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Satisfactory lesson grading - what to think?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by impulce, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. Ive just had my first (ever!) proper observation by our new head and been graded a satisfactory.
    Im in my second year of teaching and did have my NQT year observations but they were more informal chats than proper gradings, and i have never been graded on this scale before.
    It was only a introduction to a lesson she observed, not a whole lesson, and i was graded satisfactory. I have a tricky class behaviour wise, mixed Y1/2 so a huge range of abilities, and a newish boy with severe ADHD. I also had no support. I did what i thought was a good, interactive activity, all children participated and were on task, and i felt confident at the end that it had gone well.
    My feedback was mostly positive, a couple of development points related to pace of lesson which makes sense as it took them ages to get whiteboards and pens out (incidentally, any tips for doing this quickly with KS1?!), but i must admit im a little disheartened because i was graded satisfactory overall.
    The highlighted statements for each lesson grade were not specifically related to my target points.
    I had a few highlighted in 'good' but did not have the statement to do with management of TA highlighted (How can I when i didnt have one?)
    I also didnt get a statement about subject knowledge highlighted - except it was a basic grammatical concept in KS1 and my subject knowledge of it is sound seeing as its only aimed at 6 year olds, so im not sure quite how good they wanted it to be?
    Another one was to do with not providing enough verbal feedback for next steps. I would have done this during the main part of the lesson etc but she only watched the first 20 minutes of my lesson so i was still assessing by observation/questioning. I kept their whiteboards, deliberately asking them not to rub them clean so i could assess later.
    Every other teacher in the school got good or outstanding so i just feel a little down on myself - especially as i felt it went well and am not really any the wiser as to what to do to improve!
    Any advice, or practical interpretations of my 'unhighlighted areas' would really be appreciated - i want to be the best i can be and the term 'satisfactory' does not fill me with much pride!
  2. dont worry about it. i have been teaching 5 years and all my observations were satisfactory but with elements of good. i happened to upset my headteacher and my last observation was inadequate. the people she really likes get outstanding, the people she sometimes like get good, but the stuff on the bottom of her shoes - me and a couple others are unsatisfactory and inadequate.
    as i said before - dont worry about it.

  3. Quick reply re handing stuff out to KS 1!
    train them to take one thing and pass on the rest on - takes ages at first but it does pay dividends later on
    put piles at end of row and nominated child passes them along one row
    OR (my favourite)
    as they come into room have tray / pot / basket of boards/pens rubbers etc out so they walk past and pick up what they need before they sit down - disadvantage is that they then play with them through begining of lesson but at least they are ready when you need them
    Re satisfactory - keep being positive and reflective and the only way now is up!!
  4. Thankyou all for your responses - i do appreciate it.
    My feedback was primarily positive i think its just the word 'satisfactory' that has left me feeling dejected - especially as my job is my life and i put 200% into it. Feeling today like i really cant be bothered to do all the jobs that need doing because im just 'satisfactory' - but i know that is silly and will bounce back.
    Imminent ofsted call looming which isnt helping either - just want to enjoy the christmas winddown with my class now but cant!
    Re: Equipment Handing Out - next time am going to try velcroing pens to boards, and having boxes at the end of the line that children hand down each row (as they do have places on the carpet). Thankyou for your advice!
  5. Have you ever seen the Assessment is for Learning Walk which takes you through the elements of an excellent lesson from Learning Intentions / Success Criteria - questioning techniques - maximising participation - co operative learning - self / peer assessment - plenary?
    The above is only a snapshot but I can copy and paste it later if interested?
  6. hi there! i am an nqt who has just been ofsteded from a school which was graded overall as satisfactory. i agree, it is disheartening and evn those teachers that have been doing it for years feel down in the dumps because 'satisfactory' sounds 'ok.' ofsted have shifted the goal posts and have said that a 'good' last year will now been see as satisfactory - so you should thionk of your lesson as good in otherwords! one of the main things they are looking for is how much the children have lkearnt and progressed in the lessons. i agree that this can be difficult when you are obsevred for a short time but try to ask whenever possible, 'what have you learnt so far that you didn't know already?' and 'how have you challenged yourself today. the other thing that is quite useful is realising that often a lot of learning is going on inhernet to the learning intention. E.G Johnny may not have understood the li but he learnt the skills of asking for help if unsure, trying his best and perservering, being tolerant, team working etc.... I find this really useful and it also means that the children themselves are really thinking about themselves as learners. nother thing maybe to have a lesson on what is learning. i did this with a yr2 class and they had some excellent ideas about whta makes a good learner and we did a display on this too. That way you can always refer to it throughout ur lessons if ofsted is coming and this shows that you and the class are aware of themselves as learners and skills etc they need to progress xx
  7. I gave up on white boards & pens because they always messed about with them, the pens frequently ran out, they got ink all over themselves and/or their sleeves which then got rubbed onto their actual work later in the lesson! Now I use small exercise books & pencils which we call 'jottings' books - this means they alll come to the mat/sit at the tables with their little books for whatever lesson & then work roughly in these in intros and/or plenaries. Also, it means you can actually 'save' any 'good' stuff - especially useful with SEN kids. Whiteboard work gets wiped off so any 'good' stuff is lost.
    With regards 'satisfactory'. I have come to realise that it really doesn't matter. It's taken me 6 years but there it is! There is NO incentive for any teacher to be anything more than satisfactory as you don't get sacked for it. In any other business there would be incentives such as pay rises, bonuses, days off etc if you 'went over' your quotas or targets etc. But not in teaching. It is ridiculous. And before anyone says you should be trying to be better than satisfactory/improve yourself/ahh the poor little children etc then please remember that teaching is (at the end of the day) a job- like any other job - and do not even try pulling that guilt trip.
    I have learned from experience that you get NOTHING from being graded good or outstanding (and in case you were wondering I have been graded good or outstanding for every lesson observation for the past 2 years!). All you get is a 'well done' from your head/SLT but nothing that actually makes a difference in the long run. Personally, if they brought in a 'reward' system such as private businesses/companies etc then I bet more teachers would start getting better lesson grades.

  8. I really like that idea and might try that next year. We do writing/maths on whiteboards ever morning when the children wait for the register and some really good writing comes out of it, so it is a shame to rub it out (or a hassle to save it and get it photocopied).
    I know there is nothing 'wrong' with being satisfactory, but i feel like i have let myself down. I want to do better than that for my own personal values more than anything else!
  9. I havent seen that, but it sounds intriguing?
  10. yeah... I remember those days trying to save some good whiteboard work and get it onto the photocopier... then the ink comes off on the photocopier and you get a bit of the work photocopied onto everything for the next 200 copies! amazing ink... wipes clean off a whiteboard but sticks solid to photocopier glass!
    Also with regards satisfactory - they constantly change the goal posts so it doesn't matter how hard you try - just as you get to that 'good' they'll change it again and you'll be back to square one! And remember - on the actual day it's entirely down to how the observer interprets what they see and how they interpret what the criteria says... and it DOES make a difference if they 'like' you! I know I have done well to get good or outstanding for the last 2 years but I personally would not have graded my lessons the same! And as I said... I have not benefitted by achieving this other than a 'well done' which to be honest means **** all to me.
  11. hi'
    first of all well done if u're satisfactory in first 10 mins of a lesson then u're excellent by the end of it as the first 10 mins are the biggest challenge of any lesson u see setting the ball rolling....
    now u could keep baskets/boxes for each table with pens and boards in it and assign group leaders or ask one person from each table(eg.colour coded..blue table, yellow table..) to get the basket and hand out the boards and pens to the rest of their group. which table does it quickest and quitest gets a house point or team point. that sets the children at high energy and targeted behaviour level. much faster, quiter yet exciting....team work is that what we call it....enjoy. all the best.
    criticism sets the pace.....let it come and face it.
  12. Perhaps, you could ask your head whether you would be able to observe other outstanding teachers from your school and see how they do it.
  13. Reading this string of messages has made me feel SO much better! Have just had an observation by my head of faculty - observing year 9, last period, 34 of them in the room including the usual range of SEN (from those with literacy 4-5 years behind chronological age, through dyslexia, ADHD, deafness etc) and using the "new Ofsted criteria". I was "failed" (ie graded unsatisfactory) - the ONLY reason given being that (quote) "4 pupils, who you had obviously identified because they were sitting in the four corners of the room, and who participated in some activities, were not fully engaged for the entire lesson". It was really helpful, to be reminded through this forum that this is not going to affect my pay, position, ability to teach etc etc and that the important thing is that my GCSE and A level students consistently have the highest grades of the whole faculty. So to XXXX with all observations!!!

  14. I gave up on whiteboards; I now have a class set of blank books which I give out when the children would have used whiteboards - they know it doesn't matter that it's not their book, that anyone could have used it last time; much quicker than whiteboards and pens! They took time to give out and collect, the pens ran out, the children spent time drawing on the boards and rubbed out accidentally... a set of 30 books lasts the year (Year 1) and is probably cheaper than the pens! Good luck - and don't be down hearted!
  15. I was an incredibly unconfident student then NQT, and in my first year of teaching ... for some reason I saw the observer as the enemy and I even had to take calming tablets before an observation. What made the difference to me was watching a colleague who had only been teaching a year longer than me but was amazing! I had always panicked most about controlling my class and keeping noise levels down etc; she had such clear expectations and boundaries that the kids were capable of being noisy (and learning) one minute and quiet the next just by putting her arm in the air as a signal for them to be quiet.I then had an observation by someone from county, prepared my lesson beyond belief and I did a blinder!! The best part was the Head was observing at the same time so she saw it too.
    However, lesson grades are not the be all and end all of teaching. There is so much to being a teacher in a school - being a team-player, inspiring your children, supporting your colleagues ...
    Just think how long you will be teaching for and realise that satisfactory at this stage is bl**dy good :)
  16. humpty

    humpty New commenter

    I can sympathise with you on getting a satisfactory grading. It doesn't matter what people say about pay and rewards etc for getting good and outstanding lessons, it knocks your confidence and is very disheartening esepcially when you hear other teachers saying their lessons were good or outstanding. I have just had a Numeracy lesson observation and I have been teaching for 6 years. I was observed by the head teacher and deputy head ( and we are due an ofsted soon),. My head teacher realed off all these good and very good points and then I was told my lesson was satisfactory. That word was not what I wanted to hear! The reason being was, that the children's behaviour wasn't up to scratch. Even though, I thought they were reasonably well behaved and I only had to tell a couple of them to not touch their whiteboards.Now I think this is unfair as the children were able to show what they learnt in the previous lessson and had made progress in this lesson.
    I would ask your head teacher what you could do to make your lesson better next time? I also think it is a good idea to ask to observe an outstanding teacher. I might even ask to do the same. Remember this is only your first observation after your NQT year so I'm sure enxt time it will be better.
  17. Try having a timer to give out the whiteboards- everyone get a board, pen and wiper and be back on the carpet in 1 min, or how ever long you want, or play a song so back before the end of the song, try singup website for timed songs. Also as some one else said give them something to do while they are waiting for everyone to get a board eg how many numbers can you write, etc.
  18. Yes please, could you please copy and paste that? We seem to be observed a lot at the moment and that would really help!
  19. I have been graded from satisfactory through to outstanding in many observations over the years.My grading has improved on observations as I learnt how to play the game and to stop becoming too nervous. I always have a happy and hardworking class of children and parents and Head are pleased with the job I do. However each week I continue to teach lessons that I would grade myself as ranging from satisfactory to excellent (and even occasionally unsatisfactory) I can't always plan every lesson thoroughly as I do have a life outside of the job, as well as the demands of my role in the SMT. So don't beat yourself up over one grade. You are still on a steep learning path and have the right attributes to get better and better.
  20. I'm a struggling NQT so can't really comment on @Satifactory versus Good ' but I do know something that might help the whiteboard situation as I had the same problem with my KS3 classes handing things out. If you get some cheap plastic zipper wallets (or even some large re-sealable freezer bags, as they're cheaper!) and in each one but a whiteboard, pen and a wetwipe and ta-da ! You only have to hand out one thing as opposed to three and the kids can pick up a "pack" on the way into class or nominate a monitor to give them out, telling them that they can't open the pack until you say!

    By the way, during my PGCE course we were told it takes at least five years to become a really "good" teacher! :p

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