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My TOK teacher

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Hi guys! I apologize in advance for the ranting you're about to encounter.

 

My school is ... how do I put this tactfully... not the best IB school. I've gotten used to that - it's a somewhat rural public school, after all. [For non-US people: public school is the free one that literally anyone can get into, while private is expensive and exclusive.] There are still some crazy intelligent students in my year group, though, so I manage.

 

But my TOK teacher, guys. She's really bothering me.

 

Our TOK period is one class period for one trimester of the year. We did all the basic TOK knowledge stuff last year and this year is meant to be for writing our EEs and prescribed titles. A ten-week trimester to write both on top of IAs for at least two other subjects and our usual coursework is hardly pleasant, but we knew it was coming. I'd done some of the preliminary work over the summer for my English EE - choosing a book, coming up with a couple ideas for questions, and whatnot - though many of my classmates hadn't.

 

That said, the way Mrs. M is going about this is driving me absolutely bonkers! When she was explaining the inspiration process with an English EE as an example, she spent more time going into history, film, and psychology and almost none on analysis of literary technique. Which, you'll recall, is the point of an English EE. It hurt having to sit there and listen to that knowing that if I gave that same advice on here, I'd probably get my moderator status revoked. And I swear she's talked more about how to cite things and take notes [both of which we've been doing quite competently for six years] than what we actually ought to be doing on our EEs! It's a running joke that you could write an EE on how to cite properly with all the time M has spent waxing philosophical on it.

 

She keeps giving information that's iffy at best and assumes that we know all sorts of random minutiae about the EE and IB in general. Most of my classmates have basically given up and just come to me when they have a question because of my background dealing with this stuff here. Which is nice. But it shouldn't be necessary, you know? Literally the only other person who knew that there isn't a minimum word count of 3500 was the girl who's already had two sisters do the DP. [There isn't a minimum word count, period.] Everyone else was freaking out because they only had 3300 or whatever. And man, the reaction when I mentioned that the abstract doesn't count in the 4000.

 

There are people doing topics that blur the boundaries between subjects so badly that I'm not even sure what subject they plan to count it under, because she said that was fine. There are people whose papers have little to no analysis due to shoddy planning and execution, because she okayed their work. For Pete's sake, one person's talking about whether Nicki Minaj's song Anaconda objectifies women.

 

Her apparent plan of action is 1. choose subject and come up with at least 3 possible directions, 2. write question AND THESIS for all three, 3. pick topic, 4. research. WHAT. How on earth does it make sense to write a question and thesis before you're beyond utterly basic knowledge about the topic, especially when there's a variety of subjects involved? She holds every subject to the same standards [like formatting, effort necessary to gather information, etc] which is entirely ridiculous. Thank goodness no one's doing a Group 4 - they'd have died of stress by now.

 

But here's the worst part.

 

In her original timeline, she planned to give us five days to research, six days to write the first draft, four to edit and revise, and then a long weekend to finalize before we turned the final copy in. That's 18 days. On top of, if I remember correctly, a WT2 for English, the IA for history, an IA and concerts for all the music students, midterms, and the general workload that goes with IB. Oh, and college applications.

 

And she thought this was perfectly reasonable, and did not understand why we were complaining.

 

[it was worse for me, as I was working ridiculous hours at a Halloween store. I wouldn't get home until nearly midnight some nights and then I'd have to do four classes' worth of homework and an EE and still try to sleep. I was actually a zombie.]

 

We did manage to convince her to give us a full day solely for writing. She's grudgingly accepted that you cannot have a revision period when literally no one has their EE completed. And I'm pretty sure we've gotten her to extend the deadline back another week or so. I think. I'm honestly so confused as to schedules right now. So at least there's that. But my god, it was a battle.

 

To summarize: Mrs. M tells the class incorrect or debatable information, has us work in ways that simply do not work with the varying requirements, wastes our time by giving us information we already know instead of what we don't, and apparently thinks we have nothing else to do but write EEs.

 

*long incoherent noise of frustration, anger, some despair, and blind rage*

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This is where the IBO should, in my opinion, be vetting schools properly before allowing them to offer the diploma. :sadnod: They take basically no responsibility for teacher training, and if your teachers have little to no interest in educating themselves, you end up with exactly this kind of situation. Variable delivery of the IB is responsible for so much of the rubbish people go through.

 

Fortunately we didn't get given an EE timetable (other than the deadline :P) but I certainly had my fair share of problems caused by my teachers! Mostly relating to adamant refusal that the IB syllabus was not = the A Level syllabus, because they were all used to teaching A Levels and we covered all sorts of irrelevant stuff that way. But also their refusal to talk to each other, culminating in every single IA bar the English oral presentation suddenly being demanded simultaneously near the IB2 deadlines! They don't realise how stressful it is or how other subjects impact on each other - and I think often forget there are 6! Nightmare.

 

Posts like this validate EXACTLY why IBSurvival is so important, IMO. 

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Hi guys! I apologize in advance for the ranting you're about to encounter.

 

My school is ... how do I put this tactfully... not the best IB school. I've gotten used to that - it's a somewhat rural public school, after all. [For non-US people: public school is the free one that literally anyone can get into, while private is expensive and exclusive.] There are still some crazy intelligent students in my year group, though, so I manage.

 

But my TOK teacher, guys. She's really bothering me.

 

Our TOK period is one class period for one trimester of the year. We did all the basic TOK knowledge stuff last year and this year is meant to be for writing our EEs and prescribed titles. A ten-week trimester to write both on top of IAs for at least two other subjects and our usual coursework is hardly pleasant, but we knew it was coming. I'd done some of the preliminary work over the summer for my English EE - choosing a book, coming up with a couple ideas for questions, and whatnot - though many of my classmates hadn't.

 

That said, the way Mrs. M is going about this is driving me absolutely bonkers! When she was explaining the inspiration process with an English EE as an example, she spent more time going into history, film, and psychology and almost none on analysis of literary technique. Which, you'll recall, is the point of an English EE. It hurt having to sit there and listen to that knowing that if I gave that same advice on here, I'd probably get my moderator status revoked. And I swear she's talked more about how to cite things and take notes [both of which we've been doing quite competently for six years] than what we actually ought to be doing on our EEs! It's a running joke that you could write an EE on how to cite properly with all the time M has spent waxing philosophical on it.

 

She keeps giving information that's iffy at best and assumes that we know all sorts of random minutiae about the EE and IB in general. Most of my classmates have basically given up and just come to me when they have a question because of my background dealing with this stuff here. Which is nice. But it shouldn't be necessary, you know? Literally the only other person who knew that there isn't a minimum word count of 3500 was the girl who's already had two sisters do the DP. [There isn't a minimum word count, period.] Everyone else was freaking out because they only had 3300 or whatever. And man, the reaction when I mentioned that the abstract doesn't count in the 4000.

 

There are people doing topics that blur the boundaries between subjects so badly that I'm not even sure what subject they plan to count it under, because she said that was fine. There are people whose papers have little to no analysis due to shoddy planning and execution, because she okayed their work. For Pete's sake, one person's talking about whether Nicki Minaj's song Anaconda objectifies women.

 

Her apparent plan of action is 1. choose subject and come up with at least 3 possible directions, 2. write question AND THESIS for all three, 3. pick topic, 4. research. WHAT. How on earth does it make sense to write a question and thesis before you're beyond utterly basic knowledge about the topic, especially when there's a variety of subjects involved? She holds every subject to the same standards [like formatting, effort necessary to gather information, etc] which is entirely ridiculous. Thank goodness no one's doing a Group 4 - they'd have died of stress by now.

 

But here's the worst part.

 

In her original timeline, she planned to give us five days to research, six days to write the first draft, four to edit and revise, and then a long weekend to finalize before we turned the final copy in. That's 18 days. On top of, if I remember correctly, a WT2 for English, the IA for history, an IA and concerts for all the music students, midterms, and the general workload that goes with IB. Oh, and college applications.

 

And she thought this was perfectly reasonable, and did not understand why we were complaining.

 

[it was worse for me, as I was working ridiculous hours at a Halloween store. I wouldn't get home until nearly midnight some nights and then I'd have to do four classes' worth of homework and an EE and still try to sleep. I was actually a zombie.]

 

We did manage to convince her to give us a full day solely for writing. She's grudgingly accepted that you cannot have a revision period when literally no one has their EE completed. And I'm pretty sure we've gotten her to extend the deadline back another week or so. I think. I'm honestly so confused as to schedules right now. So at least there's that. But my god, it was a battle.

 

To summarize: Mrs. M tells the class incorrect or debatable information, has us work in ways that simply do not work with the varying requirements, wastes our time by giving us information we already know instead of what we don't, and apparently thinks we have nothing else to do but write EEs.

 

*long incoherent noise of frustration, anger, some despair, and blind rage*

 

 

You should send this letter to IBO. There are too many cases like this and the students are those who struggle with them.

IBO should be aware about the quality of teaching versus the program's difficulty. Otherwise IBO should make the program easier.

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This is one reason why I had private tutoring in my final year! And a good thing too: the tutors were faaar better than my English teacher (not surprising considering they were IB English examiners), which saved me for the finals ..  lol.  I hear you loud and clear!

 

My school wasn't too bad though, on the whole. But with the recent huge expansion of the programme, the problem seems more widespread. And I think there are a lot of teachers who don't have their heart in teaching IB - they are forced into it. :(

 

I agree with Sandwich that the IBO should take some responsibility for this.

Edited by Blackcurrant

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