I'll post the whole of it because it bears reading. Utterly depressing. However did we get here? It's from Marc Smith who blogs here and is also on twitter https://psychologyineducation.wordpress.com/ I work in an amazing semi-rural North Yorkshire school. It’s a smaller than average school so it’s more intimate in many ways; the kids are well-behaved in the main, to the extent that visitors to the school often comment on how polite and courteous they are. According to Ofsted we are ‘Good’, but that was a few years ago. Those who know me or follow me on Twitter or read my blog will know that I have a passion for teaching and the learning process. We may have bumped into each other at events or conferences or you might have seen me present at ResearchED or Northern Rocks – education is what I do and love ‘doing’ it. My story begins in the summer term of 2014 with an unfavourable Local Authority review of the school and the resignation of our Head Teacher. An interim Head was appointed for the September with the intention to appoint permanently by either Christmas or Easter. We also appointed a new Deputy Head in September 2014. Understandably, one of the many things that needed looking at was the quality of teaching and learning, and this defines the limits of my story, which begins a little over a year ago. I began teaching in 2004 so I’ve been observed many times (three times by Ofsted). Generally speaking (apart from a couple of minor hiccups) I am considered a ‘good’ teacher and borderline ‘outstanding’ at several times throughout my career. Nevertheless, I was beginning to feel that I was coasting a little bit by the time the newly appointed Deputy Head Teacher made a surprising visit to my classroom in the autumn term of 2014. I knew the lesson was rather uninspiring, a belief confirmed by my observer who rated it as ‘requiring improvement’. [I probably need to point out here that my school retains lesson grading’s for ‘professional development’ purposes]. We had a good chat and we discussed improvements (group work, deeper questioning, pace) and I made lots of notes, intending to go away and do some homework, to reflect on my practice and return with a lesson more appropriate to my abilities and aspirations. Several weeks later the Deputy Head observed me again. It was a simple 20-minute check to see if I had implemented the advice in order to get myself back up to good. ‘Well’, said the Deputy Head, ‘you’ve done everything we asked you to do. But not enough for a good’. I was disappointed but not beaten. I was put on the next ‘phase’ of the improvement programme and paired with another teacher and we were both under the guidance of a Local Authority advisor. I found it slightly odd to be paired with a drama teacher but I was enthusiastic. I also arranged to observe another teacher in the school to get a feel of why my lessons were lacking that ‘certain something’. The intervention went really well and I have to admit I did enjoy it. The three of us would sit down and discuss areas for improvement, free from the confines of lesson grades, and the LA advisor reported back to the Deputy Head that I had made excellent progress. During this time the Local Authority returned for a follow-up review and all staff were observed. With some trepidation I approached my observer and asked for some feedback. To my delight the feedback was incredibly positive and, although no grade was given, the magic word ‘good’ popped up on several occasions. I went home that day with a big smile on my face. In July we were all observed again by members of SLT. This was my chance to shine, my chance to implement all the things I had gathered from the last few months and produce that solidly good lesson. I smiled politely as the SLT member entered my classroom. I was enthused. Feedback didn’t go well. I hadn’t applied Blooms Taxonomy to my questioning, pace dropped on a couple of occasions and progress wasn’t visible. Verdict: Requires Improvement. I was more than disappointed. I had the summer holidays to recover and it was a wonderful summer both personally and professionally. I attended and spoke at ResearchED Scotland and the ResearchED National Conference, so I used this opportunity to pick some brains and get a better feeling of where I was going wrong. I attended some amazing sessions by some outstanding people but I couldn’t get past the feeling that I was some sort of fraud – after all, I was a teacher requiring improvement! I retuned to school in September hoping that the positives (the enthusiasm of the LA advisor to my progress and the positive outcome of the LA review) would counter my July observation. Unfortunately this wasn’t the case. Exam results for my subjects were better than the previous year but still not good enough and my predictions (tracking) were a little wonky. I was placed on the next level of the intervention – one stage away from capability proceedings. I’ve had one more observation since then. By this time however I had lost any faith I might have had in the process. I felt the lesson went well, I emphasised collaboration and independent learning; the pupils enjoyed the lesson and felt that they had learned a lot. The observation schedule looks positive – lots of ‘yes’s’ in answer to questions that begin ‘Did the lesson…?’ or ‘Did pupils…?” …yet the conclusion is still ‘requires improvement’. I leave teaching in December, with no plans to return to the classroom.