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Ridiculous comments given at lesson observations

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

  1. colinbillett

    colinbillett Occasional commenter

    Another time I was told off for drinking in the classroom. I had water, since after my heart attack my new drug regime often caused me to have a dry mouth and low blood pressure.
    blazer and bobdrivesahgv like this.
  2. jamtart20

    jamtart20 New commenter

    One lesson observation I saw - the teacher showed a few of us it in the staffroom - had the comment "I wouldn't want my children to be taught by her".

    I was appalled by such a comment, especially because I got on very well with the observer.

    The teacher in question found a school straightaway and left after the head was incredibly rude for the umpteenth time.
  3. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    I was marked down from a 1 to a 2 in a lesson observation in Drama as the Dep Head said the kids did not have enough room to work in.

    In other words - the room was too small.

    There were 28 Year 10 students in a GCSE Drama class, working in the school's only Drama studio.

    What was I supposed to do about that, build an extension?

    I've also been told, "I didn't like your questioning," but when I asked what was wrong with my questioning they couldn't put their finger on it, just that it wasn't how they would have done it.
  4. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    One from the other side of the fence, long time back. Two boys in Y11 doing badly and reportedly not using lessons well. I went to observe a whole lesson with them, my focus being on their behaviour rather than the teacher, by agreement with the teacher in advance. I left the lesson with no clue of their behaviour because I had been so entranced by the wonderful lesson on The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna. What feedback could i give except, "Please can I come and learn more about poetry?" - and make arrangements to watch them in another subject?
  5. inceywincey

    inceywincey Occasional commenter

    'The starter should be on the board when the students arrive.'
    Yes - the students had their previous lesson in the room - the observer was their too. I on the other hand had to get from one end of the school to the other having finished my previous lesson (not early), packed up my stuff etc. Which is why it was printed off and the group trained to hand it out with their books. - There is no pleasing some people.
  6. George_Randle

    George_Randle Established commenter

    That's John Agard scuppered then...

    yu mean tchaikovsky
    sit down at dah piano
    an mix a black key
    wid a white key
    is a half-caste symphony?
  7. colinbillett

    colinbillett Occasional commenter

    Teaching statistics, I had assorted sets of data on laminated cards, and asked the learners to discuss the best way of presenting each set of information. One set was on the 2001 census returns for religious affiliation. (I know, I needed to do a bit of updating.) The learners duly said 'pie chart', and I went on to ask if they thought the proportions might have changed in the 2011 census. Nope, shouldn't have asked that - they had answered the question set, and I was not to ask them further questions on that. Sorry ma'am, but along with mathematics I like to include a bit of critical thinking.
  8. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Blimey, you could be shot for that in some schools.
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Good point about Wikipedia @science teacher, but in this case easily verified by other sources as you can imagine!
  10. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    One of thee most useless criticisms anyone can give, or receive!!
    blazer, agathamorse and colinbillett like this.
  11. drek

    drek Star commenter

    When a feedback session begins with, "I teach the same students"........and the 'same' students are not the best behaved for the observer. If you scrape a pass it's great going, especially when the points they want you to improve on are something only a mind reader could achieve!

    e.g instead of T/F cards, you should have had them do two wishes and a star on post its!
    ......for a group one would have to model both the two wishes and the star? And the school announced cuts to its stationary budget last week!
    I nod enthusiastically and thank them profusely for their insightful feedback, but inside my exhausted mind is asking -
    Why then on the last CPD handout did you give us examples of 'suitable' AFL activities which included T/F cards as one of the choices?
    Won't bother going through their meaningless handouts again for sure!
    Northern_Miss likes this.
  12. Spiritwalkerness

    Spiritwalkerness Star commenter

    I had one fall asleep in an Assembly I was doing.
    bobdrivesahgv likes this.
  13. alihip

    alihip New commenter

    Fascinating thread! Last year we had an educational advisor come in to observe lessons as my school was in Special Measures. Mine was graded inadequate and I was surprised as I had thought it went well. When I queried why, he said "Your LO on the board stated you were teaching why the Ancient Egyptians built their pyramids but all I saw was how they built their pyramids". No matter that he was only there for 20 minutes towards the end and that every child was engaged in building their pyramid (constructed out of sugar cubes). I was gobsmacked. No wonder my school closed down a few months later!!
    Northern_Miss and colinbillett like this.
  14. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Does anyone actually think observations are helpful? In the good old days, we watched other members of our department and the aim was to actually improve things-genuinely to share good practice-though we didn't call it that- and offer actual help. Plus everyone had decent subject knowledge. Now someone who has been teaching only a couple of years and doesn't even have a degree in your subject/any knowledge of your class seems to think they have a right to judge you.
    Yes these might sound funny, but how much money does it waste? More importantly, how many good teachers leave, with the children being the ones to suffer?
    Would we find it funny if an inspector with no knowledge of medicine observed an operation and said the surgeon would fail because the room was painted a 'bad' colour/the patient relapsed because he didn't follow the post-op advice/the surgeon did something different to what the observer had expected? Would we be fine with it if said surgeon quit working for the NHS as a result?
    agathamorse, ksb and silverfell85 like this.
  15. Anonymity

    Anonymity Occasional commenter

    How much money does it waste? Well it helps SLT get their pay rises...
    hhhh likes this.
  16. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Not a comment but I enjoyed seeing an Ofsted Inspector and two members of SLT all grade a lesson independently to "calibrate" judgements. The gave it three different grades.

    Acutely embarrassing or a good indication of what anyone with half a brain knows about the subjective nature of observations?

    Well, both of course. Didn't stop them from doing about 50 observations over the next two days though and viewing the results as valid, but I did enjoy pointing out the unreliable nature of the whole process. If you know your 30 cm ruler is only 29.5 cm long, does it get more accurate the more you use it? LOL.

    It will probably be considered unprofessional of me but I always considered it the opposite - I never read feedback. I left it in my pigeonhole for two weeks and binned it. I was doing my level best for the children, my subject knowledge was top drawer and I could deliver the material with enthusiasm and generate real curiosity and interest from pupils. I had an experienced teacher of my subject that I went to for professional advice on teaching. He was a brilliant practitioner and knocked the usual observers into a cocked hat. They all knew it and he never got more than a "good". The whole system is so unreliable that we know the grade you are given is statistically more likely to be wrong than right - so why waste time listening to nonsense backing that judgement up from people who love teaching so much they took the first chance they got of doing less?
  17. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Indeed. I once asked my head if it would be a good idea for staff to observe their lesson. A brief pause . Well yes but it could be only 3 observations total in the year (and it would be subject to there begin in PPA time or cover being available). He wasn't that keen -or confident it appears.
    Northern_Miss likes this.
  18. miranda-s

    miranda-s Occasional commenter

    On my first PGCE placement, my mentor excelled in ridiculous comments (and in not noticing anything I did that was good....now I'm a more experienced teacher, I'd like to go back and thump him very hard for making me feel like I was a terrible teacher when actually I wasn't bad at all). My favourite was in a lesson where I'd had every single difficult Y9 kid on task, and a particularly awkward boy had been up at the board willingly doing an activity, and I finished the lesson on a total high about how well it had gone. My mentor's first comment to me was "Your red board pen was running out a bit. Did you not have a spare one?"

    In an observation by the deputy head in a previous school, the observation notes were very critical of the fact that I'd sat at my desk during the lesson. The only time in the whole hour that I had stopped moving was the 2 minutes at the start of the lesson when I had sat at my desk to do the register. I queried how I should have done the register, given that this had to be done on my computer and my computer was on my desk, but never got a satisfactory answer.
  19. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    no wonder teachers are leaving the profession in droves!?! As hilarious as some of these have been, it's saddening that these are actually happening to teaching professionals. The whole process is so subjective it really irritates me!!
  20. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    This is the kind of thread we need Mumsnet or the Daily Mail to pick up on. Discredit Ofsted in the same way they have set out to discredit teachers.
    rolysol, tonymars, khru and 4 others like this.

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