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Totally demoralised after lesson observation

Discussion in 'Primary' started by GyrFalcon, Mar 29, 2012.

  1. Um yes... they are! I'm from NZ, (still a commonwealth country but with a substancially different approach to lesson observations)! I'll put my hand up and admit that when I first started teaching in the UK I got an unsatisfactory! Of course I did the most natural thing any teacher would do - including many who have contributed to this thread... Had a glass of wine then proceeded to phone all my friends who are also teachers in order to seek some moral support and encouragement. So if I could just have a little rant re: lesson observations in the UK... Is it not a little crazy that you are graded as a teacher based on a 40 min observation? I met a fellow teacher who received an outstanding grade - of course I had to enquire... how does one get such a grade?
    He had dressed up as Robin Hood and was very good at 'playing the game'. Of course my response was... "oh, so all your lessons are like that"?! Reality is, of course not... and that's what I had I to learn very quickly - you are a graded according to the performance you put on during the short time you are being observed. In the report given to me by the head teacher there were comments regarding things I had not done during my lesson - (mostly about feedback and conferencing during writing)... the most annoying thing is - he had popped into my room the day before and saw that exact thing happening! The moral is: you can't be all things at all times!
  2. It's both reassuring and depressing to know that you feel this way - I had a 'satisfactory' lesson the other week after having only had outstandings since 1993, when I started teaching. Feel I cannot tick the boxes anymore, too, although the heartening thing is that the parents and children are appreciative. Stayed up sobbing until 1130 that night and forced myself to go to my other school the following day, although I was shaking. I must say that a few weeks on I have things in perspective and feel that at least if I am a very good mum, just being a 'satisfactory with good features' teacher is not so bad - better that way around than the other. Keep going.
  3. Inspections are the method by which the bullying classes observe the faults of the management classes, who observe the workers - pushing water uphill..
    However the management see the workers as being at fault for not understanding how the bullys think, and so they can only react in a way that is destructive, while they try to work out how they can prevent the bullys from taking over their fiefdoms
    Seems a bit dystopian, but seems to be the way education has been going since OFSTED.
    60 years of inspection, and 30 years of OFSTED, you would have thought they would have read a a proper management book by now, but I guess they are examples of our failed education, and maybe they all only have Ent Level 3 reading skills, so only got as far as Mr Nonsense in the Mr Men series - 'Education by Numbers',
  4. Well, I've just read all of the posted comments and I can beat the lot. I was deemed unsatisfactory in my absence!!!! We had an external audit and I was off due to a flare up in my fibromyalgia symptoms. The auditor didn't like the way I had marked my folders and classed me as unsatisfactory. This has triggered a series of observations and lesson plans to be presented at the beginning of the week. All adding more stress. Fortunately I have a very supportive friend on SMT who is doing her best to help me sort things out.
    I totally agree, no one can make a judgement on a teacher whether NQT or experienced in such a short period of time, or in my case without being seen at all. I too was marked as outstanding in our last Ofsted inspection but recently (prior to the audit) when I was observed by our Asociate Principal I was told my lesson was only satisfactory because I "had my teacher head on". What the hell does that mean? I am a teacher, which head am I supposed to have on?I am very disenchanted at the moment, after 16 years of teaching this has definitely been the worst. Roll on summer holidays.
  5. I'm reading your description of inspections and judgements and hoping it never catches on in Australia. I'm wondering how you can feel vibrant and effective in a system which seems to devalue teachers, and very possibly divide colleagues. It sounds as though you have managed to value your own teaching even though it hasn't been recognised. The "experts" who have decided that teacher observations were a good idea are either unaware or don't agree with Dan Pink and his theories of what drives us to do what we do.
    Have you seen RSA Animate - Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us?


    It's worth a look!
    Enjoy and feel proud of the excellent job you do under very difficult circumstances.
  6. I know how the OP feels. I got inadequate at the last Ofsted insepction . I was observed in a class I had never taught before, given 2 TAs 15 mins before the lesson and I was heavily pregnant and generally ill/uncomfortable and hormonal! I usually get good lesson observations (a couple outstanding ones but not consistant). My lesson was inadequate becasue I hadn't used the LSPs effectively and that there were some Science objectives in my Music lesson (we were learning about pitch). I too am a Phase Coordinator and felt devestated after. I'm due to go back to work in September after maternity leave and am bricking it. I really am scared incase I am still deemed inadequate and I get hounded out!
  7. Big fleas have little fleas,
    Upon their backs to bite 'em,
    And little fleas have lesser fleas,
    and so on, ad infinitum
  8. I'm only in my 4th year of teaching, and whilst fuelling my hatred for the 'system', it has also made me feel better to read of all the experienced teachers out there who are also being deemed less than 'good'.
    But it is heartbreaking to know that there are so many of us putting our heart and souls into these children's educations, only to be told we are simply not good enough. To be 4 years into this job and already be considering alternative careers (when I absolutely love working with the children) must mean something.
    What always gets me is the irony. If we were to watch our children working their little socks off, and then simply say "You're not good enough" what would Ofsted think of us?
  9. Cotswoldpete, your post made me smile [​IMG] I love the analogies!
  10. yes I can feel your fury and frustration. thank heavens you are someone who hasn't always been a teacher and can see what a mess it has all become. I seem to remember that when SATs were introduced teachers wouldn't have to teach to the tests - of course not, ha ha. Guess what we are judged on (besides our teaching and robots learning)? Our SATs results. Glad I only have a term to go. Will I make it?
  11. I remember my English teacher when I was at school quoting this little ditty. This lesser flea is hopping off the bandwagon at the end of this year.
  12. I am in Australia and looking on the UK scene with interest. We always seem to inherit the UK and USA practices long after they have proved to fail. A good example of this is that we are about to roll out a National Curriculum in Australia. The question I have is when you are observed, are you provided with a criteria of what you will be observed on. That is sound teaching practice and should provide you with explicit areas to focus on. I am sure Australia will head down this path...unfortunately.
  13. <font size="2">It would be cheaper to have an NQT and you being satisfactory would mean they could maybe replace you. There is a fashion in schools now that an NQT with QTS even if they are appalling and have no life experience would be an outstanding decision for schools to make. </font>
  14. I feel exactly the same. I'd like to see what 'outstanding' actually looks like and are they able to keep that up day in day out. What will happen when Ofsted 'drop in' from September? Will teachers always have every lesson planned and delivered to Ofsted 'outstanding'. I don't think the children will be able to keep up, let alone us! Friday afternoons in Primary are often a 'finishing off' and for those who've been working hard all week 'Golden Time' - a chance to choose their own activities from a library of ideas organised by the teacher.
  15. The way to beat the system is to put on a show. Forget your usual lesson plan and work on a more interactive super *** plan just for the observation. Afterall that is what they want to see, but we know we have to teach the kids at the end of the day and it isnt and cant be all play. Dont take it to heart though, the observers are not as good as they would like to think they are. It is easy to criticise from behind a clip board, but they only see a short piece of what you do. Be reassured that if your kids are doing well you are doing your job well.
  16. I disagree entirely with putting on a show. When an inspector comes in to my classroom who, in my case, will almost certainly be younger than me, had less experience than me, taught in less schools than I have, has not been a manager longer than I have and not been face to face with the thousands of student I have taught or is not as qualified as I am then I would teach the way I believe is the most effective. That is - not totally driven by data, not stressing students with continual demands to 'perform' in front of visitors and not jumping through educational hoops designed on a business model of success. I will point them to my students' exam results and suggest if they can think of a better way of improving these and still getting the students to enjoy their learning experience (which most of them do) then I would be happy to listen. As long as your students are meeting and/or exceeding their targets who can criticise you? Therefore don't take it to heart that some goverment clone, who is basically following a similar checklist to a call centre operator deems you satisfactory. An 'outstanding' is rarely kept secret by those who achieve it. Does this not give you a hint of how devisive the whole system is? Worry only about yourself and where your beliefs take you but if you are not getting the results then start to worry.
  17. JUJUB

    JUJUB New commenter

    I have finally come to the conclusion after 30 years of 'teaching' that we are not being allowed to educate children in our society anymore. We can teach them tricks, make them jump through hoops, get them to assess their 'performance' and generally entertain them by making the lesson fun but God forbid we should really make them work too hard or think for themselves or broaden their intellects. It must all be very tightly controlled so that they think what teachers want them to think. Many people can provide outstanding lessons and acquit themselves admirably but that does not necessarily make them the best educators preparing students for life beyond the classroom and perhaps university. No wonder Gove thinks that A levels are not preparing students for further education - they aren't. Every teacher knows that students are only interested now in what will get them an A* and any attempts to open their, sadly, very closed minds, often results in disgruntlement. "I need to get an A*" not "I really find this interesting and I really want to know about this".
    I really do think we as a profession should be prepared to challenge OFSTED and management assessment procedures more. They do constantly move the goalposts. It is all highly political and this is something teachers need to take on board. Very soon your pay will be affected by these judgements and the judgements will depend on how much money your head and governors have to spend than on a realistic appraisal of your performance as a teacher. We are a football that is constantly being booted about to suit whichever agenda is being dealt with today. But judging by the comments I have read the leather is wearing mighty thin and this ball will soon go pop. In my experience the actual quality of education provided for the students is not a priority; students are merely statistics to be used to self publicise the excellence of a school in passing exams. It's a shoddy, shoddy system that seeks to make us feel bad about ourselves, constantly, because then we won't really question what the hell is going on.
    As someone earlier commented what would management or OFSTED say if we rarely/never praised our students for their efforts but readily condemned them?
  18. GyrFalcon - One or two things to consider:

    No, you (or anyone else) will never be good enough because

    A. The "education" system is run by a government and Civil Service that is totally anti-education and there is a wider
    agenda running here.

    B. The inspectorate run from a tick-sheet of predefined "behaviours". Two points here. The first is that the
    inspectors themselves most likely have less experience than you and most certainly cannot advise on
    teaching. Indeed, they are told they must not (in case their incompetence comes to light). Second, ever
    wonder who the genius was who wrote these standards for teaching? On what basis was this done?
    What theories of education were applied that were so unfailingly correct that they could be considered
    generic? I know of none that can be so considered.

    C. Using the basis of NVQ as a standard for teaching strikes me as highly suspect for more reasons than I
    can list here.

    The aggressive, institutionalized bullying culture that is "education" at all levels in the UK is totally unacceptable. Our professional bodies should be waging war on this behaviour rather than ignoring or even supporting it. It is time that the unions did something useful for once and began supporting staff to challenge such behaviour in court.

    The abuse of teachers and the teaching profession MUST STOP now. The damage that is being done can be seen on every street corner. This whole subject is one that should be addressed publically by the media.
    Where are you TES?
  19. JUJUB

    JUJUB New commenter

    Here Here!
  20. Where are you TES?

    That is such an interesting question and one I have pondered for a while... the newspaper just doesn't seem to stick to a view or a side or hold down an opinion.
    I wonder what other readers think.

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