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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 08:29 
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I think it was even more of an issue with Len, because people would have known her as "one of us", and remembered silly things she'd done as a child, etc. It's a bit weird for Simone when she comes back and has to tell people like Robin and Amy to address her as "Miss Lecoutier". And Mary Burnett comes back to teach whilst her sister Peggy is still a pupil there.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 15:40 
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Alison H wrote:
And it can be hard to ask for advice when you don't want to give the impression that you don't know what you're doing.

But when you start your teaching career, you don't know what you're doing, despite your training. A few weeks teaching practice in each of your uni years does not prepare you for being in the classroom and in charge! I was never ashamed to ask for help or guidance, and indeed, my Head, whose office was next door to my classroom, separated only by a sheet of glass, was always willing to give it. He prepared me for life as a teacher far better than my tutors ever did. It's just a matter of not feeling too proud to ask.

ETA to add that the staff at the CS were a friendly bunch, and Nancy was her Head of Maths. Don't tell me she would have snubbed her!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 17:12 
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MaryR wrote:
Alison H wrote:
And it can be hard to ask for advice when you don't want to give the impression that you don't know what you're doing.

But when you start your teaching career, you don't know what you're doing, despite your training. A few weeks teaching practice in each of your uni years does not prepare you for being in the classroom and in charge! I was never ashamed to ask for help or guidance, and indeed, my Head, whose office was next door to my classroom, separated only by a sheet of glass, was always willing to give it. He prepared me for life as a teacher far better than my tutors ever did. It's just a matter of not feeling too proud to ask.

ETA to add that the staff at the CS were a friendly bunch, and Nancy was her Head of Maths. Don't tell me she would have snubbed her!


Except when you're that new, you don't know who is going to give you helpful advice and who is going to fire you for not knowing it straight off. And both of them will equally say "don't be afraid to ask for help". The upshot? People are afraid to ask for help.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 17:27 
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What did Kathie need help with, exactly? She didn't need any help with her own subjects. She needed help with Yseult and she asked for it, but no very useful advice was forthcoming.

I don't think it could have occurred to her to ask for advice about Mary Lou; in any other school, her way of dealing with Mary Lou in the lesson with the sixth form would have been considered entirely appropriate, and the girl on the receiving end would have thought it a fair enough ticking off. It's not really Kathie's fault that no-one warned her that Mary Lou was entitled to special treatment because 'it's just Mary Lou'.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 18:00 
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Also Kathie did no training and her teaching style, picked up from her own school might not have matched the CS. Was she down to teach English as well?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 18:31 
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I think it must have been hard for any new mistress who wasn't used to the school's "little ways", because it was all getting very insular and institutionalised by then. In Challenge, Nancy was adamant that they couldn't even get a supply teacher to cover whilst Kathie was off sick unless she was an Old Girl. So many of the mistresses in the Swiss years were Old Girls that people like Kathie and Sharlie, who had no previous connection with the school, must have sometimes felt like outsiders. Before she'd even got to the actual school, Kathie'd had Biddy and Peggy chattering away about old schoolfriends, and telling her that they were both Old Girls. Then, at the staff meeting, there was a discussion about how one of the new girls was Juliet Carrick's niece. And Biddy said something about remembering when Mlle was seriously ill and, when Kathie quite reasonably assumed that she means Mlle de Lachennais, said that, no, she meant Mlle Lepattre, a name which obviously meant nothing to Kathie.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 21:19 
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Mel wrote:
Also Kathie did no training and her teaching style, picked up from her own school might not have matched the CS. Was she down to teach English as well?
She was certainly told she'd be teaching some English as well as Maths and Geography - so quite a workload, along with being a form mistress, though I'm not sure we ever see her teach English. She surely can't have done a degree that covered all three subjects - even Maths and Geography is a slightly weird combination to teach, unless you've had professional experience in one or the other, and given her age, that's unlikely.

ETA: Of course, she didn't need to have any qualifications to teach in a private school at that date (or a state one either for that matter), it just seems an odd combination to me - and in Maths it would matter much more that she was able to teach current methods.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 22:00 
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Sadly in many schools even now there is the idea that 'anyone can teach English.' As a retired teacher of English that rankles.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 22:00 
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All three subjects plus fluent French and German :lol: .

A-level in one of them might have done, for junior level, but she seemed to be teaching seniors.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 22:12 
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Didn't new teachers entering the state system have to be qualified after WW2, either with a degree or a teaching qualification? Those already teaching who didn't have a qualification were able to continue.

(Soon, the last of the teachers who qualified with the old three year Cert. Ed., rather than with a degree, will have retired.)

Kathie didn't normally teach sixth form, did she? I suppose if she had A Levels in those subjects, she was deemed capable of teaching them to O Level. Maths was her proper subject, wasn't it? Did she teach maths up to fifth form, and only teach geography and English to Middles?

When I was at secondary school, we had a few teachers who doubled up on subjects. History and RE (and the deputy headship), French and German, and physics and chemistry are the ones I recall, although I think there may have been others that I've forgotten.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 22:16 
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Noreen wrote:
- even Maths and Geography is a slightly weird combination to teach, unless you've had professional experience in one or the other, and given her age, that's unlikely.


I had a maths teacher who was qualified in both Maths and English, which to me is a weirder combination. In Australia, most of my High School teachers could teach two subjects, whether it was Maths/Science or English and History. It's rarer for someone to only have one subject.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 22:44 
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JayB wrote:
When I was at secondary school, we had a few teachers who doubled up on subjects. History and RE (and the deputy headship), French and German, and physics and chemistry are the ones I recall, although I think there may have been others that I've forgotten.


Yes but all those subjects are similar - humanities, languages, sciences.

History and Geog is a popular one as is History and Modern Studies.

Fiona Mc wrote:
Noreen wrote:
- even Maths and Geography is a slightly weird combination to teach, unless you've had professional experience in one or the other, and given her age, that's unlikely.


I had a maths teacher who was qualified in both Maths and English, which to me is a weirder combination. In Australia, most of my High School teachers could teach two subjects, whether it was Maths/Science or English and History. It's rarer for someone to only have one subject.


That is an odd combination and could only potentially be done if they had two separate degrees in both subjects. Unlikely to have a degree that combines both.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2017, 23:12 
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Well, I suspect that there have always been people in teaching who are qualified in two differing subjects, or have enough professional experience in a subject to teach it - come to that, my 4th year Maths master had degrees in Maths and Latin and spoke fluent Italian, but then he was something like fifteen years older than Kathy.

Where someone teaches two related subjects, I guess they may well have a two-subject degree at double ancillary level (or at least that was what it was called when I was at uni) - particularly popular with languages undergraduates.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 05:32 
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tartan-belle wrote:
JayB wrote:
When I was at secondary school, we had a few teachers who doubled up on subjects. History and RE (and the deputy headship), French and German, and physics and chemistry are the ones I recall, although I think there may have been others that I've forgotten.


Yes but all those subjects are similar - humanities, languages, sciences.

History and Geog is a popular one as is History and Modern Studies.

Fiona Mc wrote:
Noreen wrote:
- even Maths and Geography is a slightly weird combination to teach, unless you've had professional experience in one or the other, and given her age, that's unlikely.


I had a maths teacher who was qualified in both Maths and English, which to me is a weirder combination. In Australia, most of my High School teachers could teach two subjects, whether it was Maths/Science or English and History. It's rarer for someone to only have one subject.


That is an odd combination and could only potentially be done if they had two separate degrees in both subjects. Unlikely to have a degree that combines both.


When I was at High School - in Australia - during the 1970s, I had one teacher who taught me in successive years in German/History/Phys Ed and Social Studies! Later she became the Careers Teacher. She was very nice but not particularly bright in any of them. We were doing Form 2 History and studying British History from the Middle Ages through the Tudors and, as a 14 year old, I knew far more than she did. I got the feeling that she swatted up on a chapter of a children's history book - with lots of pictures - before each class. Awful!

As Careers Teacher she had no idea either and, when I said to her that I wanted to write for a living, her best advice was a BA. Biggest regret of my life is that I didn't do Journalism instead! I can't blame her for it but she didn't help.

Back to subject, I like Kathie Ferrars very much and find her story quite believable. I don't blame her for the attitude to Mary Lou as it seems quite reasonable to me. How was she to know that there were different rules for some students?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 11:28 
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A teacher in my school - boys PE teacher - became a Maths teacher halfway through my time at school, much to everyone's great bemusement. I guess he must have been doing Open University or something, behind the scenes.

We were all used to seeing him bob about the place in his trackies and a sweatshirt. It was very confusing to see him suddenly in 'proper' teacher clothes, a shirt and a tie.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 15:20 
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At the first school where I taught, the qualified PE teachers also taught academic subjects.

And most teachers were expected to help out with games.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 17:12 
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I like this book as well. It is interesting to see a new teacher, rather than a pupil; this does seem to become formulaic during the Swiss years. There is quite a variety of girls involved and we don't yet have the obsession with the Maynards we have later. The scene with Biddy and the blacking is still amusing; I love the idea of Matron vacuuming her hair. I do feel it runs out of steam somewhat, the last part of the book feels rushed and the whole scenario with Mary-Lou just fizzles out.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 19:01 
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One of my relations did a B.Ed. in education in the UK in the 1970s (I think there was some sort of recruitment drive). They had to choose two subjects (history and maths in their case), then lessons were roughly split three ways between the two subjects and education.

That was a teacher training college attached to a university, presumably they were churning out teachers with two subjects.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 19:32 
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Noreen wrote:
Well, I suspect that there have always been people in teaching who are qualified in two differing subjects, or have enough professional experience in a subject to teach it - come to that, my 4th year Maths master had degrees in Maths and Latin and spoke fluent Italian, but then he was something like fifteen years older than Kathy.

Where someone teaches two related subjects, I guess they may well have a two-subject degree at double ancillary level (or at least that was what it was called when I was at uni) - particularly popular with languages undergraduates.


I think that's I would call a Joint Honours degree. Most of the people I knew who set off to take one ended up dropping one of the subjects - it was much more work than "half of two degrees", but not as well regarded. Not sure if they still offer them these days.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The New Mistress at the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Oct 2017, 20:08 
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Caroline wrote:
Noreen wrote:
Well, I suspect that there have always been people in teaching who are qualified in two differing subjects, or have enough professional experience in a subject to teach it - come to that, my 4th year Maths master had degrees in Maths and Latin and spoke fluent Italian, but then he was something like fifteen years older than Kathy.

Where someone teaches two related subjects, I guess they may well have a two-subject degree at double ancillary level (or at least that was what it was called when I was at uni) - particularly popular with languages undergraduates.


I think that's I would call a Joint Honours degree. Most of the people I knew who set off to take one ended up dropping one of the subjects - it was much more work than "half of two degrees", but not as well regarded. Not sure if they still offer them these days.


They are still called Joint Honours, at least that's what we term them as i.e. if you study History of Art and English Literature is a joint Hons degree. Although with that degree, you could only teach English, assuming you study sufficient credits (in order to do the Postgrad teaching qual in Scotland).*

* Secondary teaching anyway. Primary teaching you can have any degree.

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