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Unannounced lesson observations

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by chris592, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. chris592

    chris592 New commenter

    Hi All

    I just wanted to pass a recent management idea by you to get general feedback.

    In our school, the SLT always do bi-yearly internal department inspections where, for a three week period, all member of the department are observed three times (two by senior management and one by a governor). in the past the SLT gave us a timetable so that we all knew when we were going to be observed.
    This year, they have changed the system so that one of the lessons will be unannounced and could happen at any time throughout that three week period.
    To me, that seems a little bit harsh considering how much anxiety there is for an observed lesson.

    I wanted to know if there are any other school that have this practice and how professional teachers feel about it.

  2. needabreak

    needabreak Star commenter

    Depends how different they are to learning walks and what they will be used for, as well as the understanding that usually and hopefully lessons vary in pace, content and approach.
  3. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Might well mean that the observer walks in to find (in secondary) they observe a lesson long test, carried out in silence; or a practice exam paper; or a lesson long video. And that might happen quite often...
  4. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    In that week there would be a lot of tests, drama and other difficult to observe lessons. You know it.
    sbkrobson likes this.
  5. Twinkle_toes

    Twinkle_toes New commenter

    One of my previous schools did this - for three weeks we were expected to have lesson plans, class data sheets and annotated seating plans for every class. It was a nightmare - especially when one teacher would be observed the first day and that was it. For some of us it was the last day.
    Thankfully i no longer work there!
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    The problem is the phrase
    "Don't do anything different to what you normally do"

    Who in your school really believes that? If it really is the case then there's no need for any warning or allocated periods at all but inevitably stress levels go and stay through the roof.

    Really it depends on how bothered SLT are about the stress levels as opposed to their ticky-boxes. I'd like to say that if the staff get together (via a union) then it can be turned into a positive experience for all parties but that is highly unlikely.

    DISCLAIMER: I bailed out into long-term supply so I barely suffer these as the observer will already have already decided it's a waste of his valuable time and will act accordingly.
  7. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Why are you allowing governors to check lessons. They are not professionals in education. Perhaps the caretaker or cleaner should also observer your lessons.
    Daredevil111 likes this.
  8. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    True, but they could then walk out and come back again on another occasion. It would be hard to have something like this arranged for every lesson over a three week period, and rather unfair on the students.

    I think you just need to take them at their word and do whatever you usually would. I did this for any observation, but was lucky enough to be in a school that allowed this.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    I wasn't suggesting that someone might do this deliberately, but I suspect some might arrange a rather large number of such lessons during those 3 weeks than in another 3 weeks!;)
  10. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    I suspect that teachers would arrange this for their most difficult groups so observers would only stay for the best behaved / motivated groups
    FrankWolley likes this.

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