Nervy about observations.

(22 Posts)
mycatoscar Tue 13-Nov-12 21:10:48

Does anyone else get really really wound up about observations?

Ever since an ofsted about a year ago I seem to have developed a real thing about being observed. I found out yesterday I'm bring observed later this week by a group of head teachers whilst they visit our school. I'm absolutely terrified and this is the way I feel every time I know I'm being observed. I keep getting panicky and tearful and have been physically sick with the worry about it.

I'm fed up with feeling like this, I've got ten years experience and other than the ofsted where I got satisfactory on one small element I normally get good in observations. It's not normal to feel like this is it? I sat here crying. I imagine crashing the car or breaking my leg and not having to go in on observation day.

I love my job, I love teaching my class. I hate observations sad

pudding25 Tue 13-Nov-12 21:19:37

You are not alone. I absolutely hate observations too. We are due Ofsted sometime soon and I feel sick at the thought.

mycatoscar Tue 13-Nov-12 21:22:08

Glad it's not just me being weird pudding wink we too are expecting ofsted come new year and am trying very hard nog to think about it.

Chottie Tue 13-Nov-12 21:29:14

I don't thing anyone really likes OTLs. Think about past obs and how you successfully completed them. Read through the criteria and ensure you are fully prepared. Good luck {}

mycatoscar Tue 13-Nov-12 21:43:04

That's rational thinking chottie thank you. Just wondering how I got from being normally nervous and a big worried about obs to the point where I am now, physically throwing up at the thought of being observed and having episodes of my heart leaping out of my chest and my hands shaking. I need to find a way to calm down and get over this feeling blush it's ridiculous.

cricketballs Tue 13-Nov-12 21:43:21

what union are you in? I'm asking as the action short of strike directives would suggest that you don't agree to being observed in this manner - why are you being displayed like a side show for visiting heads?

mycatoscar Tue 13-Nov-12 21:47:10

I'm in nasuwt. I'm not the only one being observed, so it's not personal, but yes I think we are all feeling like we're part of a circus at the moment! We briefly mentioned the union stance on obs at a meeting a while back and we were shouted down very quickly and it was made clear that if we wanted to be seen as committed then we would agree to these observations.

cricketballs Tue 13-Nov-12 22:00:50

maybe you need to speak to your area rep for advise this is really not good that as a staff you are being expected to do this, not good for your students and certainly not good as a school if you are 'forced' to show commitment

TINKERBELLE33 Tue 13-Nov-12 22:23:13

I can totally sympathise having had ofsted last week and being sick throughout. Thankfully I kept it together whilst being observed. Not sure where this came from as I'm usually ok with observations. I would definitely recommend getting union support. They are currently helping us get our full PPA as timetables have been changed this year meaning we are getting 50 mins less than our 10%.

mycatoscar Thu 15-Nov-12 17:24:35

Well I got a requires improvement. My TA decided not to work with the group I'd asked him to therefore they got stick on a concept and didn't make enough progress in the lesson. I'm seriously wondering whether to hand my notice in. The thought of leaving my class and lively colleagues breaks my heart but I don't want to feel like this any more. sad

Autumnmumm Thu 15-Nov-12 17:30:50

The new criteria means they are looking at progress over time not just one lesson. Read up on the new criteria. Knowledge is power.

Autumnmumm Thu 15-Nov-12 17:32:02

If the head has chosen your lessons for visitors to view then they must feel very confident about your teaching.

mycatoscar Thu 15-Nov-12 18:01:36

Autumn mum I queried that but she said her and the other heads all a greed that made it a req improvement lesson. She had the criteria in front of her. I poi ted out it said over time and spike about how I'd realised there was a misconception and how my next lesson would address that. Not good enough. All pupils must make progress in the lesson and all misconceptions must be addressed in the same lesson. I cannot stop crying and shaking. I don't want to go in tomorrow. I hate feeling like this. Please almond help me.

pudding25 Thu 15-Nov-12 19:34:31

Oh, you poor thing. It is so ridiculously unrealistic. You have realised that some kids need more support so you will address it in the next lesson. That's the correct thing to do.
First of all, is your head/deputy head approachable and nice? If so, I would arrange a meeting with them, tell them how you are feeling and ask for support. If that is not an option, I would speak to your union to ask them for some advice, especially if your head is saying that the criteria have not changed and others said they have.

mycatoscar Fri 16-Nov-12 03:54:52

The heads plan for support is to pop into my lessons numerous times before Christmas to check up on me. She said I shouldn't be stressed because she Wong bring her clipboard. I feel this will bd intolerable because i will constantly be on edge i know I could argue that the guidelines don't say all children to make good progress in that one lesson but quits frankly that us what shes insisting on and she will not budge. She's approachable and nice on the surface but I feel completely Unrealistic in terms if what can be achieved. I want to hand my notice in but not sure she would let me go for Xmas although think she probably wants rid of me. Also we rely on my money so if I quit my job I would have to go on supply which I'm not sure I would cope with bearing in mind my confidence levels at the moment. When the new teacher standards came in we were warned that one satisfactory (or now requires improvement!) lesson would start the pathway towards incompetency ... I never thought would be me, my children are happy and learning, they make good progress over time. I joked with her last night that I should just go And work down tesco, my god I wish I could afford that right now! sadsadsadsadsad really don't know what to do today, I'm not sure I can face school but I'm not someone who rings in sick all the time.

pudding25 Fri 16-Nov-12 09:56:28

Are you secondary or primary? I get the impression secondary as priary schools don't seem to be going down the incompetency route like this.

I can totally understand how you are feeling but if you need the money, don't quit. Do you have any other teachers who you work with who can help you with your planning so that you feel more prepared?

Popping into lessons to check up on you isn't actual support though. What is she going to do to actually help you improve? Has she offered any suggestions? I would say to her that you would like help with some strategies. Can you tell her that you want to observe some teachers who she feels are good/outstanding? Can they team teach with you? By doing this, it shows that you are being proactive and if you e-mail her these suggestions then you have proof that you are trying hard to improve your teaching if it goes down the incompetency route. The school need to show that they are supporting and helping you, not just turning up in the classroom.

I would definitely have a word with your union (or union rep) if you have one at school and find out exactly what the school should be doing to support you properly.

I hope today wasn't too bad.

orangeandlemons Fri 16-Nov-12 12:32:37

Marking my place here.

I had 6 months off sick last year due to stress of observations. I just cannot cope with them. I love teaching the kids, but hate all the shit about it. I feel the same as you.

Been back 8 weeks and have another obs next. Am starting to crumble again. I too am dreading osted. Have vile vile y11 class and the thought of them makes me feel sick. And am stuffed up to they eyeballs on paroxetine due to this, but still feel so down about it.

It seems to be that to be a good teacher these days you have to be an excellent actor. But I went into teaching to teach not perform. It all seems so skewed and twisted these days. Where are the unions in all this? It seems that genuinely good and dedicated teachers are being driven out of the profession due to observations which can't be right.

Sargesaweyes Fri 16-Nov-12 19:43:22

Observations suck! I was observed today and got a good. I had my head down the toilet 10 minutes before. This is a new school that I am working at and the 2 previous schools that I have worked at have graded me as outstanding in lesson obs. I am pretty down about my grade today (I know this is silly) as I haven't done anything differently really but seem to have a mountain of points to work on. Someone also did a walk around today regarding displays being Ofsted ready so have a load of points to work on with those as well.

I dream of a new system which doesn't involve this constant scrutinising. Why can't it all be based more on progress and results than if your lesson has this/that and whatever else included in it.

Anyway I feel your pain OP.

Lifeissweet Fri 16-Nov-12 19:58:08

I am so glad it's not just me. I feel just like this. I had one last week and I'd known about it for 2 weeks - so that was two weeks of feeling on edge and tearful and paranoid and anxious. I did it on Tuesday after a sleepless night. I haven't had feedback yet, so I am still feeling sick and can't eat anything for fear of what will be said when I do. The worst of it was that I am a Primary teacher, but as I work part time and the Head doesn't like job shares in classes, I don't have my own class. I teach mainly ICT. I had to teach maths for my observation to a class who are not my own, in a classroom that is not my own and basing my expectations on what their teacher told me and what was in their books as i have never taught them Maths before. I know that one group's work was pitched too high. I adjusted it as the lesson went on, but I'm so worried about it.

I was off with stress for 3 months two years ago and this is bringing it all back. I love teaching, but this is just complete shit.

Sargesaweyes Fri 16-Nov-12 20:15:55

I'm also a job share lifeis and I do feel quite vulnerable because of it. I would be really annoyed if I was you regarding feedback. I got it an hour later which was bad enough. I was pissed off because HT didn't look at the work that the children actually produced. When I've been observed before children's work has always been taken afterwards to be analysed against targets and whether they have made good/outstanding progress. I think this is fair as it means it's not just the snapshot that is being considered.

Does anyone else feel that you can never do enough??

orangeandlemons Sat 17-Nov-12 17:05:06

It seems to me that teaching has become totally skewed ATM. It is purely about how well you perform when being observed these days. I just think this is so wrong. Somehow the important stuff has been lost and the ability to perform and be judged on this has taken over

PopMusicShoobyDoobyDoA Sun 18-Nov-12 20:46:53

Aw, mycatoscar totally understand where you are coming from. I hate HATE HATE observations too and it's got to the stage that I can't even have a colleague in the class, I completely fall apart. But then I had a bitch of a head who completely ruined my self esteem and confidence when I was an nqt. It was a while, after I left the school, that I realised that actually I am a good teacher.

I think you need to get the union involved here. It's unacceptable that the Head can come in whenever she likes. No wonder you are having panic attacks. And what is the bullshit with a group of people coming into observe? It sucks and blows at the same time.

sargesa absolutely agree with you regarding one can never do enough. My experience of head teachers are that a lot of them don't actually care about the children unless its for statistical reasons or the staff and actually try to leech as much blood out of us as they can. Bitter, me? Well, my views are skewed by first head teacher of course but also through supply. I am quite happy to do supply at schools with unsupportive slt/slg but I feel sorry for the permanent staff at these places.

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