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Ridiculous comments given at lesson observations

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Jolly_Roger1, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    LOs can be a loser's game. I found it soul-destroying to be criticised for not including in my lesson things about which I didn't know until I was told I hadn't done them! Here are few from my experience:

    1) For years, I have explained how electrons go into their shells around atoms by using the analogy of four people sitting around a table playing cards, each being dealt two. This, I was told, was 'morally wrong' as it not only promoted gambling but might be offensive to some religious groups.

    2) My lesson plan was criticised because I had not included a list of anticipated students' questions and my responses to them.

    3) I was asked for evidence of my 'knowledge base'.

    Has anyone else got any 'gems' for the collection?
    caress, cerijf1, MPegg16 and 16 others like this.
  2. Godmeister

    Godmeister Occasional commenter

    Isn't number 3 just your CV or am I missing something haha?

    I've never had ridiculous comments like these but I have had people criticise me for not doing something in the part of the lesson they saw but which was included on the lesson plan for later in the same class. I did point this out and was told "Yes, but I didn't see it." Obviously not if you left halfway through...
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Evidence? You put me in front of this class to teach. You surely wouldn't have done that if you didn't have the evidence of my suitability already.

    Yes heard this so often - from all levels of observers. Also 'I didn't see a starter/ plenary'. No that's because I did it at the start/end of the lesson before your arrived/ after you'd left.:rolleyes:

    Take heart from this type of comment though. It was clear to me that the observer was really struggling to find something to say for the 'how to improve' box. (I have the same problem when I mark a perfect piece of work from a student but still have to find an "Even Better If")
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    In this situation I'd reel off my specialism qualifications and ask them to do likewise to evidence that their knowledge base is sufficient to judge my knowledge base. Then I'd give them a Chinese burn.

    Duraz, lbambridge, rachel555 and 39 others like this.
  5. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    My ex was criticised for referring to the keys on the piano as 'black keys' and 'white keys' in an A2 Music lesson. Those terms didn't tie in with the establishment's Equality and Diversity Programme.
    Fortunately my ex was only helping out for a couple of weeks so had the luxury of telling the non-specialist non-degree-holding unqualified observer exactly what he thought of her observations. He didn't hold back :D.
    Duraz, onbekende, daisy2019 and 37 others like this.
  6. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Do you hire him out for less fortunate souls?
    rachel555, Lidnod, gruffalo4 and 9 others like this.
  7. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    I was recently observed for 10 minutes during an hour long lesson and was told that the children made no progress in those 10 minutes. Had the observer been there at the start and the end they would have seen progress.
    frogonleaf, cerijf1, Fran72 and 24 others like this.
  8. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    How ridiculous!

    How would an art teacher be expected to refer to black and white paint, I wonder.... Very pale grey and very dark grey? Jeez.
  9. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Here's a gem. I was once demonstrating a proof of Pythagoras, by the square within a square method. The old biddy that was watching me took exception to the fact that I didn't prove that the bit in the middle was a square. This was quite deliberate, on my part, as the proof is very visual, and doing so would have distracted from it's elegance.

    However, whenever this HOD tried to take me to task I used to just give a condescending smile and slightly exasperated sigh, which I'm sure annoyed her no end.
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Perhaps this might be why teachers used to wear academic gowns!
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I am really enjoying this thread!


    Thank you to all the contributors.

    Best wishes

    cerijf1, jlishman2158 and Abdulazeem like this.
  12. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    I am curious to discover what is the shortest unit of time in which it is possible to observe discernible progress. To me, the minimum common sense unit would be the length of a lesson. If ten minutes can be declared sufficient, why not five?

    Did you not know that observers and inspectors are psychic? Many years ago I was praised for the magnificence of my PE lesson despite not a single clipboard- wielding ninny coming anywhere near us in the school hall. Bonkers.
    cerijf1, Northern_Miss, Mari7 and 6 others like this.
  13. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Having once planned a full on, all singing, all dancing, active, co-operative, collaborative, ICT-filled lesson for observation, I drew the last remaining old-fashioned inspector from the pot and was asked if I had considered seating the class in rows as it might be easier for me than dashing around the classroom during activities.
  14. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    It's a pain, David, I know. I've had to keelhaul observers who've tried to admonish my colleagues for freehand diagrams.

    Moony and SueFlewitt like this.
  15. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    You just can't win. What a joke it all is. I am currently about to undertake my first experience of mentoring a student teacher and just feel so wary of lesson observations with him, knowing full well that what I might consider to be brilliant is someone else's rubbish.
    enyliram, drek, JeannieMc and 2 others like this.
  16. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    How to defend your colleagues from inexperienced and unqualified observers:

  17. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I can imagine their little face (SLT) confused, oh er cannot tick box because I didn't see it.

    Even OFSTED will only give feedback after at least 20 mins - if they are coming in to observe a lesson, then observe a lesson. Otherwise you put on your top hat and tails and perform the starter, plenary with interactive whiteboards that's about 10 mins.

    When I had to do observations it was calendared and the theme known in advance. The process would happen over 1 week and I would arrive at the start of the lesson to see starter etc. and leave, come back about 15 mins later to see the main part of the lesson and come back again to see the plenary. I always thought the process was not too stressful to staff and they had a fair chance to show what they could do. We would do paired observations with SLT staff so I could explain the science and check there was agreement on the learning taking place - the issue of subject expertise never came up!
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I was employed as a sort-of PRU teacher. We had a lad who, though not electively mute, was pretty close to never talking. My usual charge (1 to 1) was off that afternoon so I was trying to coax/cajole this little boy and give him some confidence. On his won. For a start.

    Bad use of my time. I should have had a group.

  19. mapledrop

    mapledrop New commenter

    My class were 'too quiet'. Yes, the most challenging class in the school (in terms of behaviour) were on task doing their work.
  20. enjoyteach

    enjoyteach New commenter

    As an NQT it was written up on my first lesson observation, by the HT who was my mentor, that the bookcase lacked lustre! Incisive feedback I'm sure, it made me who I am today.
    frogonleaf, Lidnod, Caro D and 18 others like this.

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