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Learning Walks Gone Crazy

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by tim98765, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. tim98765

    tim98765 New commenter

    This last 12 months most teachers within our school have had between 20 and 40 learning walks, often without notice. This is simply because we've been waiting for Ofsted to come.

    The head has ignored union documentation suggesting there should be a maximum of 3. The NASUWT show very little interest as staff at the school just largely accept what's going on.

    What can I do?
  2. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    I'm afraid that horse bolted over a decade ago in many schools. Not much you can do, bar find another career or become one of the SLT doing the learning walks!
  3. bonxie

    bonxie Lead commenter

    I'd be interested to know what the person doing the learning walks has gained from doing so many of them. Do they really have nothing more productive to do than walk around school all day?
  4. MissMultitask

    MissMultitask New commenter

    I would ask for detailed feedback from your visits so that you can 'improve' your practice. The notion is that teachers all need to improve, and be policed so ask for the 'evidence'. It will generate even more paperwork and admin, DOES anyone really care what is observed? suggest you have a meditation session when next on the prowl round to destress as exam prep and put a sign on your door- do not disturb:):)
    The constant policing of professionals is what is driving them to distraction, going off sick with stress, and leaving in droves. What other professsion would tolerate this nonsense? not the medical profession for one as I well know!;)
    ATfan, Bumptious, yodaami2 and 5 others like this.
  5. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

    The head has ignored union documentation suggesting there should be a maximum of 3. The NASUWT show very little interest as staff at the school just largely accept what's going on. This sums it up. Staff can't moan and expect the union to do something unless they are prepared to stand up and be counted.

    What can I do?[/QUOTE]
  6. MissMultitask

    MissMultitask New commenter

    Then inform your members to object and question after the 3 max guidance.
    Absolutely, if they just accept it, it becomes another erosion of teachers rights, causing yet more stress.
    Another gem is the departmental 'working lunch' that creeps in ' so 'we dont have to stay after school':eek: says who- ?? the career climbing new initiative bright n shiny Director of Whatever in their bid to curry favour with SLT and scale the dizzy heights....
    Bumptious and agathamorse like this.
  7. amysdad

    amysdad Established commenter

    I sometimes think that scrutiny in some schools is becoming more and more Pythonesque.

    First, the Ministry of Silly Walks decrees that "Learning" walks are important. So, you go to argue your case with the head, only to find that they are just contradicting you, the automatic gainsaying of anything you say. Fed up with this you leave, deciding that you'd prefer the "hitting on a head" lessons to reasoning with SMT....
    Bumptious and Mrsmumbles like this.
  8. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @MissMultitask: As most school lunch breaks are so short, 'working lunches' are a bloody con. You lose you lunch break but you still have to have after school meetings.

    @bonxie: At my last school, we had so many 'learning walks', 'drop ins', etc., it was like teaching in a goldfish bowl. Two members of the SMT (only one of whom was a teacher), and their 'assistants' (none of whom was a teacher), wandered around poking their noses into classrooms all day long, like policemen on the beat.
  9. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    So, who learns what from a learning walk? Just wondered. Never thought to ask before now. Now that I have left the lunatic asylum I am realizing just how mad everything was and beginning to question the insanity.
  10. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Observing other teachers (like calling meetings) is a status symbol, so far too many people got in on the act. As well as PM and HoD obs, SMT Learning Walks and Pop Ins, 2 i/cs, HoYs, HoPTs, etc, started to come in to lessons, 'just to get a feel of what was going on in the classroom'. Had nobody heard of Heisenberg? Every time someone comes into a classroom it's a disruption, even more so when they start wandering around looking in students' books and talking to them. On some days, three lessons out of five would have someone 'popping in'.
    ATfan, Bumptious, tenpast7 and 2 others like this.
  11. Edutainment12

    Edutainment12 New commenter

    Why can classroom teachers not have 'learning walks' on SLT once a term to see how the school is being led and suggest improvements?
  12. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    It does not work that way; 'leading by example' is frowned on by most SMTs due to the risk of exposing themselves as being no better, or worse, than the teachers upon whom they stand in judgement. Never once, in my entire teaching career, have I ever seen anyone senior to me teach a lesson.

    Many school managers would not welcome scrutiny by the people they manage, as the former might have difficulty in explaining, and justifying the importance, of what they do, and the latter might be appalled at how badly they are managed.
    ATfan, jobeth77, tenpast7 and 5 others like this.
  13. Happyregardless

    Happyregardless Occasional commenter

    Possibly an inflated ego perspective as the general tendency of the human mind is to think it can do a task better until actually doing it themselves. Anyone performing a 'learning walk' should still be a practising teacher IMHO.
    It's so easier to judge from afar without any or little knowledge of 'being on the front line'
  14. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    The union is toothless because the members don't....UNITE!!! Leaving just you.

    So I'm not sure what you can do!

    Me being me would whip their sorry asses and make myself union rep and sort it. But you have to be "the type". And be prepared to stick your neck out for what you believe in. It's what I'd do. What I did. I have nothing else to suggest while you remain a voice crying in the wilderness.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  15. Ex-teacher

    Ex-teacher Occasional commenter

    Agree, but would need to add that they should be learning walked themselves to check they can "walk the walk".

    During a recentish inspection a member of slt, who was known to slate lessons he visited, was judged as unsatisfactory. He, so rumour has it, started to tell the inspector it couldn't have been, as he'd done this, and done that.... the inspector stuck to his guns.

    Our slt chap was back learning walking, and criticising others, within a week.
  16. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    In my previous employment, part of my directed time as a TLR holder was to do a learning walk once a fortnight. I was given two sixth formers to help / make sure that I did them.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    When I moved from a school where 'learning walks' didn't happen, to one where they happened all too regularly (it always seemed to be the HT that 'popped in', I used to stop what I was doing, turn to the HT and say 'how lovely, Mr HT has come to see us' and then look at him expectantly to see what he wanted. Or I would say 'who would like to explain to Mr HT what we're doing just now?' To be honest, at the time I hadn't actually realised that's what they were - it never occurred to me that I was being checked up on - and it felt impolite to just ignore someone coming into my classroom and carry on. But then, when I did realise what was happening, I didn't change my response... and when the HT said 'carry on' or words to that effect, I happily turned away from him and completely blanked his presence as I carried on doing what I was doing in the first place. Nobody ever complained.
  18. Grandsire

    Grandsire Star commenter

    I approve of your strategy, Monicabelongame - it’s one I’ve used myself for many years.

    After two decades doing a damn good job, I resent the implication that I need to be frequently checked-up on by the newly-promoted to ensure I’m up to standard. I now ask for the opportunity to do a return visit to watch them teach. Strangely, they all seem to be a lot less keen to watch me now. Observations should work both ways - there’s a lot to be learned from watching a great teacher in action.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Funny. I did that too. Nor did it occur to me @monicabilongame that I was being scrutinised. I was just genuinely pleased to think someone was showing an interest!

    So I was always, "Hi. Welcome. Come in. Where would you like to sit? Do you need anything? Little Jimmy can tell you what we're up to."
  20. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Why not use the SLT member as an honorary TA. " Mr X ! So lovely to see you! Cedric doesn't have a partner for this activity.(because no one wants to work with him.) Could you maybe help him? Here is a mini whiteboard. Could you model the correct answers in this exercise on irregular verbs. Don't worry! If you've got GCSE French it will all come back to you!"

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