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Learning Walk panic!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by hbee1, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. hbee1

    hbee1 New commenter

    Had my first Learning Walk at my current school and it seems very formal compared to previous schools. A member of the department came in, sat and listened for around 15 minutes and looked at some of my books. We've already had a book scrutiny, so I'm not sure why my books were looked at? I had been picked up on my marking last term, so had started to mark more and in more depth, but I'm now terrified about the feedback I'm going to receive. Head of Faculty is feeding back to me tomorrow first thing, but I've had no indication of if it's okay. Also, Head of Department came in Period 5 unannounced to look at some books. Only stayed around 10 minutes, but still put me off and put me on edge! Help!!
    baitranger likes this.
  2. snugboro23

    snugboro23 New commenter

    You should certainly have been told the focus of the 'learning walk' beforehand.

    Indeed, it sounds like they came in to observe you and do an informal book scrutiny - how rude and unprofessional if they had told you it was anything but! As for the HOD to then come into your class with no prior notice, (again, very rude) it is no wonder you are on edge - they have acted very underhandedly in my view.

    Can you speak to a supportive colleague or union rep before the meeting as I think you need to share your concerns about these unsettling 'observations / scrutinies? I know that union reps have advised me, in the past, that - by and large - the same processes should be followed for all the teachers, not just singling one teacher out for extra book scrutinies etc. So I would also try to find out if your colleagues experienced the same observations as you.
  3. baitranger

    baitranger Occasional commenter

    In about 34 years of teaching, I never had anyone check my marking internally. Yes, it was seen by internal and external moderators but it was never scrutinised by management and I was never given any feedback on it by management. This absence of checking and scrutiny had zero effect on my classes' results. As long as my students' results were good, I was left to get on with it.
    I think marking is of marginal importance and is often a waste of time and effort. If it's so important, where is the evidence that it makes a difference to results? it all seems to be about appearances and meaningless rituals in education these days. Are they going to check the length of your hair next? Perhaps they will examine your shirt with a magnifying glass to see if there are any grubby marks on it.
    If your head of department really cares about your students' books, why doesn't he/she scrutinise their written work and take the students to task for any lack of effort, supporting you instead of trying to find fault?
    Tinker1255, Ohwell, tenpast7 and 13 others like this.
  4. install

    install Star commenter

    Check your Sch policy on Learning Walks.. 15 mins sounds excessive and bullish to me ..:cool:
    tall tales, Curae and agathamorse like this.
  5. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    A learning walk is someone going round the school, checking that there is a feeling of positive learning going on. picking up people in the corridor, supporting teachers with difficult groups.
    If you spend more than a couple of minutes in the room, unless there is a good reason ("let's look at this together Billy Wriggle...") it's becoming a low key observation. If books are scrutinised and feedback is given it's definitely an observation.
    Fighting against this could be uphill. Good luck.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  6. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I agree but am afraid that book scrutiny/folder checks by management are now common practice, at least they have been where I’ve worked as are learning walks. It’s sad that some managers ignore the evidence supporting what you’ve said. It says more about them than us, I think.
    lardylegs and agathamorse like this.
  7. agathamorse

    agathamorse Occasional commenter

    We’ve had 3 learning walks this term, each observer in the room for 20 minutes. This makes one hour of lesson obs of the three hours we are observed each year. They look at books and we get our feedback within 24 hours. Our books are also scrutinised under separate work analysis sessions too. We just hand in the requested books. It’s better than my last MAT which had full mocksteds each term with us having to prepare full lesson plans for every lesson and never knowing which lesson they were going to observe. Here we at least know which year group they are targeting each week.
    lardylegs, ATfan and install like this.
  8. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    All of the above is further assurance to me that I'm best off sticking with supply.

    Ok, pay is lower, but I have no desire to be in the middle of this Orwellian nightmare.
  9. Grandsire

    Grandsire Senior commenter

    The learning walk which took place recently where I work was carried out by two members of SLT (my line manager and the subject co-ordinator) and they stayed in my room for about 45 minutes, watching me teach at the board, looking through books and chatting to pupils as they worked about their targets. Subject co-ordinator had a tick-list of things we had to have on display in the room. It’s the third or fourth time this year they’ve checked my books. They left without saying anything to me, and I haven’t had any feedback yet.

    It felt, to me, a quite heavy-handed observation, not a learning walk.
    lardylegs, agathamorse and ATfan like this.
  10. drvs

    drvs Star commenter

    Panic. Terrified. On Edge. Help!

    Sounds like an Ofsted outstanding leadership team to me, congratulations on finding yourself in such a successful school.
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    To me, and I may be on my own with this, if I was looking at a school who did lots of book scrutiny, 'learning' walks, observations etcetera as described in some of the posts above, I would be thinking that the management of that school was rubbish at their job. That they don't really know what is happening in their schools unless they can measure it and that they don't really know what learning looks like which is why they have to spend so long looking for things to tick off.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Spot on @Stiltskin

    Pedantry point - if they sit down? It's not a walk.
  13. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    It's such an indictment of what schools have become. A while ago, I was in a school which was a very happy place to work. There was a new Head, after nearly twenty years of the old Head, and things did need to be perked up. He achieved it by supporting good teachers, good students, good practice and a good building. Yes, a couple of long-term staff left, but not many. He used to stroll arond the school at least once a day, dropping by, giving compliments to staff and students, jumping on evil-doers (not literally) and generally being supportive. Having a knock at the door and Mr S*******m come in was a pleasure.
    How things have changed.:(
    ATfan, Ohwell, lardylegs and 6 others like this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Oh, for the old days.

    My first head of department used to walk through my room regularly - it was a shortcut to the staffroom, and he'd perhaps pause for a moment to see what we were doing. He also used to have a quick look through the books of kids in his tutor group, which gave him a very small sample of marking across the department. None of it was in the least threatening. We also all felt able to ask for help and to say what we were struggling with, and we would get help, advice, disruptive child removed for a couple of lessons, etc.
    ATfan, lardylegs, 1970devon and 3 others like this.
  15. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    good point - 'learning' 'walk'
    lardylegs and agathamorse like this.
  16. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    I actually said something along these lines to my line manager today. His response was that it’s the downside of working in a fee paying institution.
  17. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Lead commenter

    They revel in it don't they some of these 'senior leaders'? Being nervous just boosts their egos and sense of self importance even further. Try not to show it no matter what you feel inside. Put on an act just like they do. "Book scrutinies" is the most rediculous phrase and it's called that with the intention of putting fear into you. They could just call it 'looking at the books' but of course that would never do as it doesn't instil a fear of being identified as not trying hard enough, not working long enough, not being good enough.
    Don't let them get to you.
    BetterNow, lardylegs, ATfan and 2 others like this.
  18. Bobbbs

    Bobbbs Occasional commenter

    Marking is pointless, but England loves pointless middle management tasks. It's why industry here is so poor compared with other Westernised nations. Compared to Ireland, it's hilarious how much is done for so little benefit.

  19. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    And if they spend the whole time typing on their laptops or writing furiously, are they really learning?
    BetterNow, agathamorse and lardylegs like this.

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