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Observations - surely not like this?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by petrichor89, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. petrichor89

    petrichor89 New commenter

    Hi everyone,

    I'm after a bit of advice!

    The staff at my housemate's school were told today on Wednesday last week the first round of observations for this year are going to take place with two days' notice. All fine and dandy. However, that two days' notice was given to everyone today via email (literally all teaching staff), with observations starting on Wednesday. Obviously not everyone will be seen on Wednesday, so they have been told by SLT that observations are likely to go on for three or four weeks with no further notice given beyond this "two day" notice today. I gather this means that they are expected to be on alert for a 30 minute observation at any point between Wednesday and Christmas (virtually). I know their SLT also asks for lots of paperwork for observations (formal lesson plans etc.).

    Has anyone else ever experienced anything like this before? Is it usual? It doesn't seem usual to me - it seems awful! What do you think he should do next? I've said he ought to speak to his union link, but I think he was too shocked/ angry/ frustrated today to do so.

    Any advice greatly appreciated - I've got a boy in a bit of a pickle on my hands here!

    Petrichor x
     
  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It's not acceptable

    He works for utter idiots

    He needs to find a new school
     
  3. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Contact the unions at area level. It's far from reasonable.
     
  4. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Designed to catch people out obviously and very stressful.

    Even Ofsted are only in for two days so why put staff through this nonsense for 5 weeks!

    Contact your union.
     
  5. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    We don't know whether the OP is a teacher - they are posing this question on behalf of a 'housemate'. If the OP is a teacher then it does beg the question 'What do they do in your school?'
     
  6. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Yeps a previous school did this.
    So some people had constant stress for just a day or two (the favourites!) and some for several weeks (people like me!).
    We even had one term when the 5 week period was up and no-one had been to my lesson. I questioned it and the HT said the AH should have been in and wasn't sure why she hadn't. That is it...5 weeks of not knowing all for nothing!

    Yes I have left that place!
     
  7. petrichor89

    petrichor89 New commenter

    Thanks so much for your replies everyone! Really useful, and I've passed them all on.

    Perhaps, @snowyhead, I ought to have made myself clearer, sorry: I am a teacher too, but have never come across something like this before (having said that, I've only been teaching for a couple of years). We had a similar issue last year (we got half a day's notice dependent on when our actual observation would be, so at least we actually got something that resembled what "notice" actually is!) but I was just so surprised that his SLT thought this appropriate that I wanted to get some further advice. Hope that makes a bit more sense in what seems like a nonsensical situation! :)

    Good for you, @caterpillartobutterfly: my housemate has been wanting to leave his school for a while and, if SLT don't back down, I have a feeling that this may well be the straw that broke the camel's back... hope life is happier for you now :)
     
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    It sound's like your housemate's SLT are trying to emulate Ofsted's no notice inspection regime, but giving 'certain' teachers the advantage of a tip off. I am guessing this is an academy where anything goes.

    Your friend is probably best advised to find a new post.
     
  9. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    What a wonderful career teaching has become.
     
  10. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    I have experienced a similar observation scheme.
    Prolonged constant stress before Christmas for you.
    Commiserations.
     
  11. emerald52

    emerald52 Star commenter

    Prepare one observation lesson. Ditch other plans and teach that when you get hit on.
     
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    In most schools it is all year round and goes under the name of 'learning walks.'
     
    midnight_angel and purplecarrot like this.
  13. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    We have mini mocksteds where we get told that 'any member of SLT' could come in for half an hour at any time. Apparently it's random who gets seen. Anyone who knows anything knows that that is not true. Then we have department learning walks into lessons and books checked in lessons. Then we have whole school work scrutiny. Then we have SLT doing unofficial learning walks (unofficial because they don't come in the room) where they stand and watch the lesson from outside the door.
    All in the name of standards.
     
    midnight_angel likes this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    At the school where I experienced this we also had a very strict timetable given to us and learning walks were used to check we were teaching what the timetable said we were.

    We also handed in planning at the start of each week, and they would check we were teaching what our plans said. No room for sensible things like 'we spend an extra lesson on X because they didn't quite get it first time round.' Mainly because that would show we were clearly inadequate teachers since our class hadn't learned what we taught.
     
  15. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

  16. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Yoda- likes this.
  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    .

    What an interesting article, @Compassman !

    I wonder if teachers are allowed to do that when an actual Ofsted Inspector comes into the class? At the very least, surely, you are entitled - nay, advised even - to ask to see a copy of their DBS certificate before they walk into that vulnerable group of minors known as 10A?

    ;)

    Best wishes

    .
     

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