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Totally demoralised after lesson observation

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

  1. I'm sure many posters agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment!
    But how?
    I've often wondered why the teaching profession seem to tolerate a bullying culture for themselves when they simply wouldn't accept it in the classroom. Is it that many do not have sufficient experience working in the wider world and assume that constant denigration is normal management practice?
  2. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    sadly as i take a break from drafting reports....

    ....i was a victim of an outgoing HT who didn't like me. He told the interim supply head this and i was observed the monday after Y6 sat week. i requested another day as i would like to out routine back but this was ignored (this was back in the day when science was tested on friday). he gave me a failing lesson ( i sent out a group to find library books to support their research on the subject and he felt i should have provided all the resources required) also their handwriting wasn't very good! I was observed again by him and a LA advisor the following week, was this time given a satisfactory fairly begrudgingly. Luckily incoming HT ignored his opinions and was determined to make her own mind up - good with outstanding features. I hung on to the fact that interim was temporary but was very close to giving up.

    I know i am a good teacher - had a very poor Y6 class last year. Out of 32 children only 6 came into the year with 4c, everyone else was L3 or below. by the time they left there were 80% L4 in english and maths, however i can only be good as there weren't enough level5! (LA opinon, HT argued but got nowhere) Have also been told by LA that number of L6 this year will be reported. it is disheartening but the children are the important thing about this job and if you canshow they are learning then stuff the rest
  3. Here, here!
  4. We can't let this happen to us in Australia! It is absurd to treat teachers with so little respect or acknowledgement of their efforts and intelligence. It's a wonder they are not all on stress leave. But, I do feel the pull to all being the same, looking the same, sounding the same, and producing the same results. The discussion of performance payments will lead to a similar disgraceful system for us. Sounds like a time to stand-up and say something, before we get rounded up into a system which has little to do with teaching, and more to do with performing.
  5. I too have 10 years experience plus worldly experience that i put into every lesson, unfortunately thats not what is needed. I'm surrounded by box ticker who do not actually teach but need to cater for all types of students so you have to ensure Literacy and Numeracy is box ticked. Making sure ALL your resources are with you. Differentiate all levels having a starter, using Pose Pause Pounce method and using 5 part lesson plan. Its a performance as no one can draw up this list in ALL lessons as it is impossible.
    M Gandhi
  6. Have been in the demoralised club after having only scraped one good this term. We all work flippin hard in my school - but head is very twitchy about OFSTED and so is seriously putting pressure on us to show every feature of a good lesson in each 10 minute chunk of lesson that they "drop in" to observe. Making us paranoid I can tell you.

    Will someone please make Willshaw and Gove read this thread.... they need to know.

  7. pittskeFL

    pittskeFL New commenter

    That's a really good point! Anyone, no matter whether adult or child will quickly feel demoralised if they feel they are too often judged as "not good" - what with it being on TV all the time - "satisfactory" is 3rd out of 4! (and redefined as pretty poor). If only there was a more supportive system alongside this crass one ... maybe teachers should rebel, take back some power and control over our professional development and invent one. I heard of an interesting open door system described at a conference a year ago.
  8. I dont think we should even be graded, then we wouldn't have the problem.
    Simply identifying strengths and setting targets for development would suffice perfectly and be useful, whilst not meaning teachers would feel either better or worse than any other teacher.
    When Ofsted come they should make an overall judgement of the teaching without judging individual lessons - at least then we would feel like we were all in it together if judged unsatisfactory and no fingers would be pointed.
    I accept that there will be truly unsatisfactory teaching happening in some places, but this would be for headteachers to identify and support in a supportive role. A good headteacher will know where a teacher requires support because they will have a good knowledge of what goes on in classrooms, and should not need to make judgements on formal lesson observations to know this. If issues are picked up quickly and delicately by headteachers, and addressed in the same manner, we would have less teachers failing because we wouldn't feel so worthless and under such immense pressure to perform which often results in us falling into an exhaused, crumpled heap with no confidence that we can ever do well. Of course we will then fail because we have been told we are useless.
    I am fed up with the education system and its need to judge and categorise EVERYTHING. It's not useful.
    Who cares if 75% of children reaching 2C+ is classed as good, or satisfactory, or unsatisfactory....? They will be a completely different bunch of children to last year and as long as the head is happy that the teaching is fine and teachers are reflecting and developing, and children are happy and making progress, why on earth does it matter? We don't compare like for like where data is concerned because EVERY class and EVERY child is different, yet we have to try because those that be say we should. If I spent less time analysing how well my vulnerable groups were doing and alaysing data I would be able to pour more of my heart and soul into actually teaching the little puddings.
    Sorry to go off on a tangent (And sorry about my rather long and grammatically incorrect sentences...) but it is just another way that the education system infuriates me.
    It really is a shame we can't do something about this NOW and let those that be, including the media, know how we are really feeling. The problem is that the government have already done their darn best to make the general public hate us by harping on about how good we've got it, slating us when we strike, talking about how rubbish british schools are, and generally having a dig at the teaching profession in general whenever they get chance.
    Even if people were made aware I don't know if anybody would 'have our backs'.
  9. lejanderson

    lejanderson New commenter

    I love this idea. Would be much more useful and less disheartening. As a relatively new teacher, I'm very welcome to ideas on how to improve but the grading system doesn't help me at all. Tell me what I did well and what I could work on - that's all I need.
  10. Some real world definitions are required here:
    Professional - means that you get paid for what you do, and you specialise in something. Not directly related to how "good" you are at that specialism, only that someone is willing to pay you to do it.
    Professional in the private sector - either someone who cheats customers of their money, or someone who gives customers good value for money. Professional teachers in the private sector have parents as customers - not pupils. Ergo, the best pupils in the private sector have the best parents, and the best books to read. However, the best teachers in the private sectors are often the ones judged the worst, because they don't give the rich bad parent the "teaching the test" and "the teacher is more important than the books" pedagogy that is expected.
    Think "Dead Poets Society".
    Professional in the public sector - someone whose customer is a politician - a liar, cheat, egocentric, dogmatic, and idealogue. Professional teacher (UK public sector version) - most of the time a zookeeper or social worker, and some of the time a lecturer, tutor, and mentor. Ergo, the best teachers in the public sector are often the ones judged the worst, because they do not give the lying, cheating, egocentric, dogmatic, ideologue customer the box ticking that is required. However, just as in the private sector, the best pupils have the best parents, and the best books.
    My son has been accepted by Oxford. Not just because I answer his questions in my specialist subject (maths), but also because he reads almost as many books as I did when I was his age. He has many more "teachers" than he sees in school.
    OFSTED - an organisation that judges teachers either by their pupils or by the teachers compliance with doctrine and dogma. In other words, if the pupils are good (e.g. read books), the teacher is "good", no matter how bad, and if the pupils are bad, the teacher can still be "good" if he ticks off the right boxes.
    And what are these boxes?
    1. Teaching the test. That is exactly what you get with "Assessment for Learning", and every other "new way" of "raising standards". A political objective.
    "Standards", "levels", and "league tables" have nothing to do with education. What should come out of every high school is an adult who learns by making mistakes when tested, who is tested on what he will still remember after 10 years, who is taught things worth remembering after 10 years, and who can now learn for himself.
    2. Personalised learning. Basically, teaching children that they do NOT OWN the learning process, do NOT need to take responsibility for their learning, do NOT need to ask questions in class if they don't understand it the first time, do NOT need to read books outside of school, and who should NOT do "too much" homework, because they should be doing homework in the classroom instead, because it shows how good the teacher is in "behaviour management".
    It is impossible for a teacher to "personalise" learning in a classroom, other than as "one to one" tuition and mentoring. You only punish the gifted and talented who complete their assigned classwork early, if you only just then give them something harder to do.
    3. "Pupil Data", "Assessment for Learning", and "Value Added". Basically, teaching children that the way to "play the game" is as follows:
    Be considered "defective" in learning capability, e.g. from a "disadvantaged background", as determined by "statistics" for your sub-group. Be assessed at a very low "level" at the end of year 6. Make steady improvements in test scores, so that at the end of year 11 you have achieved a score above a "national average" for your "defective" and/or "disadvantaged" sub-group.
    And the way NOT to "play the game" is:
    Be considered "privileged" in any way that can be measured by "statistics" - and then needing help understanding something that is hard to understand. Not because you are stupid, but because you are smart enough to understand that it is really hard to understand, and that there is no point in simply remembering it for the test unless you understand it.
    You have a choice. You can be "outstanding" for OFSTED, or you can be outstanding for your pupils. So be a professional. Play the game. Remember who your "customer" is.

  11. QFE

    QFE New commenter

    Nice one pv - an excellent post[​IMG]
  12. I rarely post on forums, so please excuse any errors in protocol. Just want to say that I taught in Junior Schools for over 30 years. When I started we had HMIs, who knew their stuff, dropped in unannounced, observed and then fed back with some ideas for improvement. [​IMG] So you had a route to follow in order to improve. It wasn't stressful. (Believe me, I get stressed very easily.)
    Once OFSTED started it all changed. I never did very well when observed; partly because I believed that it was wrong to put on a show, and just taught the way I always taught (big mistake, I now realise) and partly because they moved the goalposts so fast, and didn't give us CPD specifically to cover the new changes. OK, so I'm not a good teacher, but I worked myself to the limit and was very willing to learn. Except they were not willing to teach me. I remember asking an OFSTED inspector what I could do to improve my "satisfactory" lesson and was told, in an astonished tone of voice, "Oh, I can't tell you <u>that</u>!" So what, I wondered, was the use of his coming?

    I now work in FE. I recommend it. The pay is LOW, but they let you get on with it. With so much less pressure, I finally have the time to research, read and improve my teaching knowledge, and the space to try out new ideas and improve my teaching practice.
  13. AlwaysAdaptable

    AlwaysAdaptable New commenter

    I am leaving at the end of August. Isn't there OFSTED in FE? What subject can a primary trained teacher teach in FE? How do I get into it? I haven't even started looking but was hoping to do something education related. Even considered working as a TA. These observations and unrealistic expectations are knocking the stuffing out of me.(if there is such a saying) Shouldn't feel like that but do.
  14. I work in FE and yes we do have OFSTED and yes we have the same pressure as all the other threads on the previous 8 pages. I wish I had the same luxury to read, research and improve as MissGollumeyes, unless you count Saturday and Sunday as part of your timetable. I don't know one of my colleagues who does not work during their own time just to keep afloat and the observation process is just as brutal in college.
  15. I have child in my class who will not reach level 4 for maths at the end of Y6. This year I have made an executive decision to focus on giving him skills which will enable him to cope with numbers in the real world... not pass a SATS test. I can see real improvement in his ability and confidence.
    When he sits the Y5 optional test at the end of the year, however, he will struggle to get level 3, and may only scrape one in Y6. Am I being a good teacher or not Mr.Gove-Wilshaw?
  16. zugthebug

    zugthebug New commenter

    this was the government who scrapped Every Child Matters.
    SO no sorry it won't be good enough to get a level 3 unless he was a level 1 at KS1.
    Have 2 boys in my Y6 class, both new to the school in sept, both from difficult backgrounds, one had refused to do any work at all at previous school and came virtually illiterate (had to start with phase 2 phonics) one from an abusive background and hadn't attended school for more that a year (home schooled) was around level1. both are about to complete phase 5 phonics shortly after easter, are settled, attending, producing work, and will be assessed by me as 2a (neither can cope with the quantity of reading to attempt the Y6 paper so can't really think about L3). They can add and subtract incl money and have just begun to work on multiplication. writing is basic but fully punctuated sentences and have begun to expand with details. At the other end, having been told by LA that L6 will be reported, I have about 4-6 who will be sitting the L6 papers (content in maths I have to teach separately as not easy to link with 'normal' curriculum) I have 30% with special needs and will be brought to task as most of them will be L3 in writing.
    However none of this matters if you don't get the right percentages at KS2 - they don't want good teachers just drill sergeants to produce the paper results.
  17. JUJUB

    JUJUB New commenter

    Actually, I didn't write this rosequartz - I had quoted another more detailed post by winlinuser.
    However, I think that the reason that such a bullying culture is being tolerated by the profession is rather that outside working practices have been brought into the education system. Many headteachers are gradually deadheading more experienced staff to bring in a less experienced more malleable workforce who have no idea of what the profession was like before OFSTED and performance management.Young staff are then encouraged to adopt a very competitive cut-throat attitude to their jobs/colleagues that will enable them to climb to the top of the tree asap where they can be business like micro managers and forget about educating pupils. It has become a very self serving profession and is no longer a vocation for some individuals but a job like most other business jobs. In my experience, teaching graduates now are often excellent bureaucrats who can produce fantastically detailed four part lesson plans to keep OFSTED and SMT happy and be able to tell everyone what they need to be doing without necessarily being able to keep a class on task/quiet/making progress.
    This has been mirrored in the health service where some senior nursing staff now can be very well qualified but aren't prepared to get their hands dirty with the patients. It'll all end in tears.
    Four part lesson plans and First degrees do not necessarily a good lesson/teacher make.
    Sad and cynical[​IMG]

  18. JUJUB

    JUJUB New commenter

    Again this is a quote from winlinuser - give this person the credit they deserve - I'm not comfortable with stealing thunder from other people to make myself look good - probably why I'll never get to the top in this profession...


  19. Just remember it
    is Ofsted not your HT who has determined the new grade boundaries - Mr Gove
    might make a suitable target board. Your HT can't keep their teaching up to scratch and run a school well at the same time - although they do need to have been an outstanding teacher and be up-todate on current trends - so giving accuarate and useful feedback. Your grading is based on sustained evidence
    i.e .you could have an outstanding lesson obs and your class make satisfactory
    progress in the past so it wasn't really a true and fair reflection on your T&L. Some could pull it out the bag for the hour but over the rest of year be satisfactory. But under the new criteria it is based on your lesson
    obs, your class progress (current and over the last 3 years if available and based on the cohort trend) and
    any monitoring e.g. book / planning scrutiny. Although I don't agree with the
    new grading boundaries - it SEEMS to be a fairer system in that you may be very
    nervous / have a bad lesson obs but your term on term (year on year) pupil
    progress is always good as is the book / planning scrutiny - so overall this
    evidence can give you a grading of GOOD (for T&L) and vs. versa. Keep going - swings and
    roundabouts - new government - new changes.[​IMG]
  20. Remember when the Ofsted bod gives that rating it is THAT lesson being rated NOT YOU!!!!
    Also remember we are human. We cannot give oustanding lessons every lesson, evey day of every week of every term. It is humanly, physically and emotionally impossible.
    Also remember to consider when was the LAST time that Ofsted bod actually taught in a classroom?
    ATL believe all Ofsted inspectors should teach for one term every academic year. This will remind them what we are up against.

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