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Polish schoolteachers are being crushed by the system


Varsovian 92 | 634
21 Jan 2011 #1
I'm a fan of schoolteachers - OK, so I admit it, I was one for a number of years in England so I'm biased but ...

Polish schoolteachers are being stuffed by govt after govt.

The syllabus is being dumbed down and made more "interactive". Open-ended exercises give the 3 bad kids in the class a golden opportunity to misbehave, as does extra teacher-pupil interaction (yep, I refuse to call schoolchildren "students" - they're not "young adults" either!).

Children used to have books handed down from older siblings or bought second-hand, knowing that they could sell them on afterwards. The education ministry is now regularly bribed by publishing houses to ensure this doesn't happen - exercises to answer in the textbook, inconsequential changes from year to year. There's money to be made this way.

While teachers still wield limited power through the mark given at the end of semester (from 1 to 6, six being the highest), pressure is placed on teachers by management to engage in the propaganda of success. This happens at primary and middle school levels, with the grammar schools left to pick up the pieces in a mad rush to matura in 3 years (16-19).

Middle schools are a waste of time (as they were in England years back). Disruptive kids are not excluded, as they have a right to go to their local school.

The ultimate weapon - keeping a kid down a year - is never used nowadays. It's not PC.

Pay is a joke. Despite that, teachers' light timetabling (18 hours a week) used to compensate. That's being edged up slowly but surely, and more admin is being added to do in their own time. Perhaps most perniciously, their esprit de corps is bing eroded, as it was so successfully in 1980s Britain.

And the surest sign of a politically-motivated campaign is when parents start making sneering comments openly - just like in 1980s Britain. Strangely, it was from a Labour voter that I first heard the terrible slogan of the moron "Those that can, do, those that can't, teach." The UK Conservatives were just as bad ... until now, that is.

I pity teachers here in Poland - they can see what's coming and they can't do a thing to change it.
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #2
Middle schools are a waste of time

true

with the grammar schools left to pick up the pieces in a mad rush to matura in 3 years (16-19).

very true

The ultimate weapon - keeping a kid down a year - is never used nowadays. It's not PC.

PC is not the reason. The reason is that schools don't want problematic pupils being in their school for years and cause problems. But I know ppl who stayed for another year (and I'm young person) so it's not so rare.

I pity teachers here in Poland - they can see what's coming and they can't do a thing to change it.

it already came.

Vasovian you are well oriented in Polish schools problems. Do you (or some of your family members) teach in Polish school?

Also I want to point out that Polish school doesn't teach life in society and ethics. Cheating is not punished properly and many teachers indulge their pupils as they pity on them too much (oh they're just kids!). The effect is that hey never grow up and in older life still think that cheating is just a little sin...
alexw68
21 Jan 2011 #3
Spot on.

Lots of good friends of ours from down the years (here in PL) are being subjected to this - I find very few who aren't utterly abject about it now, they think it's too late for them to get out and are justifiably scared about the implications of a change for mortages, etc.

The art of actually educating people has been replaced by educational management. 'Those who can, do; those that can't, teach'. Absolute crap. I'd believe it if half the bright young things working in public facing jobs were even 25% as good as they make out. As for the vast majority of those who learned their interpersonal skills before 1989 - forget it.

Here's what's really going on: Those that have a specific vocational skill, do; those that don't, wangle a role in educational management. Worse still, they assume a position of authority in local government on matters of educational policy. Some idiot in Poznan the other month decreed that the teachers' common room cannot be locked (from the inside, natch) - clearly a clueless nob who has no experience of just how vital such a sanctuary is if you a) want to get things done and b) just need 15 minutes' quiet time.

I got out a very long time ago when the going was good. I really admire the integrity and devotion of those who stuck around; but can only sympathise helplessly with their plight.

A
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #4
Also have you heard about mock matura math exams? Students were advising one another to write it as poorly as possible to make the level of real exam really easy! It's really sick approach that MEN even consider to adjust the exam levels to students' knowledge... shouldn't it be oppositely?
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
21 Jan 2011 #5
Domestic violence and sexual abuse is the answer.
alexw68
21 Jan 2011 #6
Sok, go and be bored someplace else. You haven't exactly contributed to the sum total of human understanding of late. Or change your password 'cos some 14-year-old sociopath gluesniffer seems to have hijacked your account.
aphrodisiac 11 | 2,443
21 Jan 2011 #7
he, he..........Sok is like a teenager who has never gotten enough attention. Masakra:)
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
21 Jan 2011 #8
Sok, go and be bored someplace else. You haven't exactly contributed to the sum total of human understanding of late. Or change your password 'cos some 14-year-old sociopath gluesniffer seems to have hijacked your account.

Just got into a trollish mood lately, anywho i completely agree with Varsovian, our teachers got it uphill hardcore, i still think backhanding a kid is a solution more often than not.
OP Varsovian 92 | 634
21 Jan 2011 #9
ita vero puella! (strange how the vocative is the same as the nominative)
My sister-in-law is a maths teacher in a middle school ... and my children are teenagers.

Sok - understandable on an emotional level, but violence (whether you agree with it or not) can only ever work within a system, and as that system is a thing of the past ...
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #10
and my children are teenagers.

keep them encourage to gain knowledge on their own. Tell them that the thigs they learn at school are just a little % they should know. When I was in gimnazjum I thought that if I learn before klasówka and gain a good mark I've done a good work and that's all I should do. I forgot the simple fact that people should learn for their own inner developement and marks are not important in fact. If I were in gimnazjum again I would learn more (and for myself) to have better start in high school.
OP Varsovian 92 | 634
21 Jan 2011 #11
My v. intelligent eldest (son) is in detox from computer games and is slowly recovering his will to live (slightly exaggerating here), whereas my daughter is an academic star who doesn't have enough hours in the day for all her academic, musical and sporting interests.

Both bright kids, same parents, wildly-differing motivation levels!
Sokrates 8 | 3,346
21 Jan 2011 #12
Sok - understandable on an emotional level, but violence (whether you agree with it or not) can only ever work within a system, and as that system is a thing of the past ...

Create a new one that takes kicking the crap out of kids into account, thats the missing cog that makes the current education system go boink.
Harry
21 Jan 2011 #13
Why does an American who has never gone to or taught in a Polish school think that he is in any way qualified to give an opinion on Polish schools?
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #14
Exactly. At least now we know what made Sok the way he is...

Btw. Harry what do you think about Polish school system (excluding college education)?
Harry
21 Jan 2011 #15
Btw. Harry what do you think about Polish school system (excluding college education)?

I think that the amount teachers are paid is disgusting and that there is far too much emphasis on remembering and not enough on actual learning.
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #16
far too much emphasis on remembering and not enough on actual learning.

what do you mean by learning?
JaneDoe 5 | 114
21 Jan 2011 #17
there is far too much emphasis on remembering and not enough on actual learning.

Very true. Do you know the very popular "3 Zs rule"? "Zakuc-Zdac-Zapomniec". "Memorize-Pass exam-Forget".
Richfilth 6 | 415
21 Jan 2011 #18
The general population treats Polish teachers with a certain amount of sympathy ("poor young women, having to work with those awful teenagers"), but justifies the low salaries with this idiotic lie of "they only work 18 hours."

That's 18 classroom hours. What about lesson planning, homework-marking, exam-grading, curriculum meetings, staff meetings, parents' meetings, organising the bloody studniowka, catch-up lessons for the students who missed key material because they were given time out to dance the f**king Polonnaise during class hours? 18 hours can easily turn into 30 or 40 depending on the exam season, and even with two months of holiday, 25k zlotys a YEAR is a criminally low salary.

It makes my blood boil how little respect teachers in this country get, and it saddens me to think that those with the best talents (patience, primarily) to help the most problematic and disadvantaged youths in this country, simply can't afford to do that work because of the awful surrounding conditions.
puella 4 | 172
21 Jan 2011 #19
I don't feel any symphaty to most teachers as most teachers I met in my life were completely burn out and did not give a damn about anything (especially students). Give them more money but in the same time hire better teachers.

But isn't it a world-wide problem? I heard about American teachers who complain about their salaries either.
Magdalena 3 | 1,837
21 Jan 2011 #20
simply can't afford to do that work because of the awful surrounding conditions.

Aw c'mon. I used to be a teacher and did not suffer overmuch. I only quit because I quarrelled with the headmaster. Also I personally know a bunch of teachers and I shall not be shedding any tears for them anytime soon - they earn quite a lot and enjoy their work.
delphiandomine 88 | 18,475
21 Jan 2011 #21
It makes my blood boil how little respect teachers in this country get, and it saddens me to think that those with the best talents (patience, primarily) to help the most problematic and disadvantaged youths in this country, simply can't afford to do that work because of the awful surrounding conditions.

The problem isn't just about the money though - when you look at the cack-handed way that schools are managed, it's beyond a joke. I still cannot figure out why directors are elected - shouldn't they be trained for many years for the job?
Grzegorz_ 51 | 6,161
21 Jan 2011 #22
Pay is a joke.

Is the ratio of pay for 1h of teacher's work to 1h of work of a person making national average salary better in the UK than in Poland ?
JaneDoe 5 | 114
21 Jan 2011 #23
Both sides suck. Teachers suck and students suck.
Polish teachers (and I'm not talking about Brits who teach English to the Poles) do not care about a quality of education they "sell' to the student and Polish students do not care about getting any quality education, they don't learn how to think for themselves, analize, no logic there what so ever, they memorize some lines from textbooks, pass tests and exams and the minute after that, they forget what it was even about, plus they behave horribly with no respect towards teachers and each other.

It's a "magic" circle. And there must be something done about that.
cjj - | 281
22 Jan 2011 #24
My second child is in K1 and the workbooks are quite fascinating in their own way.
Does the teacher have time / need / inclination to do anything other than plod through these books ?
I guess it smoothes out the results - the trully cr8ppy teachers don't have such a bad effect - but if I were a teacher who enjoyed 'teaching' I would find it very restrictive.

My older child is in middleschool doing MYP and that seems ok. I do see some "here is the standard, meet it" attitude - leaving the children to scrabble towards the understanding as best they can - but the teachers seem to understand what they're teaching. (ok, I had a few strange teachers myself when at school). It's hard sometimes to see a path around the speed, because there is a lot of information to cover - and the programme's 2-language emphasis increases the load. A relief for me, though, as we now have GCSE textbooks in the house and the homework essays and lab-reports can be in English.

That's 18 classroom hours. What about lesson planning, homework-marking, exam-grading, curriculum meetings, staff meetings, parents' meetings, organising the bloody studniowka, catch-up lessons for the students who missed key material because they were given time out to dance the f**king Polonnaise during class hours? 18 hours can easily turn into 30 or 40 depending on the exam season, and even with two months of holiday, 25k zlotys a YEAR is a criminally low salary.

25K - for an 18 hour week ... is this for an experienced teacher?

I'm curious -- I remember a school-teacher friend in the UK spending hours marking and preparing, but to be honest I don't see a lot of that in lesson plans here. In Primary School the lessons are all laid out in detail, in Middle I see a lot of "Reuse Reduce Recycle".

/cjj


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