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SLT Observation 'at some point' during the day??

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by gumko, Jan 23, 2012.

  1. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this:
    SLT have issued observation timetable for next week but have not given exact time slots (as all previous obs have done). Instead we've been told which day & obs will be at 'some point' on that day - Ofsted style!
    Does this sound right to you??
  2. Just wondered if anyone had any thoughts on this:
    SLT have issued observation timetable for next week but have not given exact time slots (as all previous obs have done). Instead we've been told which day & obs will be at 'some point' on that day - Ofsted style!
    Does this sound right to you??
  3. What is wrong with that? If your teaching is good, what is the worry?
  4. It's common practice in many establishments.
    More stressful perhaps but this is how OFSTED works....
  5. So what could possibly be wrong with this?
  6. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    As others say - what's the problem?
  7. langteacher

    langteacher Occasional commenter

    Sounds like practice for Ofsted, stressful but that's the way it works.
    It's all very well saying if you are doing everything right then what's the problem. I know I do a decent job but I also know that when someone is watching me, I do get stressed.
    We all know we can drive but how would we feel about sitting our driving test again?
  8. purplepixie

    purplepixie New commenter

    I'm always stunned by the entirely unhelpful comments people
    sometimes post on here. Why waste time putting up a sarcastic, petty
    remark when you could invest your energy in something more positive and

    Anyway... we have had to stress to our SLT that doing observations in
    this manner is fairly unhelpful, and we are now notified of which lesson
    we are going to be observed in each term. This gives you more time to
    prepare and allows you to show off your teaching at its best, which of
    course is the point of the observation.

    I would suggest drop-ins should be reserved for anyone who is of concern
    rather than common practice, unless those dropping in are just coming
    in to get a falvour of the classroom and help out, rather than offer up a
    judgement at the end of it.

    I can understand why you are worried, and it might be worth asking for
    the reasoning behind it. If you've got an Ofsted coming up in the next
    12 months it's a pretty sensible training style method of doing
    observations. If they're doing it that way because the SLT is happy
    everyone in school is doing a good job then feel happy, do a thorough
    preparation for all the lessons that day and perform your socks off :)

    Alternatively, if it's because the SLT is trying to catch people at
    being satisfactory (as it was done at an establishment I know quite
    well) then the issue needs raising that actually this isn't the way to
    promote positive morale or raise teaching standards!!! :)

    Hope that helps, and good luck in your observation.

  9. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    That is one point of the observation. However, I can quite understand why SLT may want to see something nearer your normal day-to-day teaching rather than a special lesson prepared for the occasion. Yes, it is stressful, and I hate being observed, but I now prefer a low key drop-in when nobody expects anything different. In fact, I have moved away from planning special lessons for all Observations. Last year, I was told that the Head was coming to observe a Year 12 lesson, and I stuck to my existing plan which was working on some problems together; she was more than happy with it.
    More recently, my HoD dropped in during a week when subject drop ins were happening (no details given of when) and he told me afterwards that he was impressed that I hadn't changes tack on his arrival. (These drop-ins were to provide positive ideas on good practice for the department, not to offer a judgement, so perhaps they fit into your idea of a good drop-in, purplepixie.)
    SMT have a duty to know what is going on in the school every day. Planned lesson observations just don't do this. Much as I don't like any observations, I think that drop-ins are needed.
  10. If Ofsted go to No Notice inspections you won't have the chance to put on a show. More fool your SLT for backing down. I just have to wonder who is in charge at your school?
  11. I think it is a problem as satisfactory teaching does little to really move children on in their learning. I have recently observed two good/outstanding teachers (it does seem to come naturally to them and they do put the time in) and the work their children produce, the progress they make (including kids who were coasting and struggling in the two years before) and the buzz in the classrooms was amazing. The comments from the parents's evaluations of the year about these teachers is amazing too. I know we can't be outstanding all of the time but I am beginning to agree with my headteacher with being satisfactory for the majority of the time is being lazy. Outstanding teaching is not about over-preparation and performing like a circus clown. It is about planning well for children's learning, knowing what individuals need to do to improve and making sure they make good progress, giving good feedback and generating a buzz for learning. A recent Y5 maths lesson I observed could have been run by the children themselves is was that good. The teacher did very little preparation, didn't use any ICT. She was doing percentages - gave it a context and set high expectations. What she did know was the next steps needed to secure further learning and how to make it relevant and challenging for each group. Surely we are not expecting too much of teachers here? OFSTED are not looking for all-singing, all-dancing lessons, they are looking for attitudes, self-learning and good progress. A year of good lessons compared to satisfactory lessons can make the difference between a SATS level or a C and and A at GCSE I have been told by an OFSTED inspector.
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    OK put it another way. I know of one teacher who is always 'satisfactory', just does tick the OFSTED boxes. His results are excellent. Also out of the whole teaching workforce how many are satisfactory and if we got rid of them could we replace them with 'good' teachers. The demands of the job have changed so much in recent years and some of us are finding it hard to cope with the ever moving goal posts of what is in fact a 'good' lesson.
  13. Well I have been observed and repeatedly given satisfactory, despite the fact that the children made progress, produced good work, enjoyed the lesson and knew what they were learning and why.
    My class's results are excellent - many children made 2 sub-levels progress in one term.
    whartonj - what you say would be absolutely true if there wasn't the potential for smt to manipulate observation judgments to suit their own purposes. If you have always worked in schools with supportive management I know this can be difficult to believe, but certain heads/slt would use drop-ins as a chance to find fault with whatever was happening in the classroom at the time they turned up eg. coming in during a changeover and complaining about children not being on task/needing 5 mins down time, or coming in during a period of quiet working and complaining about not seeing any active/multi-sensory tasks. You are also assuming that drop-ins are being done in a supportive and constructive manner, which isn't necessarily the case.
    However, in this case I think if you have been given the exact day during which you will be observed, it isn't too bad, as you should be able to plan your lessons carefully for that one day and ensure they see your normal practice. I have heard of teachers being given a week for a drop-in. In fact at our school we were given a term for PE drop-ins and it could have been any of our PE lessons that term (primary so I only did one a week as the other was in my PPA, not actually too bad as I was happy with my PE lessons anyway)
  14. SMT need to make up their minds.
    Do they want the properly prepared OFSTED lesson or are they happy to walk in at any time and see the English classes watching a video of Romeo and Juliet/Holes etc. This could be a totally essential lesson in the curriculum, but would give a teacher a dire fail on an ofsted obs.
    It might be acceptable for everyone to re-arrange their teaching content for an ofsted visit - its purely ridiculous to do it for a normal obs on the offchance of an SMT visit. It's disruptive to the teaching and learning - and who benefits from that?

  15. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Exactly. So Ofsted come in during a test and you get inadequate? The test is an essential part of the lesson.
  16. maggie m

    maggie m Lead commenter

    I could be imagining it but isn't a performance management observation supposed to have a previously agreed focus?
  17. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Yes. Often forgotten though............

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