Jump to content


Photo

GCSE students taking a break!

Teachers

  • Please log in to reply
30 replies to this topic

#1 Karen13

Karen13

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Member: 843277
    Joined: 09-August 13

Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:33

I am interested to know if other teachers are having the same situation as myself?

I have several GCSE students all are taking GCSE music and have completed their practical performance part of the the exam.

During the last week parents have announced their intentions to stop lessons for their children during the summer term so they can concentrate on revising for GCSE'S. It appears they feel too much pressure to fit in lessons as well.

My concern is that having a huge gap between now and the Autumn term they will lose so many skills that they have already built up and possibly not come back to lessons at all.

Obviously I will have quite a big gap in my timetable and loss of income for the summer term.

Although they do have to give me notice as required in my [email protected]'s.

Is this a general trend?  I have never had this epidemic situation in all the years that I have been teaching?

 

 

 


  • 0

#2 Digby

Digby

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2073 posts
  • Member: 480
    Joined: 21-January 04

Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:48

Yes it's a general trend and in my experience they very rarely come back.  Don't worry about losing the skills the next couple of years are tough for them and priorities change but if they do come back its for the right reasons in that they enjoy playing and the distraction music can give them.  I think in 15 years I've had one return to regular lessons but she had zero time for practise so we carefully managed to achieve a few pieces which she appreciated.  


  • 0

#3 DaisyChain2

DaisyChain2

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 163 posts
  • Member: 893080
    Joined: 17-March 15
  • Kent

Posted 18 March 2017 - 08:54

I've experienced this before with some of mine. They either stop altogether or say they will continue with lessons and then cancel at the last minute resulting in the mutual agreement that they may as well stop. The majority have come back for the autumn but it's been a hard slog getting them back on track after such a long time. Only a couple promised to re-start but didn't.  In fairness, I currently have one GCSE student coming up for her study leave, and one A level student about to prepare for his exams. Both of them have been excellent throughout the year, and both have said they will see lessons as a pleasant break from study.

 

The ones that have bugged me most are those that stop due to the pressures of the 11 Plus preparations.  I find it hard to believe that they are under such pressure everything has to end? (No- the promises to ring me once the exam was taken were never honoured). 


  • 0

#4 Fazioligirl

Fazioligirl

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 237 posts
  • Member: 893432
    Joined: 03-July 15
  • Kent

Posted 18 March 2017 - 09:11

I've had this a lot too over the last few years. As others have said, they very rarely come back and to be honest, the pressures of sixth form studies are even greater so it's understandable and something we just have to accept. As Daisychain 2 says, the ones that have to stop because of the 11-plus always astound me! That's becoming more and more common too and either they don't come back or if they do I don't have the space to take them back.
  • 0

#5 Bantock

Bantock

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 110 posts
  • Member: 4662
    Joined: 10-September 05

Posted 18 March 2017 - 10:58

It happens every year and has done for a number of years.
  • 0

#6 helenm

helenm

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 32 posts
  • Member: 897358
    Joined: 24-February 17
  • Midlands

Posted 18 March 2017 - 11:33

Sorry, I'm not a teacher but was noseying at this thread as it was top of my "new posts" list.

 

I am an adult learner and I stopped lessons in year 11 due to O Level pressures (yes, it was that long ago).  I think I knew I would never go back and 6th form pressures are shocking.  I am a sixth form teacher so I know how hard we pile it on the kids - blame the government by the way for impossible targets given to schools these days.  Pressure at GCSE is huge and something has to give.  Yes, it is the fun things that get put aside for a while.

 

But I have just picked up my clarinet after a gap of 30 years.  Mrs Chadwick, who taught me from age 10 to 16 was eccentric and mad and would chain smoke through my lesson!  She used to say, "Music is a wonderful thing Helen.  It has no ages and you can play music whenever you want.  You can come back to it at any time, it will always be there."  She said the words so often and after watching my son enjoy brass band I was inspired to join a choir and pick up an instrument again.

 

My point is, you may lose students, but please remember that you have given them something that they will never lose - an appreciation of music that at their ages, they may not even know they have until much later.  They will remember your lessons and may come back to music when they are older.  You will likely never know this but your efforts are not in vain.  Appreciate yourselves for what you have done for these children  :)


  • 2

#7 The Great Sosso

The Great Sosso

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 386 posts
  • Member: 887899
    Joined: 04-February 14

Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:05

helenm, it's so lovely to hear that you were inspired by your teachers' words many years later.  Something to give us hope!

 

I have just released a student who was going to give up altogether for GCSEs but I have offered to keep her slot free for next autumn so that she can return.  She was on the cusp of grade 3 and I really would like her to get to that level before she (inevitably, I fear) quits, as I think it will have given her a better foundation for picking it up again later in life.  I've asked her to let me know during the summer hols whether she is coming back.  I think that if I had many students in her position, I wouldn't be holding the spaces open for all of them, as it would be a huge dent in income - and obviously there is a high chance they won't come back.  Her practice had tailed away to nothing as school pressures took over, and so to be honest it's a bit of a relief not to have those lessons to look forward to, where no progress had been made since last time.  Hopefully in the new term, if she decides to come back, it will be a positive decision to get cracking and working hard again (there is always hope!).

 

it doesn't surprise me at all that this is happening more and more.  Children are put under so much pressure to achieve top exam results, and music is increasingly marginalised in schools, so the value of their instrumental studies is lessening as well as the time to actually do the work required.  Sad times.

 

I suppose those taking 'A' level music are the ones likely to continue, as there will be a performance element to that exam that necessitates lessons.

 

 

TGS x


  • 0

#8 BadStrad

BadStrad

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4080 posts
  • Member: 88756
    Joined: 28-January 10

Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:16

I would be looking to fill those slots and telling the "taking a break brigade" that I couldn't guarantee the same slot will be available in six months time. I mean seriously - do the parents think you're at their beck and call? How would they react if their wages/benefits were cancelled for six months?
  • 0

#9 helenm

helenm

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 32 posts
  • Member: 897358
    Joined: 24-February 17
  • Midlands

Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:22

I am a teacher and a mum and I am witnessing that marginalising of music in the school where I teach (I'm not a music teacher).

 

I want my son to achieve brilliant exam grades but frankly I am happy for a few less subjects or a few lower grades if he has continued to enjoy life with music, sport etc.  Sadly, the government is not content for this to happen in state schools.  It makes me very sad


  • 1

#10 HelenVJ

HelenVJ

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2236 posts
  • Member: 1265
    Joined: 03-May 04
  • South-East London ( OK - Penge)

Posted 18 March 2017 - 13:49

This used to be a thing when I was teaching as a peri in schools - Year 11 would disappear for Study Leave in early May, and that was pretty much it till Sept. They weren't going to come in to school just for a 30 minute music lesson, on the whole, and I couldn't really blame them, especially those who lived some distance away.  

But now that all my students come to my home, I'm usually quite matter-of-fact about expecting them to come during the exam period, although without much pressure to put in hours of practice. Even so, I've stopped being surprised at the amount of work that does get done. There's only so much time they can spend on revision, and they're mostly at the stage when they can play for pleasure as a welcome break. We're usually working on a duet, and some repertoire a little below the level of their current one. Also, we have our annual Piano Party in early July, and although there is no compulsion to take part, they are all keen to do so, as they've been participating since they were quite small, and can now enjoy being the 'Big Ones' . I keep going throughout much of the summer too, on a flexible basis, with a 'morning only' timetable.  


  • 0

#11 Karen13

Karen13

    Newbie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 11 posts
  • Member: 843277
    Joined: 09-August 13

Posted 18 March 2017 - 13:56

Many thanks to you all for posting your observations.. The trouble with all my GCSE students is that they all have many other commitments besides music lessons.

They all do at least 3 instruments and all working in excess of Grade 6 which requires a great deal of time to practice. I suppose they feel the easiest option is to suspend lessons until they have more time to give. I would rather they keep playing even if it is only during their lesson. At least some of them are playing in the local Youth Orchestra. However,  if parents feel their child must give something up in order to get good grades in their GCSE's who am I tell them what is in the best interests for their child. They witness the pressure and stress they are under day to day.  

I kept my lessons up as a teenager too and wouldn't be teaching now if I had not. However, life is very different now from when I was taking lessons.


  • 0

#12 sbhoa

sbhoa

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22946 posts
  • Member: 24
    Joined: 31-October 03
  • Tameside

Posted 18 March 2017 - 14:22

Like some others I wouldn't guarantee a space in my timetable if they wanted to return in September.... Why September if exams are over in June?

 

I know that there's an attempt to put more pressure on these days but it's so sad that so many subscribe to the idea that the approach to exams must be all work and no play.... Not very healthy and if the teaching had been adequate why?

I think that it can sometimes be down to how interested they really are in playing their instrument (though sadly sometimes parents will believe that lessons should stop regardless). I've known more than one who has taken grade 8 in GCSE or A level years as well as missing very few band rehearsals and without compromising exam results.

With the advent of study leave isn't time management easier if you put your mind to it?

 

I've had parents stop lessons for year 2 SATS!!! What a great way to teach your child to be stressed.


  • 1

#13 BadStrad

BadStrad

    Virtuoso

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 4080 posts
  • Member: 88756
    Joined: 28-January 10

Posted 18 March 2017 - 15:07

I really believe that the reason kids get so stressed is because the people around them (teachers and parents) get so stressed.

I have always been puzzled as to why testing in today's schools is meant to be extra stressful for the kids. From age seven my school cohort had weekly times-tables, maths and spelling tests. We sat an eleven plus exam (despite having no choice of secondary school as they'd all gone comp). From eleven upwards we had termly tests, end of year exams, were banded, streamed and so on. Somehow we got through all that without being unduly stressed, because the tests and exams were just a part of school. You got on with it and hoped not to get yelled at (or for some kids, thrashed) if you didn't pass. Some parents were competitive about their children's achievements but they were mostly considered odd. If you did badly the parents were more likely to be cross than stressed. The only reasons I can see as to why today's tests are more stressful is that teachers are stressed by inspectors; parents and schools want good results because they don't want the school looking bad and so on. Thus the kids pick up on their stress, rather than being inherently stressed by the exams.

My small contribution to try and combat this stress fetish - I always say to my maths' pupils "It's only an exam. Nobody dies if you don't get a C. It'd be a pain having to resit, there might be tears if you don't get a C, but then you suck it up and try again. It's just an exam." They are often shocked at first, but then then relax, stop panicking and tend to make better progress. Of course I tell them I'll do my best to help them pass and encourage them to work hard, but I let them know I won't be disappointed in them if they don't get their grade first time round as long as they've tried.
  • 4

#14 Appassionata

Appassionata

    Prodigy

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1686 posts
  • Member: 960
    Joined: 08-April 04
  • Down South!

Posted 18 March 2017 - 15:44

I can understand pupils taking a break from music lessons during exam time and have just come to expect it over the years. I personally enjoyed my lessons and continued them during my exams, on the understanding that I wouldn't get much practice done in between, however I don't cause a fuss when pupils want a break, nor charge them for the lessons missed when it's exam time. Both parents and pupils are under enough stress as it is. 


  • 0

#15 sbhoa

sbhoa

    Maestro

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 22946 posts
  • Member: 24
    Joined: 31-October 03
  • Tameside

Posted 18 March 2017 - 16:31

The concern is that stopping lessons because of exams suggests that all leisure activity is suspended and that is not a good thing.

This assumes that those who are still having lessons at this age are doing so because it's an activity they enjoy.


  • 1





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Teachers