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3 observations in 1 week?

Discussion in 'New teachers' started by Gleeful, Feb 3, 2011.

  1. Is this acceptable?
    All by SLT.
    They are trying to remove me from my post, but still.
    Ringing my Union tomorrow.
  2. Hi
    Three in one week is a lot. I assume that they are provisding full written and verbal feedback with developmental points linkied to the NQT standards and with targets that are also devekopmental with success criteria? If the observations are by separate SLT people how are they communicating with each other and co-ordinating the targets with enough time for you to address any issues?
    If it is just drop in and observe and just criticisim of the lessons and meaningless targets like 'teach more engaging lessons' make sure all pupils are on task etc. then it could be taken as oppressive and harrassment.
    Do call the union for specific help and advice.
  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    On the other hand, the OP has cryptically mentioned that they are trying to 'remove her/him from the post', so for all we know this could be part of the school's/LA's agreed strategy for supporting a struggling member of staff. Observation is a crucial part of such support and fewer than 3 a week - if there are real grounds for concern about a new teacher's performance - will have no impact whatsoever.
  4. I don't agree. Heaping pressure on isn't always going to help. It really depends on the feedback and extra help you're being given in addition to the observation. A great analogy that I think James wrote on here that stuck with me: "you can't fatten a pig by weighing it all the time"...I don't think having 3 obs a week is really giving you time to reflect and work on the feedback they give you from each one.
    I am in a slightly similar situation where I may fail NQT although by the sound of it my school are much more supportive than yours. I am being observed once a week by an SLT member who is an AST in my subject area, she gives me targets and teaching tips and it's helping me enormously. She's pointed out things that have really helped me across the board and we're going to plan some lessons collaboratively. I am also observed every now and again by the NQT coordinator, and my faculty leader and deputy head. 3 times a week however with different SLT mebmers and I'd start to feel persecuted.
    Good luck Gleeful, I hope they go well. Try not to worry too much!
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Yes, I've used that myself. However, if a pig isn't weighed, you don't know if it's getting any fatter and with NQTs, letting poor performance go on can lead to absolute failure and the end of their careers.
    Everyone assumes observation is about finding things to criticise negatively; with struggling staff, it's vital to (a) find things they're doing well regularly and not only praise them but assist them in developing these further, (b) identify exactly what it is that's making performance 'poor' and help them eradicate it.
    You call it 'heaping pressure on' - I've seen an NQT fail the year and their misery was heart-breaking. I felt if we'd been able to do more it could have been avoided.
  6. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    I agree that it depends on the way these are being carried out. I'm in and out of classrooms all the time, but not formally observing. We've worked hard to develop an open door culture, and staff see observation as an integral part of their development. It wasn't always this way though. For a long time "observation" had negative connotations amongst the staff.
    If the observations are genuinely supportive and developmental I don't think that 3 a week is too excessive. I'm guessing they will become less frequent as things improve.
  7. If all SLT at all schools used observation in this way then I'm sure you'd be right. I am sure 3 observations per week could be helpful in some circumstances especially if the observers were constructive in the way you describe. However, the bit of what you said that I didn't agree with was that less than 3 obs a week would have "no impact whatsoever". That's not necessarily true. As I said, I'm being observed once a week most weeks (sometimes twice) and that's really helping me, yet I don't (at the moment) feel constantly stressed out to the point of not being able to work effectively. I had 1 week where I had 3 observations last term and by the time they were over I was so knackered that I didn't plan my lessons properly for the next day. I had spent so much time focusing on the observed lessons that I let the other ones slide. But then the next day I had 3 "friendly pop ins" from different members of SLT including the head..that taught me :)

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