I wanted to do a post on this subject matter for a while, but I’ve spent the last 6weeks or so just trying to make sense of it all in my own mind.
I’m going rewind to the beginning so that you get a better understanding of where I’m coming from.
I graduated as an Architect whilst working for big skincare company 5years ago, both very different but extremely creative. Whilst studying I did some work exp. in a firm, not really enjoying it and decided to try my hand on different things whilst maintaining a part time job with the skincare company. I think working there made me into this passionate, target driven person. It also helped that I genuinely loved all the products. I somehow made my way into teaching. Left my skincare job aside and immersed everything I have into my teaching career. If you don’t know already, I teach Graphics, resistant materials (better known as CDT or woodworks?) in a secondary school. And despite how challenging it can be at times, I honestly love what I do.
But it isn’t just about going into school and teaching what you love. There are targets to be met. And as with any job, you look at some individual targets and question ‘really…?‘ But as a teacher you never stop trying, or stop believing that every young child will meet a target grade which was set for them when they were 9, because hormones have nothing to do with a child’s developments and their life will continue for them at the same pace as it did when they were a child.
As a realist, I know that out of the 26 that choose Graphics as a GCSE, most will probably not take it further into A levels, but I want them to learn skills that they will enjoy and take forward with them in life.
Having target driven attitude driven into me at a young age meant that I was going to do everything in me to ensure that they were able achieve their target grade. I was lucky enough to be working with students that were hard-working and determined and fed off of my passion for the subject, which resulted into 95% pass in coursework. Successful? Not quite, that was 2/3 or their final grade. Students also had to pass a written exam to pass their final GCSE.
Let’s see the bigger picture here, most of these students had very weak literacy skills. The entire exam is a written exam. Do you see the dilemma? As a team we worked hard. After school revision, Saturday sessions. It was an intense 6months. Result? 50% out of that 95% didn’t make it. Result day, I was shattered. All that hard work we put in, 2years of work. Gone. we could say, perhaps the students didn’t try enough, revision should have started earlier. But I know they tried, we went through revision material several times. So where did it all go wrong?
Evaluation is probably the key to success, you see what you could improve on, focus on that and try harder second time round. But what do you do when these students don’t have a second chance? It makes me question the system. Is the examination system fair? A student who is able to produce an amazing product but unable to write in exam conditions, but when spoken to is very good at explaining. Do they not deserve a pass mark?
I was left feeling demotivated and basically really crappy. And it made me question the worth of an exam…does it really show the capability of a student? Especially when it comes to a creative subject. I questioned myself, because ultimately it’s me who is delivering, perhaps my methods need to change. I’m currently in the process of changing up revision material. Hoping it will make a difference. Whether or not it changes anything I’m sat here thinking, does the system need to change?