What's the most useless piece of feedback you have received after a lesson observation?

(94 Posts)
LizzieVereker Thu 19-Sep-13 23:10:43

It's lesson observation time at our school, and everyone is getting anxious and comparing notes. I always promise myself I won't get worked up, but I always do grin.

To cheer myself up, and to remind myself that judgements can be a bit abitrary, I wondered if fellow teachers would share the most pointless feedback they have received. I would like to offer the following:

"Just do exactly what you are doing but better!" (said to a colleague who asked for specific strategies to move a lesson from good to outstanding)

"Why did you waste 10 minutes having them read the book aloud? Wouldn't it just be easier to show them the film?" (said to me, an English teacher).

And my personal nadir of feedback bollocks: "you achieved the objectives, the behaviour was excellent, they all made progress, but it just didn't feel right. So I'm grading it "requires improvement"...

Anyone got any more?

mineofuselessinformation Fri 20-Sep-13 20:39:49

Does anyone ever get given the current criteria under which observations are going to be made BEFORE the lesson?

Judyandherdreamofhorses Fri 20-Sep-13 20:44:37

Yes, we got the current criteria.

Remus, I've been in my school three weeks and just love it. They have just got it all right. It had better be judged outstanding. Because it genuinely is. Not box tickingly so, really, properly outstanding (sob sob, over-emotional returnee from four years of mat-leave and SAHMing).

SuffolkNWhat Fri 20-Sep-13 20:46:11

Oh another one during my PGCE was that I was too short. I'll teach using stilts then shall I? (I was already wearing heels)

squiddle Fri 20-Sep-13 20:49:28

These are great. I actually don't know how teachers manage to keep their enthusiasm!

ravenAK Fri 20-Sep-13 21:20:52

One of my colleagues got: 'Well, it was Good all the way, but you printed your differentiated homework sheets on different coloured paper, so I'm going with Outstanding overall.'

She was like this hmm grin.

A colleague was once given a Satisfactory (when such things existed) because the autistic boy in his class refused to talk to a partner and did the work alone.

spudmasher Fri 20-Sep-13 21:25:19

This is why all management and leadership should teach a class....including the head.
Such a great thread!

Inclusionist Fri 20-Sep-13 21:32:58

I'm on the other side and doing rounds of observations.

I saw a really outstanding lesson this week with one very difficult boy in it who was disengaged some of the time (but not at all disruptive). I was taking to the SIP about it in theory today and she said that that one student should have pulled the lesson down to good.

Bear in mind that SLT are under pressure to make 'correct' judements in the face of ^^ sad . We are judged too.

Judy I would do that too- I think your HT has been kind.

Kayakinggirl86 Fri 20-Sep-13 21:35:36

During my last observation a child manages to throw up over the deputy head, white board and me before I got the bin to her.
I got requires improvement cause child x made no progress in the last 15min- she was holding the bin throwing up non stop in to it!

Of course SLT are judged too (am SLT myself) but there's a difference between trying hard to get the balance right between commonsense/kindness and OFSTED style judgements, and the sheer bonkers-ness of some of the below grin

Inclusionist Fri 20-Sep-13 21:38:18

Sorry Judy I thought you were being sarcastic and now I see not.

The difference between a duff lesson taught by a good teacher and a duff teacher are generally dead obvious. I would ignore the prior.

The difference between a duff lesson taught by a good teacher and a duff teacher are generally dead obvious. Yes indeed! Well said.

chosenone Fri 20-Sep-13 21:43:52

An ofsted inspector circa 2005 actually said ( to very gorgeous French teacher )....im struggling to make a judgement as I was totally distracted by youe accent and your divine perfume.....wtf ?? She made a complaint. Ive struggled to take them seriously ever since tbh.

mineofuselessinformation Fri 20-Sep-13 21:44:01

Suffolk, in my first school one of the teachers was tiny and the only way she could reach the board was to use the platform specially constructed for the purpose.... Who knows what would have happened had she been observed on the occasion that the kids stole it! grin

I teach a class of children with additional needs-a mix of a whole range of sen, ebd etc (fun but really hard!) in a mainstream school. My last obs was good with some outstanding features, my feedback was that what I was teaching was not 'age appropriate'- the fact that it was developmentally appropriate was beside the point. I felt like banging my head on the desk.

BrianButterfield Sat 21-Sep-13 08:59:48

A friend once got "if you taught in an inner-city school you wouldn't have got away with that" (starting a lesson telling kids off for being late). We teach in a fairly placid rural school...

LizzieVereker Sat 21-Sep-13 09:22:06

Lots of interesting comments, and some shock anecdotes. I'm in the position of both being observed, and observing lessons and it's horrifying how variable the quality of feedback can be. Our deputy head told me that he wants to make the process of observations more rigorous for the observer than for the observee, i.e. there should be more pressure to make a correct judgement and give meaningful feedback than there is on teacher being observed, and I agree.

Getstuffezd An SLT member at my old school once advised a colleague to have a variety of hats available, and to change hat to indicate a new activity, e.g. a "questioning" hat, and a "work independently " hat. The idea was that the teacher would not explain that the lesson was moving on, just change hat. In a Secondary school. grin

EvilTwins Sat 21-Sep-13 16:27:32

I was observed this week and got a good. When getting my feedback, I could see that practically everything was marked as outstanding but it was good overall because the 2 EAL students in the class had not made sufficient progress. This was a Yr11 GCSE Performing Arts class. The 2 EAL students in question only arrived in the country in April, and were put in my class because (in the words of SLT) they have to go somewhere and your class isn't full. There's no way they can achieve anything because all the assessment is based on practical work and they HAVE to perform in English, which they don't really speak.

ParkerTheThief Sat 21-Sep-13 20:03:03

I was once told during an observation by SMT that the sqeaking door to my classroom was a distraction to the students.

During an actual inspection the inspector went to the wrong room (only 6 classes in the school) and sat watching a music lesson for 20 minutes before realising he was in the wrong room - he then came and observed what was left of my science lesson - the main critisism was that he didn't see any evidence of an introduction to my lesson.
When I pointed out that if he had arrived on time he would have done he replied that as he hadnt seen it the comment would stand. So I was penalised for his ineptitude

weirdthing Sat 21-Sep-13 20:13:04

My favourites are:
1) My HOD, ''I haven't got time to give you feedback but I was just thinking how pretty you'd be if you lost weight.''
2) Ofsted inspector on day 3 of inspecting our all-boys' school, 'So is X the only girl in this class then?'

mizu Sat 21-Sep-13 20:28:14

Some of these are shocking.

Mine isn't quite as bad and I didn't get graded down because of it but the only criticism I had last year was that the classroom I was teaching in wasn't big enough for the amount of learners I had.

Please, I said, tell me something I don't know!!!!!

BeQuicksieorBeDead Sun 22-Sep-13 18:37:09

Shocking. If I was in doubt about going on strike, I am not now. If the unions only achieve their three observations a year point, that will be a victory.

ketchupontoast Tue 24-Sep-13 21:31:56

I was told to stand at the other side of my IWB to teach as there was no unit there with a computer on to get in my way (unit is there due to plug sockets). When I explained that I could not do this due to the hand I write with I was asked why I could not use my other hand to write with!

cricketballs Wed 25-Sep-13 23:57:47

I was observed last year during OFSTED by a subject specialist) rated as a 1.

When we had our department review I purposely engineered it so I could teach the exact same lesson (obviously changed to suit the learners, but the basis was the same) as I wanted to prove that the SLT did not know what they were doing - I was right! When I was getting my feedback of a lesson that needed improvement and I said that this was the lesson that OFSTED saw the look was one I wish I had taken a picture of!

happylass Sun 29-Sep-13 09:27:53

Only piece of negative feedback from one particular observation: "You said OK rather a lot". Ok.

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