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Observation by SLT

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by Tiggy99, Nov 24, 2018.

  1. Tiggy99

    Tiggy99 New commenter

    I am in a long term job share supply position. I am leaving in four weeks although my agency don’t want me to share that with the school yet. I have been told that I may be observed at the end of the week by SLT. Where do I stand on this? Thanks.
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Perhaps go back to the agency and discuss the matter with them. It might now be the best time to let the school know you are leaving so the school can prepare. As far as the school are concerned they don't know you are leaving and if they think you are going to be there after Christmas perhaps they want to observe your lesson to see all is well. If you are leaving at Christmas an observation may not be deemed as so important by the SLT.

    Others of course may have a different view.

    It is always tricky when to tell a school you are leaving since they may not like it and of course will cause them some difficulty since it means finding someone else and all the upheaval that goes with that. Of course the school can let you go at a moment's notice so it works both ways.
    agathamorse and JohnJCazorla like this.
  3. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Presumably you think it's not going to go well, or you'd be confident about it?
    SLT have a responsibility to monitor teaching and learning, which is entirely reasonable, so I wouldn't expect them to capitulate immediately and say they won't observe. Clearly this revolves in part around your imminent departure and whether you are prepared to go public about it.
    If it goes well, you could ask for this to be fed back to the agency, which would be to your benefit.
    agathamorse, JohnJCazorla and pepper5 like this.
  4. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Sensible advice there from pepper.

    If they want to observe you of course they can, but if they knew you were leaving they may want to curtail the visit and prioritise another member of staff.

    I like Skeoch's suggestion how an observation could be beneficial to you too. In fact I asked one school for one, so I could add it to my portfolio for future work.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  5. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    The observation could well be a ticky-box activity for SLT to prove they are Actually Doing Something Useful and so must be done. However if the observer knows it's a waste of time beforehand and still walks in the room then you can be confident that it'll be Good (or whatever is the new Acceptable) simply because any other outcome takes more time. So you should announce your departure before Friday for that reason.

    Conversely, the school may find your replacement quickly and throw you out on the street asap but I'd say that's a small risk, especially as if the Cheapie is known about now then you'd be thrown out anyway. Trust, loyalty and ethics are minor irritations compared to Money, especially in supply.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  6. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    If anybody observes me during supply, I will walk

    The main reason I am doing supply is to avoid the Orwellian state that has crept into schools.

    I note some people are saying that this is reasonable. I believe it is not so. You are a trained professional who has learned how to teach. How often are doctors observed by other doctors? Or any other professional? It didn't happen when I was at school, and standards were far, far higher in almost every respect.

    Plus, a lot of these SLT types have only got to where they have by kissing a lot of backsides; there is often absolutely no evidence they can do a better job than anybody else.

    Increasingly, I am finding that they are young (in academies), so they have zero right to watch an old hand like me.
  7. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    Wait! I thought that if you were supply, they could not observe you? That is what I was told last year.
    However, this year, I am continuing a long term supply role until the end of December. I was struggling with a year 11 group and was promised support. Instead, all I got was observations. Basically, I felt like I was put of capability (unofficially). They have also increased my timetable and teaching load after what was agreed last year before my supply job was extended. Two weeks ago, I discovered I had extra duties as well. I've also been taken for cover on PPA as well.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  8. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Don't believe everything you hear.
  9. ATfan

    ATfan Star commenter

    They are not just young in academies I've found and I know because many would say that I am also still young (I qualified at age 24 and am now in my late 30s).
    pepper5 likes this.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    if you regard observations as
    1. Looking for a reason to 'support' you out
    2. Part of Performance Management
    then there is no need to observe supply because they can put you out of the door for no reason with no notice and PM is for permanent teachers only. However other reasons can exist to observe staff, especially as Learning Walks are starting to look like observations in some schools.
    @a1976 are you in a strong enough position to go to your HoD and/or SLT and say?
    "I'm really struggling with your expectations of me and I don't think I'm delivering them well enough. So I think it's just best if I leave immediately."
    By strong enough, will you suddenly watch them back down or will you pick up other work asap at this busy time of year? Supply is full of these petty power games and not just over pay, which is with an agency anyway. PPA is a separate power game with the Cover Organiser incidentally.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. Missied2

    Missied2 New commenter

    In terms of where you 'stand' you can't really refuse to let SLT in the room however I think it is fair to ensure you know what the purpose of the observation is. Are you able to have a chat with SLT to check how likely it is that you will be observed?
    agathamorse likes this.
  12. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    SLT can observe Supply Teachers (or any other member of staff) if they choose, they are responsible for standards in the school and its their decision how to maintain them. I have known Supply Teachers to refuse observations and have walked out but always ones who didn't really need the job.

    If SLT knew you weren't staying after Christmas then they probably wouldn't bother but your dilemma is whether to tell them this. I would be reluctant to do so if it means going against the wishes of your agency who after all are your employer. Also telling the school might mean you find yourself being replaced soon. But I would let them know on the Monday of the final week you will not be back after the holiday to give them time to find a replacement (and leave a handover).

    This is what I would do if I was seriously worried about the observation, On the morning of the observation my car would "suddenly" develop a fault (or you might fall ill in some way), I would let the agency know as soon as possible so they could send in another teacher for that day. SLT would have to reschedule the observation which would mostly likely be in the new term by which time you will be gone. Its only a "little" fib and since you will not be paid for that day you are not defrauding anybody.

    Don't feel guilty about it , no one else will.
    a1976 likes this.
  13. a1976

    a1976 Established commenter

    I'm meeting with them tomorrow afternoon. I'm finding my mental health deteriorating. PM me and I will tell you the rest.
    agathamorse and Northern_Miss like this.
  14. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    I would point out to them that you are finding the ‘observations’ of your teaching unhelpful and stressful... instead you wish to observe other teachers with that Year 11 Class, who currently have a better relationship with the students.
    JohnJCazorla and agathamorse like this.
  15. Northern_Miss

    Northern_Miss New commenter

    Interesting that the supply agency has said this - you would think their dishonesty (by omission) would damage their future relationship with the school... it will probably hurt yours, anyhow.

    I would go back to the agency first of all and explain the situation. Then again ask if you can inform the school that you are leaving... If they say no and the observation goes ahead, what’s the worst that could happen? The school asks you to leave at the end of term? Wait a minute, you already planned to do that! The agency won’t care, especially if you’ve already admitted the school isn’t a good fit for you.

    I was observed in one school on long term supply, and in another was not. So I guess it’s a bit of a lottery...
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. Tiggy99

    Tiggy99 New commenter

    Thank you everyone. I should point out that I am only 2 days a week and have been there since September. I am in EarlyYears, was an LA advisor previously. The school is under 50 percent subscribed and has majority supply staff. I have also not been informed officially that I am going to be observed or the purpose. I have no reason to believe that the observation will not go well. However, practice and ethos in the school are poor and I don’t see why I should go through this now!
    gingerhobo48 and agathamorse like this.
  17. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    Totally agree. Although unfortunately the observation or learning walks have increasing seeped into supply territory.

    Sometimes because the useless managers don't realise that supply staff aren't employed by the school, so any of this doesn't apply.

    However, some still do it regardless..

    I am doing a continuous role on supply and I have lost the number of times I have had all sorts of SLT into my lessons for all sorts of reasons.. My doors are literally open because the class has two doors and gets very hot. So I leave the doors open. I have had the assistant headteacher in and the SEN assistant headteacher popping (he is new apparently and does this alot) at least 4 or 5 times.

    I have also been observed by the HOD and deputy head... I have also had a visitor turn up unannounced to observe some kid in my lesson, I lost my break explaining the "strategies" to her...

    Then I had some staff member show up to say as part of her teacher training she is observing lessons (with no notice).

    I am not joking !!! All this happened in the last couple of weeks...

    The school is top heavy so each one has their own role to fulfil .... If I wasn't an experienced supply teacher (I plan the lessons), most people would have folded by now...
  18. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    It is beyond what is acceptable in most schools. However, I am used to it all, so just go with it...
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I don't quite get why supply should be paranoid over being observed? I absolutely get the paranoia for 'proper' teachers as Workplace Dilemmas is full of threads that follow this tragic plot-line
    Observation => Informal support => Capability => Dismissal

    But we can be sacked* for
    • Someone cheaper turning up
    • Friend of the Head turning up
    • Not 'fitting in'

      The above have happened to me and I've witnessed these reasons to be sacked*

    • turning up drunk
    • dependency on non-existent text books
    • needing to be coaxed out of the toilet to face a really awkward class
    • asking for the 12-week pay to scale
    • More than 3 days off sick
    If SLT have all these bullets with your name on then why should they bother applying a clipboard with your name on it? Also I'd like SLT to leave their ivory towers and help with the behaviour for some my classes so if they need the excuse of an observation/learning walk/nosey then bring them on.

    * As in
    Go, walk out the door,
    Just turn around now
    You're not welcome any more
    Gloria Gaynor - I will survive
    Lara mfl 05 and agathamorse like this.
  20. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I have no objection to being observed while on supply nor havng books looked at. As long as the observers realise that I shall not be doing any special preparation for the observations/reviews nor will I be compelled to follow any feedback I am given . If it ticks a box for them fine but it is an irrelevence to me.

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