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Worried Observation- unsure what to do

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Gamina, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Gamina

    Gamina New commenter

    I have worked at my currant school since my NQT year. Its a small one form entry ranging from nursery to year 6. For my first two years I was the year 1 teacher which I loved and found very rewarding. At the end of last year when teachers were being reshuffled around the school my head asked me if I would like to take on a slightly different role. I was offered a term teaching in reception and nursery sharing the load with two part time teachers and covering the last term of another teachers maternity up until Christmas.

    I really wanted the experience in EY and jumped at the chance. I knew then that when the teacher returned from maternity my role would change. I was told that I would be covering one day of ppa in a year 5 class. Have one day curriculum time to sort out the schools ICT (a lot needs doing) and the rest of my time would be divided between year 6 and 2 giving support to groups to get them ready for SATs. I was happy for the change and it knew it would be good to see what goes on and get a grounding in other year groups.

    When I returned from Christmas I spent one week settling the returning maternity teacher into the EY setting. Then due to illness I spent time covering year 2 which with my year one experience was not outside my comfort zone. In the three weeks I have spent 4 and half days working with groups in year 6. I covered one mornings teaching without the class teacher but other than that I have simply been there in a supporting role working closely on a 1:3 basis with children that need the support.

    In a week the school the headteacher as well as a our new school SIP will be observing all class teachers. I was told on Friday that I will be expected to teach the year 6 class and be observed. I have only ever taught year 6 in a 4 week placement on my PGCE and my experience otherwise is the 4 and a half days I have spent working with groups and half a day covering. I am expected to plan and teach for whole class. One third of the class is being taken out by a learning mentor who I also have to plan for. He will be observed teaching my plan as well as me teaching and a judgement will be made on him delivering my plans and considered in my final observation grade.

    I am in a complete blind panic. Whilst the class teacher has suggested that this week I take a few of her numeracy lessons to get used to teaching the class this will still mean my entire lesson observation and plan will be based on 2 weeks experience in year 6 and in fact in ks2. Not only will the head be watching but the SIP and the class teacher will not be in the room. I am unsure of the curriculum at this level and have no idea what the learning mentor is doing or capable of when he takes his group.

    Normally I do not get stressed and have never worried about my head observing before, I even felt I handled our ofsted observations well. I am unsure whether to approach my head or line manager and express my worries as the thought of the observation is really having an adverse effect on my health and I am no longer enjoying the prospect of work :(
     
  2. Gamina

    Gamina New commenter

    Added - Sorry for the wall of text my browser appears loath to add in my paragraph breaks...
     
  3. Gamina

    Gamina New commenter

    Anyone?
     
  4. I dont think its at all unreasonable to ask to be observed teaching in a year group you are comfortable in.
    I would also suggest maybe at the same time as requesting this, that you offer to be re-observed teaching Y6 in a few months to allow you time to perhaps organise to teach them whole class and give you time to get some experience with them under your belt.
    If they dont allow this, I would take full advantage of the offer from the class teacher - perhaps ask to team teach a lesson or two, then take on a full lesson yourself with her providing constructive feedback/advice. Id also arrange to meet with the learning mentor and ask for his/her advice based on his/her knowledge of the children they work with - this can then form the basis for your plan for them.
    Finally though - do NOT let this affect your health. Its simply not worth it. Observations are hellish enough when it is with your own class that you know inside out - how can you be expected to know the ability levels and learning styles most favoured by a class you have never taught? If you must be observed, dont let their final judgement affect you negatively. Simply respond by explaining that you had very, very little experience in that class/year group and BELIEVE IT yourself too. Dont let it grind you down - its their problem if you get a poor grading as they have put you in an unfair situation.
     
  5. I'm not sure. I was observed by Ofsted as an NQT in my second week of teaching my mixed-age class.
    Feedback included the fact that I didn't seem to know my class very well. I pointed out that this was only my second week in school and I was basically told, "tough" - I was teaching a class of pupils and was expected to be as competent as any other teacher.
    I think that, given your length of experience, they would expect to see you coping OK in a new situation.
    Sorry not to be very helpful but, with hindsight, I'm inclined to agree with the inspector a little. If my child was in my class, I'd expect a teacher who knew what they were doing!
     
  6. Gamina

    Gamina New commenter

    I would feel the same in regards to wanting a teacher who knew my child but I am not their teacher. I think when I add up how much time I have spent in this class and indeed this keystage in my three years of teaching it totals 5 days broken up over half days. I don't see how that gives me much experience. The class teacher will be in school observing other people for the morning while I teach her class and have her observation instead.

    I think your experience with Ofsted is very poor. We had Ofsted a few weeks into my NQT year and while I was observed the inspector knew I was an NQT. I was given very helpful feedback that actually helped me move forward in what I was doing.

    We were told our targets for this observation should be based on the targets from our first terms observation but my first observation this year was in the foundation stage and the targets just do not translate into this setting.

    Luckily I have line management tomorrow and will be voicing my concerns then.
     
  7. becky70

    becky70 New commenter

    Didn't want to read and run as you've had no response so far.
    Think you need to talk to someone ASAP about your concerns - perhaps go to your line manager first. I used to cover classes across my school but was only ever observed teaching classes that I taught each week and I was seen teaching the subjects I had taken full responsibility for teaching e.g. I had a class I taught every Wednesday afternoon, I always taught them RE so that is what I was observed teaching.
    I would ask the Year 6 class teacher to support you with planning your lesson if the observation has to go ahead. Personally if I was the SIP I would want to see the Year 6 class teacher teaching the Year 6 class.
    Re: finding it stressful and worrying, large numbers of teachers are stressed every time they are observed including many good/outstanding ones! It's quite common for an observation you feel worried about to still go well.
    Talk to people at your work, get some help with this.
     
  8. becky70

    becky70 New commenter

    Well, you hadn't when I started writing my post!
     
  9. So would I - but I wouldn't expect the classteacher to know my child inside out until a good few weeks into the role of full time class teacher, which the OP is not.
    Im a full time class teacher in Y2 and would be annoyed if asked to be observed in Y6 with no time to gain experience in that key stage.
    If theres no other option, you need to give it a damn good go but don't take the verdict to heart.
     

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