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Lesson Observations

Discussion in 'Primary' started by kentplumteach, May 3, 2012.

  1. We have just been informed by our head that she needs to observe us all this term. However, instead of the usual pre-arranged date and time, she has told us that new guidance states that observations must happen at any time during a period of one or two weeks, to replicate the scenario that ofsted might just turn up in the car park unannounced one morning. We now have the prospect of the head 'dropping in' to observe without any warning at any time during a two week period towards the end of term. The focus of the observation will be 'good quality teaching', looking at books and talking to children during the observation. Has anyone else experienced this? How do the unions view this move? There can be few jobs where staff are treated so badly and with such lack of respect - does whoever dreamed this up have any idea how incredibly stressful this will be for teachers? I am staggered and appalled by the way we are being treated these days, we seem to be 'public enemy number one' and not worthy of even basic standards of staff welfare - it seems the government just wants to give us a good kicking. Has anyone else been told the same?
     
  2. We have just been informed by our head that she needs to observe us all this term. However, instead of the usual pre-arranged date and time, she has told us that new guidance states that observations must happen at any time during a period of one or two weeks, to replicate the scenario that ofsted might just turn up in the car park unannounced one morning. We now have the prospect of the head 'dropping in' to observe without any warning at any time during a two week period towards the end of term. The focus of the observation will be 'good quality teaching', looking at books and talking to children during the observation. Has anyone else experienced this? How do the unions view this move? There can be few jobs where staff are treated so badly and with such lack of respect - does whoever dreamed this up have any idea how incredibly stressful this will be for teachers? I am staggered and appalled by the way we are being treated these days, we seem to be 'public enemy number one' and not worthy of even basic standards of staff welfare - it seems the government just wants to give us a good kicking. Has anyone else been told the same?
     
  3. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    All our observations are "drop ins".
     
  4. I think in some ways I would prefer this.
    There wouldn't have to be all singing all dancing lesson plans that I would agonise over for hours - I would be much more likely to just teach a normal lesson that fit in with my normal planning and just put that little bit of extra oomph into it if the head popped up. I think I would actually feel LESS pressure.
    That said I think it depends on your head, and how useful/supportive the process is.
     
  5. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'd prefer it as well. I have started to hate observations and so have stopped being anything like a half way decent teacher in them. Normally anyone could pop in and see a good lesson, but an 'observed' lesson never works so well.
     
  6. We're open plan - everyone drops in! If she is coming in to see what you do day in, day out, and not expecting an all singing - all dancing, laminated resources 'I know you're coming and I'm showing off' lesson, then it's a positive thing. I'm sure it will be fine - just do what you normally do. Teach, mark & assess, plan . . . . teach etc!
     
  7. Hi, had one of these "drop in" observations today from our head and got the same grade as when we had performance management, for which I spent hours planning , took the pressure off in a way and reasurred me that my teaching is at least consistant and good.
     
  8. Thank you all - you've made me feel much better! I think it was the thought of 2 weeks of watching the door, waiting for it to open (that ofsted feeling!!) that was freaking me out. Our head is lovely and very supportive so I'm not worried about that, its just a general 'put upon' feeling and general increase in pressure from above that is getting to me at the moment. Its such a shame that the government seems hell-bent on treating us like a bunch of incompetent, lazy shirkers who can't be trusted to do a professional job, when the reality is the total opposite. Thanks for putting a bit of perspective on it, although I still think its a lot to ask, especially at the end of a long half term with tired kids, monsoon conditions and sats etc going on!!
     
  9. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    ah, if only all heads..... You are right the governement is indeed hell-bent on attacking us but then that has been going on since the days of Baker/Thatcher - when they decided to pass laws forcing teachers to teach children to read and 'do sums', took 5 days off our holidays to force us to do the training we badly needed etc etc. Don't however run away with the thought that they are the only threat. Incompetent, power hungry, egotistical heads who want to run their schools on the cheap and without any effort on their own part are loving the current climate, watch out for a spike in capability procedures all over England as the new Appraisal systes beging to bite from September.
     
  10. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Lead commenter

    I suspect you haven't worked in the private sector ...
     
  11. As far as unions are concerned, observations should not be more than 3 hours within any performance management cycle. That includes drop ins. The new appraisal system is NOT mandatory and certainly not applicable until Septeber 2012. Union advice is to negotiate with Head & Govs, to keep the current policies of PM & Capability separate. I repeat, THIS IS NOT AN ENFORCEABLE MANDATORY POLICY.
     
  12. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    Our head usually timetables in observations. This term there are none timetabled in. Therefore I predict a drop-in scenario.
    Hence children and TA are well primed for what to do when door opens. Everyone pick up a pencil and look busy.
    TA = discreetly remove the 5 kids who haven't a clue what day it is to do some 'assessment' activity.
    Smart cookies - look perky and hang on every word I say.
    If I'm talking, everybody look at me as though I am a wizard. I know the secrets - you need to learn the secrets.
    The Question People - ask some questions, show some bloody interest in whatever it is I'm teaching at that moment.
    Most important - when HT approaches you, look incredibly ABSORBED IN YOUR LEARNING - you need to look a little bit bothered at being interrupted.
    What are you learning about - whatever Miss Lardy told us at the start of the lesson, of BLOODY COURSE!! Targets?? Look right here, Mr/Mrs - here they are in fine Comic Sans! Of course I can bloody read them! She's been teaching us for months!
    Always heads down, nobody shirking. You know there are Mini Mars Bars Involved if we get a GOOD!!!! Outstanding is for the Christians, we don't care, good is all we aim to be!!!


     
  13. I do understand how stressful this must be, and I would feel similar, but I suppose you do have to consider that in order to make a real difference to the progress of the children in your class, every lesson has to be (almost) the best you can make it to achieve that. I think that planned observations are a bit black and white as you spend more time than usual preparing, whereas really that one lesson does not represent the whole story behind the scenes, however outstanding it might be.
    I do think it's a good idea although I hate to admit it. To me, evidence that you're doing your job well shouldn't be a planned-for occasio, it should be every day, every lesson the best you can.
     
  14. I'm sure we all do. We are professionals and should be treated as such!
     
  15. CarrieV

    CarrieV Lead commenter

    I've got this year's children well trained too!
    Start early in September with the next lot and we'll be fine[​IMG]
    Another good tip. Always leave a spare chair on the same table as the top group and fill up all the other tables. The observer will hopefully head for the empty chair and speak to the children who usually have a vague idea of what's going on ( especially good when being observed by SIPs, LA advisors etc who don't know the children well)
    Oh, and move the top table from the back of the room too, that's another dead give away! If you stick them near the front ( with the empty chair of course,) you can sometimes convince the observer they are a mid ability group and the top group must therefore be fantastic!!
     

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