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Staff struggling with obs

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by NewbieHoD, Apr 25, 2018.

  1. particlezoo

    particlezoo New commenter

    What about videoing it? Let her watch it by herself and then if they're ok with it observe the video.
    Tbh as a HoD I'd probably fill in a form based on what I see all of the time if it's not high stakes.
    annascience2012 likes this.
  2. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    The observation causes huge anxiety, you feel she's a great teacher and yet you seek to do the obs anyway?

    If it is creating huge anxiety then there are valid OC reasons to not use this tool.
    agathamorse and annascience2012 like this.
  3. NewbieHoD

    NewbieHoD New commenter

    Thanks everyone. She’s improving in confidence, which is nice for everyone.

    The main issue is the “formal” obs isn’t done by me. I’m more than happy to tick boxes and fill in forms from what I see, but there’s still the fear when it’s another manager doing the obs.

    Filming it might be worth a look. At least as a way of building her confidence.
  4. PoundStretcher

    PoundStretcher New commenter

    One approach that I have used with staff of this type is using a walkthrough approach. Just walk in, look at work whilst actively listening and seeing what is going on, talk to students and then leave. No more than around 15 minutes. It may be that the actual step of sitting at the back with notes being taken is the trigger to all of this. My team find this unobtrusive and allows for a wider view of what is going in the lessons.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. sid1913

    sid1913 New commenter

    I don't mean to sound philosophical but how do you know she's great if she crumbles when you walk in?
  6. NewbieHoD

    NewbieHoD New commenter

    Because she’s fine when I walk in, and every other (more important, IMHO) performance indicator is excellent.

    Unfortunately, at the moment, our internal obs schedule is always another HoD doing the formal obs.

    She’s actually improved slightly this academic year so far, so fingers crossed it’s a problem which will resolve itself. In the long term of course I’d love to move to a model where we drop the big observations completely, but st the moment we’re not in that position.
  7. unfoggingblogger

    unfoggingblogger Occasional commenter

    The reason we are all observed. So middle leaders and SLT can look like they've actually done something.
    JohnJCazorla and ATfan like this.
  8. moontitan

    moontitan New commenter

    “Learning walks”... oh please

    This person is getting the main reason we go into teaching right- she can teach and you know it.

    SLT is almost always made up of mediocre teachers at best. So she crumbles infront of these incompetent idiots, who cares! The students are learning! She is an asset
  9. Skeoch

    Skeoch Lead commenter

    We use our SLT's lessons as good practice for others to go and watch and learn from; I try to get my NQY mentees to observe all of them in action. They are among the most respected teachers (by the pupils) and most effective teachers (in terms of results) in the staff room.

    Please don't tar all SLTs with the same brush.
  10. ChocolateChunk

    ChocolateChunk New commenter

    I agree. You really cannot generalise almost all SLTs based on your personal experiences or others.
    I am absolutely aware of incompetent SLTs, having worked for many, but you also have many schools where SLTs do care about their staff members and where staff retention is great, teachers are 'relatively' happy and students too.The issue is that we have all seen that mediocrity can be promoted instead of meritocracy because some teachers who aspire to be SLTs can really talk the talk.

    Just like some HoDs are competent and supportive, SLTs can give constructive, meaningful and intelligible advice. I can however understand how utopic it sounds if you and your friends were / are subjected to many headless chickens in charge.

    In regards to the original issue, LoopyLew's idea is great to give her a confidence boost as you can use these opportunities to offer informal feedback but also building a good team spirit with her.
    In that continuity, she could also share some of these resources - if she is comfortable to do so - to help the rest of your Department and to feel like she is doing the right thing.

    Using Learning Walks is also a good idea which has been suggested a few times but it will also depend on your school's policy. Any Learning Walk is frankly a mini observation therefore you could use these. If her students learn, make progress, get good results and respect her then you have several evidences to support her if SLTs become too rigid with the observation process.
  11. mushroomz

    mushroomz New commenter

    Do doctors / dentists / vets / accountants / lawyers etc. etc. have 'superiors' in to observe them doing their jobs??

    Then why do teachers need to be 'observed' on a regular basis?

    Back in the day when I started teaching, there was no such thing as lesson observations beyond the 'probationary year'. Results were generally better back then, as was behaviour and parental support - and teacher morale.

    Lesson observations make me extremely nervous. Totally unnecessary in my opinion and cause a demoralised staff. The number of times I've been told, prior to an observation, "Oh, don't worry, just forget about me and carry on," forgetting I'm a human being with feelings. SLT seem to like to control people's feelings, as well as everything else, these days....
  12. rehaank

    rehaank Occasional commenter

    Yes, they do, especially when they're junior doctors / still learning and doctors do complete regular revalidation/CPD training to make sure they're competent and showing clinical governance, along with CQC inspections in hospitals and surgeries.

    So yes. They are observed to ensure correct practice in place and that they are receptive still.

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