let alone pick out those who are willing to move forward.

How many of the two such pupils must fall through the net in these inner city schools where you do have the odd few who are genuinely willing to learn but are held back by others whose aim is to be disruptive and disinterested ?

I wouldn't be a teacher for all the tea in China.

Luckygirl Sat 17-Aug-19 11:52:15

Me neither! What a challenging job.

Jane10 Sat 17-Aug-19 14:02:40

Hard to believe the behaviour of the children. How can they think it's somehow OK to carry on like that?! I feel very sorry for the teachers and also the quieter children who just want to learn.

Day6 Sat 17-Aug-19 14:07:55

A teacher friend in her 50s says she spends a disproportionate amount of time disciplining unruly and disruptive students and the cost to the ones who try their best and want to learn is huge. The knock-on effect is that eventually they sit back and do less and become harder to motivate when others get away with doing so little. She is hoping she can get early retirement soon. It sounds awful.

EllanVannin Sat 17-Aug-19 14:33:03

The day of the strict teacher along with discipline has gone.
I often ask myself if this is why there's so much crime now.
Not allowed to tell the children off----it's not PC.

Bagatelle Sat 17-Aug-19 15:11:27

EllanVannin Yes, these were the darling little kiddies who were running around the restaurant/shop/train squealing their heads off while adults (if they took any notice at all) smiled indulgently.

I am not in favour of child-led nursery education either. It's a daft idea, in my opinion.

GagaJo Sat 17-Aug-19 17:20:32

EllanVannin, as a teacher I have to disagree, I'm afraid. I'm not an overly strict teacher, but THREE of the female teachers in my department are. They can wither students with a look. One of them is only 27 too. Students are silent in her lessons. No messing at all, and we're in a TOUGH school.

Urmstongran Sat 17-Aug-19 17:26:01

I think the handful of high fliers do well. Ditto for the small strugglers at the bottom of the class. The great band in the middle probably don’t get pushed enough and pretty much are left to get on with it as best as.

Lessismore Sat 17-Aug-19 18:39:54

EV, you seem obsessed with what or what is not " PC".

Nobody is stopping anybody from setting and maintaining appropriate boundaries, commenting on what they regard as being offensive or expressing a view that capital punishment is a good thing.

I have asked before who the PC brigade are. I would like to chat to them.

WOODMOUSE49 Sat 17-Aug-19 21:59:34

Discipline isn't just telling children off and that will solve all the problems. Parents tell children off - that doesn't work.

I'm with GagaJo .

After my children had grown up, I changed career and became a teacher for 20 years. Every school I worked in (they were classed as being in socially deprived areas) had strict teachers. But strict in a constructive/positive way. We had fun with the pupils too. It worked and we had lots of praise from OFSTED for our methods.

I wonder how you have come to have such a terrible view of teachers. Have you spent some time in schools to draw such an opinion? Have you?

I wonder if you are a parent and have had to discipline your own child. Have you?

I had to ring a parent one day to ask for another meeting. His son was the verge of being excluded and we didn't want to go down this track. He said I had his permission to give his son "a clip round the ear". He got that at home. That told me a lot about this boy.

Look forward to your reply to this EV

Bagatelle Sat 17-Aug-19 23:46:32

WOODMOUSE49 - that boy's father's role-model was probably an advocate of "a clip round the ear", too. Most teachers get some professional training. Parents aren't always so fortunate.

I taught for 20 years, mostly secondary and mostly in the state sector, until 2008. Children instinctively push the boundaries; removing the boundaries doesn't help. I wonder how a child can be expected to achieve self-discipline (a requirement for success in life) without having experienced discipline from an early age.

I think we go overboard in encouraging everyone to 'be themselves' and to be 'proud of who they are'. Building confidence is one thing but it is being done without consideration for other people. I find 'bubbly personalities' annoying and LGBTQ+etc is getting boring. Meanwhile the news is dominated by hate crimes and extremism, so it isn't working anyway, and at worst it's provocative.

I'd prefer to see EV encouraged, rather than challenged, to enlarge upon her views.

WOODMOUSE49 Sun 18-Aug-19 01:05:37


I did my B.Ed.Hons in the 1980s when I was 32. We had no training in dealing with behavioural problems. I was lucky enough to be with a Y6 teacher to gave me a lot of guidance.

Yes. You are right about the boy's father.

When I was deputy we used our community/library room to put on drop in sessions for parents where they did activities with their children. One day every term an "in class" activity was arranged where parents were invited. It worked with the younger children.

With positive behaviour, we didn't remove boundaries. In fact we worked with the children to aid them in understanding what those boundaries were and they were encouraged to set the boundaries. Plus we encouraged them to "believe in what they could be".

Finally, my post did encourage EV to enlarge on her views. You have the advantage on me in knowing that EV is female.

Lessismore Sun 18-Aug-19 17:20:42

LGBTQ+etc ,what is the connection between this and badly behaved young people?

Lessismore Sun 18-Aug-19 17:22:47

Also , for a clip round the ear , read a loaded gun against my head....yes it's true, so how does " you can't have your play time" work there?

Hetty58 Sun 18-Aug-19 17:36:27

As a retired teacher, yes, it's a very challenging role. There have always been badly behaved children to deal with.

The expectations for excellent results accompanied by the cutting of budgets, year after year, piles on more stress (for teachers and pupils) and sidelines some important subjects.

Until people vote for a change, for investment in education, for the return of a balanced and rounded curriculum, things will continue to deteriorate. Teachers/educators have put in extra (unpaid) time and effort, but they've taken up the slack and can do no more.

(The same sad story applies to the state of the NHS too.)

Antonia Sun 18-Aug-19 17:36:46

I think all schools need to be like this one!

MawB Thu 22-Aug-19 22:03:16

Very moving programme tonight, but happy endings all round.
It must be lovely to be in a position to make such a difference to some kids’ lives. True philanthropy.

tidyskatemum Thu 22-Aug-19 22:28:25

My dear old Mum qualified as a primary school teacher in 1947 aged 19. (A 2 year training course and you didn’t need A levels, never mind a degree) Her first class was 50 10-11 year olds, some of whom were as big as her, in a church hall seconded as a classroom. She taught for 40 years in a deprived area of Yorkshire where kids from chaotic homes really appreciated the structure and boundaries she imposed, as illustrated by the number who kept coming back to visit and umpteen year later still stopped her in the street to talk about how they had enjoyed school. I guess a lot of the change for teachers now is a)parents who are aggressive rather than disinterested and b) streetwise kids who know they can make accusations against anyone who tries to impose discipline. By the way Mum never smacked anyone!

Eloethan Fri 23-Aug-19 00:22:21

I found the programme interesting and the young entrepreneurs very pleasant.

However, I had some reservations as to the thinking behind the programme. The implication that wealth and status equalled "success" was, I thought, not an especially useful or desirable one.