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How many observations should teachers have?

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by stress_head, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. Hi,
    Wondering if anyone can help with this one....
    First day back after the Christmas break the head of our school told all teaching staff she would be observing a lesson next week. All the staff have already had performance management observations.
    I thought SMT were only supposed to do 1 observation per year unless there is a cause for concern. Am I right? Am I wrong?
    Are teaching staff right to be unhappy about this unexpected observation?
    Any advice on this would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Hi,
    Wondering if anyone can help with this one....
    First day back after the Christmas break the head of our school told all teaching staff she would be observing a lesson next week. All the staff have already had performance management observations.
    I thought SMT were only supposed to do 1 observation per year unless there is a cause for concern. Am I right? Am I wrong?
    Are teaching staff right to be unhappy about this unexpected observation?
    Any advice on this would be much appreciated.
     
  3. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    Performance Management observations are limited to 3 hours per year.
    Leadership team observations for monitoring the standards of teaching within the school more generally are not limited.
     
  4. Thank you!
     
  5. Why should you be unhappy about these observations?
    if you are doing a good job..........
     
  6. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    doesn't matter if someone's doing a good job or not. observations aren't something anyone really looks forward to, because even if you're normally outstanding, anything could happen in a lesson and go horribly wrong.
    people DO get nervous, however good they are. and besides all that, there are rules to be followed about observations. if you know they're being ignored or twisted to suit SMT, it doesn't help anyone.
     
  7. Tafkam is absolutely right. You can only be seen 3 times formally for your own performance management cycle. Outside of this you can be observed for sharing good practice, as part of a development programme of your skills or as part of monitoring processes within school. There is no limit to this though obviously you would expect a sensible approach.
    I'm an AST and when working with colleagues I have been asked by the Head to observe them once a week over a period of six weeks whilst engaging in a supportive coaching role with them.
    They can also observe me once a week.
     
  8. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    observations should be 3 hours max in total, with a max of 1 hour solely on PM. they should be multipurpose across PM/teaching and learning.
    i've been talking a lot to my regional rep about it this week, and that's what she's telling me.



     
  9. tafkam

    tafkam Occasional commenter

    It may be what union reps would like, emilystrange, but it just isn't true.
     
  10. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    has been agreed with our LEA, apparently. for formal observations, of course. sharing expertise is different, but i imagine that what is dressed up as that is too often turned into full scale obs...
    the reasons given for my next obs are 'i want to set your pm targets' and 'i haven't seen you teach yet' which just isn't good enough. i've already had two hour long obs which were 'to tick boxes' so i'm a bit fed up.

     
  11. It might well have been agreed with the LA, but that doesn't make it binding on schools, especially the 1 hours worth for PM.
     
  12. NUT position is that unions and schools should agree the number and duration of observations at a school level so that staff and SLT are clear about what can be expected. We have one hour PM, half a lesson to observe AfL and half a lesson to observe creative teaching. Only the PM observation can be used for PM purposes. Emily, a couple of alarm bells rang in your last post: 1 Your PM targets should be set before the October half term - that's a legal deadline. Secondly, YOU set your PM targets in AGREEMENT with your line-manager: they can NOT be imposed on you. And the second reason you were given is also not good enough. If you haven't been seen teaching yet, an observation needs to be agreed that focuses on some aspect of your PM. If you have already had two hourse of observation, you have the feedback and can talk to your LM to agree when the next PM based observation takes place. I suggest you/other staff start talking urgently to your Unions to see whether your school's processes are acceptable.
     
  13. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    IN addition.... a head teacher can see any lessons they like.

    A teacher over whom there is concern about performance, or who has had unsatisfactory observations can be seen more frequently to support and ensure progression towards better teaching practice.
     
  14. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    believe me, the unions ARE involved.
     
  15. You should try working in a special measures school. You wouldn't be complaining about that level of observation then, I assure you.
     
  16. If the Tories win the election expect more observations than you have in your worst nightmare.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/tories-serve-notice-on-poor-teachers-1862404.html
    Just in case teaching isn't stressful enough...
    When I read articles like this I am very glad I decided to retire when I did.

     
  17. paulie86

    paulie86 New commenter

    Or even a notice to improve school! I had about 12 last year. In various guises.
     
  18. becky70

    becky70 New commenter

    SMT can do as many as they like - they're responsible for standards in the school. However, people have the right to grumble especially, if they are causing excessive stress and anxiety. Are they threatening or supportive?
    There is a right to work life balance and decent mental health and you don't lose that right because your school is NTI or SM. Talk to your union.
    I write as one who was made ill by her SMT even though our school never went into SM or NTI! I would have been happy with 20+ observations a year if they'd actually been accompanied by useful advice on how to improve. Instead, it was just part of the process which destroyed my confidence. The thought of being observed now terrifies me.
     
  19. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    if my observations had a point or purpose, i'd be fine with them. but they haven't. 'ticking boxes' just isn't good enough.
     
  20. So, you refuse to accept them: if the obs has not got a valid, fully defined focus, then you should refuse. Of course, you could then go through with it and when the feedback is less than satisfactory, you should make a formal complaint against the observer and insist that they have training in how to observe a lesson before they see you again. Or, if it's a repeated problem, take a grievance out against the individual or the headteacher - if it's their policy of observation that is at fault, Get your union involved to support you and your colleagues. From personal experience, in a former school, the headteacher all but accused me of being able to teach an observed lesson but not teach properly the rest of the time. I challenged the head to come into any lesson with not notice: needless to say, she didn't and when the accusation about my teaching was raised again, a few months later, I told her that she had no evidence as she had not taken me up on my offer so she should either put up or shut up. Again, I once threatened a member of SMT with: if you enter my classroom, I will leave it and leave you to teach the class. My bluff wasn't called but I was more than prepared to follow my threat through. (Especailly, as it was a not particularly pleasant class that was to be observed!)
     

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