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Rubbish Observation

Discussion in 'Primary' started by missmohican, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. missmohican

    missmohican New commenter

    Hope everybody is having a nice evening!
    Needed a bit of a rant really.
    Had a maths observation today, my first in over a year, first at a new school and the first I've done from somebody else's planning.
    Lesson went okay, but for various reasons the observers (HT) weren't happy with it. I accept a lot of what they said, but the part that's annoyed me is that they criticised the activity that was planned. I mean, firstly, I didn't plan the bloody thing. More to the point though, I don't like the reason for criticism - there was the issue bought up of that the activity was largely just collecting data and that the children weren't really learning anything in that time. Yeah, fine, that's true. But they got so much more out of actually doing that activity rather than if I'd just given it to them on a piece of paper as a written activity. But no, they should be learning and progressing at every moment.
    As a result, being re-observed next week and our Head of Phase is going to go through the planning with myself and my co-teacher to improve it. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to give what I feel would be a fair example of my normal teaching (because I feel that I'm generally a 'good' teacher), but annoyed that I have to do it.
    Out of interest, what do others in multi-form entry schools/where planning is shared do? Do you use somebody else's planning for an observation (with annotations, obviously), or write your own plan?

    I don't particularly want to be in teaching any more and things like this are only serving to hammer home that point. What is the point of learning if you can't have some fun with it?
  2. angelchem

    angelchem New commenter

    I can sympathise with you. I recently applied for a Class Teacher position in a school where planning is shared. I was asked to plan my own lesson which needed to fit into part of a sequence. Whilst supply teaching I have also been asked in interview how I put my own spin on the lesson. This is a vaild question but when you are working a 9 hour day without a lunch break and only being paid for 5 hours it can be hard to stay motivated.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  3. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    The system is ridiculous. There is so much more to being a 'good' teacher than teaching lessons where children are learning every second of the day. And is the 'collecting data' not the hook for children wanting to move on to learn? I doubt a written activity would be motivating in my class. Where I teach, we share our planning, but we seldom use each other's plan as our classes and our teaching styles are so different. The day I am expected to use someone else's planning is the day I say CHOW FOR NOW! We are professionals and should be respected and treated as such. Grrrrrrrr.......
    Ezzie likes this.
  4. teslagirls1

    teslagirls1 New commenter

    Hi, not really sure why you are ranting over the feedback! Lesson observations are about jumping through hoops and the main focus is , as in all lessons, what are the children learning. If you are not happy with a plan which you are teaching you use your professional judgement to adapt it to the needs of the learners so that they are making progress through activities which suit them. I'm sure most teachers spend quite a bit of time before a lesson observation thinking carefully about what they will teach to show both themselves and the children in the best light possible. You can't lay the failings of a lesson on someone else then! How can anyone plan for someone else's class unless they know them inside out?
  5. missmohican

    missmohican New commenter

    To be fair, I don't mind using others' planning one bit, saves me hours, I just found it ridiculous to be criticised on it (and be told that the whole unit plan needed redoing) when it wasn't me who'd done it. I do agree that I should've looked at it more closely and adapted it, but without changing the whole activity (which i liked and wanted to keep) there wasn't a huge amount to be done. I'm still a relatively new teacher and I'm very aware that I'm still learning and have a lot a way to go.
    As I mentioned above the bit that more got me was the suggestion that they should not have done the outdoor activity as it was 15 minutes of wasted learning time (during which all children were engaged and on task and enthusiastic). It just doesn't sit well with me.
  6. missmohican

    missmohican New commenter

    Also, I realise this is idealistic, but why should lesson observations be about jumping through hoops? It's all well and good being able to pull an outstanding lesson out the bag but if you're so called required improvement the rest of the time where is the value in it?
    teacup71 and TEA2111 like this.
  7. abacus1982

    abacus1982 Established commenter

    My previous school was a three form entry Juniors. We used to plan together but then each of us had responsibility for finalising plans and sending across to each other. I did tend to adapt the planning slightly for my class as did the others I worked with as we all got through the teaching at a slightly different pace due to the different make up of the classes.

    In terms of the gradings of observations it is ridiculous if schools are still grading an individual lesson. Observations where I now work are about identifying where learning is good and then working with the teacher's to see if there's a part of their practice they want to develop to improve the learning even more. If you grade lessons individually then all anyone does is listen to the grading they get and nothing else. When OFSTED come in they won't grade individual lessons but grade the teaching as a whole based on more than what they just see in an individual lesson.
    teacup71 and nick909 like this.
  8. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Completely agree, abacus1982. Our school has adopted a system similar to Ofsted's, where no lesson recieves an individual grading. SLT will carry observations out over a week and then give an overall grading for the school for T&L, taking into account other aspects such as work scrutinies and pupil chats. All you're told after your lesson is what was effective and some development points. It seems a little odd at first after doing it the old way for so long but I think it's much better.
    allenejm likes this.
  9. Skychaserhigh

    Skychaserhigh New commenter

    As has been stated, lesson observations are, in most schools, used as part of development rather than grading teachers.
    What do your books look like? I wouldn't make comment on progress in a lesson unless I was concerned about progress in general. Same with planning, that is completely personal and should only be looked at if teaching and the attainment of pupils is concerning.
    There are plenty of hoops to jump through, always will be, but you need to remain confident in your own ability, you should be given a chance to explain your choices for the lesson, I would expect staff to show me the 'progress' in the follow up activity and have them justify the gathering part as 'real life maths'. Show your SLT your books, chat with them about how you saw the skill progressing over time.
    Oh, and good luck next week...
  10. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

  11. mystery10

    mystery10 Occasional commenter

    MissMohican, unless the result of the observation actually matters, just forget about it. And if it does matter, don't take a permanent contract in that school. The people who are observing you sound picky, narrow-minded and a bit dim to me.
    TEA2111 likes this.
  12. teacup71

    teacup71 Occasional commenter

    I agree you may find another school with a totally different outlook. Recently we have had a number of NQTs coming to speak to us. They have been told they will fail. One decided to leave her school. She is now at another school and is really happy.
    Sometimes people don't fit.
    We were told at uni to remember when you look round schools to think is it the place for you? Unfortunately it's hard to tell until you are in the job.
    It's good to have a rant every now and again.
  13. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    I'd never use someone else's plan, I would always do my own in-depth plan so I have ownership of it. I don't plan week-on-week with my year group partner at the moment, but in my last school we did. However, I didn't use those plans for an observation. I might well take them as a starting point and I'd use the same learning intention, whilst making it my own.

    It sounds like this school isn't necessarily suited to your teaching style. My current school would have loved the "risk" of taking the children outside during the lesson.

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