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unsatisfactory assessment

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by super-supply, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. My partner is a teacher in a different school from me just over the border.
    Her school has been doing frequent lesson observations for many years and she's
    nearly always had 'good' or 'outstanding'.

    This year though a new management team has taken over... New Headteacher and
    new head of department. The assessment criteria has also changed. The new head of department has been observing most of my partner's lessons throughout
    this academic year, and as a result, she's only been getting satisfactory. The
    problem is that my partner is a perfectionist and is not satisfied with

    But here's the bit you're going to love. My partner has just found out that
    that the key stage head who's been observing her has had a string of
    'UNsatisfactory' grades in her observations over the same period!

    Is it right for a teacher who's getting 'unsatisfactory' so much, to even
    assess another? Has anyone else heard of this happening?
  2. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    It wouldn't surprise me because I know of a number of primary HTs and DHTs who were no great shakes themselves when they were classroom teachers.
    In fact, they couldn't wait to get out of the classroom.
    Classroom observations are all part of the managerial model of education, beloved of government and their bureaucrats, because it allows them to exert control over teachers without necessarily improving learning and teaching.
    At best classroom observations are a simplistic tick-box exercise, based on debatable criteria, or at worst an individual judgement based on gut instinct or sometimes even malicious intent.
    Some teachers make themselves look good by putting others down.
    I once attended a course where we were asked to watch a video of a class lesson and then grade it on a scale from unsatisfactory to outstanding. Guess what? The scores the course group gave ranged from unsatisfactory to outstanding.
    Interestingly I read an article written by a prospective Ofsted inspector who reported a similar experience. One observer's unsatisfactory lesson is another's outstanding one.
    Of course it could be argued that in the hands of an experienced, professional and supportive observer such an exericise can help a teacher develop their teaching skills and classroom organisation. In which case, why is it necessary to formerly grade the lesson beyond giving the helpful advice.
    Classroom observations are fundamentally about control. They are also wide open to abuse.
    Indeed, I have personal experience of a primary HT who used to target individual members of staff who, in any way, stood up to her very dominating personality. In addition to 'unsatisfactory' lesson observations, this would take the form of very openly rebuking, and humiliating, the said target teacher in front of other staff, parents and even pupils.
    What is even more worrying is that the same HT regularly boasted to anyone who would listen that she had another very important educational role.
    She was a part-time, associate HMIe inspector.
  3. coaltown1

    coaltown1 New commenter

    Hmmm! Sounds very familiar! I wonder!?
  4. I've found this to be the case quite often too!
    There is a member of the SMT at my school who has been accused of this by several other members of staff, but nothing ever comes of it and she continues to do this.
    When I was mentoring a probationer I always tried to give helpful feedback which pointed out the good things and gave suggestions for ways to improve one area, not just slate everything. She says that she learned a lot from the positive way her observations were handled, but that the negative ones from SMT just made her feel like she was a rubbish teacher with nothing to offer.

  5. Does the person who has been observing your partner also teach a class?

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