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Can I refuse to be observed?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Fatimas2016, Mar 17, 2016.

  1. Fatimas2016

    Fatimas2016 New commenter

    Hello, I have inflammatory Bowel Disease and I haven't told my managers about it. I will be observed by another manager from a different department. I don't want to be observed because:

    -I will be teaching new groups of students and I don't even know all of them. I have only taught some of them twice and they can hardly speak English

    - I will be in a room where there is no smartboard, PC,any IT equipment etc. It is like 20 years ago and I cannot borrow computers,either.

    - Stress can trigger flare-ups

    - I am on zero contract hours, too.

    There is enough stress from work, anyway. They haven't observed any permanent staff. Why would they start with part-timers?
    Thank you
  2. Fatimas2016

    Fatimas2016 New commenter

    Btw IBD is classed as a disability.
  3. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    All sympathy for the IBD, you are very brave about it.

    Zero hours? Are you in a school or a FE College?

    Best wishes

  4. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If you haven't told your managers about your IBD (sympathies - our daughter has it - it's horrible), no specific duty is triggered for you. They cannot be held responsible for something they know nothing about.

    In answer to your question: no, you cannot refuse to be monitored by your managers. It's their job and you risk being in breach of contract if you do so. They can start with whomever they please, as long as the reason for doing so is not a discriminatory one or, if it appears it may be, they have an objectively justifiable business reason for doing so.
  5. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    In some ways, this looks like an advantage. They can't expect you to prepare exciting PowerPoints or similar, and there is not the danger that the ICT lets you down, as has happened to me at an observation.
    grumpydogwoman and DYNAMO67 like this.
  6. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Make sure that, even if they don't demand a copy of your lesson plan for the observer, that you give them something which has the background information. Whilst some observers seem to think there is no excuse for anything, I'm sure some will take notice of the fact that you've only met the group twice, and a group list with the language difficulties will give them some perspective on why some students are not participating as fully as they might like. Obviously make sure your planning takes the language difficulties into account.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Explain your situation and take it from there

    There are many other ways to ensure you are fulfilling your duties than lesson observation, which has been shown to be poor at identifying good teaching.
  8. Godmeister

    Godmeister Occasional commenter

    If you don't/haven't told your managers about your health issues then you can't expect them to take them into account when planning lesson observations.

    In terms of not having ICT etc in the room you teach well that's not really got anything to do with whether or not you should be observed in there, sorry to say. No technology in the room means you can't be expected to use it.

    The advice from @frustum about the language issues seems sound to me. I'd explain it to your observer before the lesson as well.
    grumpydogwoman and phlogiston like this.
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    A sane observation policy would involve some sort of negotiation over which lesson to be observed: there are practical issues of who's available when, as well as professional issues over what might be the best opportunity to give some useful information to observed and to observer. Ideally a teacher might be able to say, "I think teaching X class about Y on Friday will be rubbish, I want ideas to improve, please come to my rubbish lesson and see if you can help me;" and the observer on another occasion might be able to say, "I hear you are a star at teaching 10F the Periodic Table while speaking Russian - can I come and learn from you?"
    But to come to the OP's problem, it might be worth at least having a chat with the observer in advance and see if a different lesson might be possible, or to give some background.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Make sure that you say the following:

    "Morning. Now let me see. This is our third session together. Am I right? The third. Does anyone have any questions from last time?"

    Make good use of gesture to support your English. Don't turn your back. Ensure they can see your face.

    Try to come up with a lesson objective that means you can do some practical activities. I have no idea what you are teaching though or I would give a concrete example.
    Anonymity and FrankWolley like this.

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