What's the most useless piece of feedback you have received after a lesson observation?(94 Posts)
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 .
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?
"The buttons in your button tin are boring." Hmm, how to break it to my Granny who had provided the buttons?
Dear god, these are horrifying. Ive occasionally contemplated going back into the classroom. This is enough to put me off forever.
The piece of information that has of course improved my teaching BEYOND BELIEF is "... needs to tie her hair back!"
Same HT also commented on my use of ICT (something that I have been picked up on as being partic strong in EVERY obs ever bar this one) despite not even being able to switch on the projector with a remote when covering my class.
Not obs feedback but the bit that stuck in my throat (& still does) is being told that I'd raised my game/ was lucky with a grade 1 lesson in an obs despite me teaching a lesson that was the same style/ type as I have done a number of times in a number of schools. Same HT AGAIN!!!
Unsurprisingly I left above school as did most of the staff whilst HT maintains they are perfect!!!
'Your lesson was satisfactory. I think.'
'What could I have done to improve it?' (This was in my NQT year).
-'I don't know'.
'Well that was pitched all wrong, you clearly don't know the children and I can't think of many redeeming features, to be honest. I'll have to fail you.'
That was day 2 of my PGCE. First time I'd ever stood in front of a class. I wasn't even supposed to be teaching so early on, but my 'mentor' teacher at that school used to loudly crow about his ability to 'break down students and build them back up.'
I never got built back up - not by him
I usually get Outstandings these days. That school is in special measures. Such a shame.
I also had dire PGCE observations (since then -outstanding) at a school that was meant to be fantastic. But the Head of English didn't know the term sibilance and my mentor taught the wrong text of Dr Faustus to his sixth form class. They wanted to fail me!
Yeah - you're stuffed if the observer has a vested interest in looking better than you - for example if they're not very good at obs themselves and only scraped satisfactory during Ofsted (and that only because the inspector didn't have the balls to fail SLT)
Oh heck...I'm doing my PGCE and have my first placement starting in November.
I'll probably be able to keep my mouth shut, (grinding away my teeth in the process), but the eyebrow has a mind of it's own when confronted with stupidity.
HOW do you all manage to stay calm??
I had feedback on a lesson once where my mentor talked to me about the fact that I had used 'they' instead of 'he/she,' as in 'A pupil will stand at the front of the class. They will do x/y/z.' I was a bit miffed at that as it was put down in black and white as 'must improve written grammar'
Observation 1: great relationship with the kids, everyone focused and learning, differentiation outstanding etc etc. "Good" because I didn't have enough 'pizzazz'. This was from a teacher who had failed a lesson that Ofsted had graded as Good.
Sorry - there is no "Observation 2". Not sure what I did there.
I was told that the Good with elements of Outstanding lesson (when Good meant 'Good,' not 'Alright, I suppose') could only go down as Satisfactory because, although I'd been over several times what we would be learning about and what I was looking for, I hadn't actually uttered the words "success criteria." To eight year olds.
Friend's daughter was told as a student that she couldn't have Outstanding because the class teacher didn't believe in giving Outstandings to students, otherwise they wouldn't have anything to work towards. When she asked what, therefore, she should work towards, the teacher said "I don't really know."
We watched a video if a lesson. We had to judge. A me member of SMT gave it a 1. OFSTED a 3.
I was told by an Ofsted inspector (ex secondary school geography teacher, sorry to all those out there!), that on NO account should children ever be made to work in groups of 3. Still not entirely sure why, there were no issues at all!
A friend was also told that her class of Y1/2's should have written about their "special place" (RE lesson) as "children of this age simply can't draw!" This was the same inspector!
My favourite was the comment that one of the student's did not speak in the class discussion. Err, that would be the student with the severe speech impediment (as flagged up in the context sheet with the lesson plan) the one who contributed to the class discussion via the chat room projected onto the whiteboard. Did he not notice the other students responding to the projected typed comments? Especially as that particular student was the best in the class (and one of the best students I ever taught) who the other students treated with respect and a little bit of awe?
I really wondered if he was paying any attention to the class at all.
I moved the tables during an observation once to do some roleplay, revealing a crisp packet which I quietly put in the bin. Was told the presence of the crisp packet meant the lesson was only a 3. Well, that and the fact the observer could not judge how well I had set the lesson objectives - because he was 10 minutes late
I got a Requires Improvement last year because 'You obviously weren't at all well & the students picked up on it - two of them were definitely off task.'
I did indeed have the galloping lurgy, had already been told by dh that I was a loon for going in & had (very briefly) considered ringing in sick - because it was Random Observation Day, & I knew I'd get a crap rating if chosen.
Under normal circumstances, if too ill really to be at work but not actually completely incapacitated, I'd stagger in, & dig out the trusty 'do a worksheet for the first half of the lesson & you'll get a video to watch for the second half, I'll just sit here & go "uuuuurrrrgh" from behind my tissue occasionally' lessons - every Scheme of Learning has one. I really don't do time off ill! So it seemed dishonest not to drag myself in as I normally would just because of a possible observation.
Sure enough, I was picked, so I attempted the all-singing, all-dancing lesson I'd planned a week previously; only I shambled through it like something off Night of the Living Dead. Don't actually remember much about teaching it tbh.
Best of all, it took 6 months before I got my feedback. Luckily, I'd had an Outstanding since then, as the policy is that two RIs means that a 'support programme' of additional observations gets put in place, since you're obviously shite...
I did take this up with the DepH who observed me, who said quite reasonably 'Well, it's not like I could have given you constructive criticism. It was a very well planned lesson, it's just that you clearly needed to be tucked up in bed rather than delivering it. I'd just have had to tell you to FFS ring in sick next time. & we're certainly not going to be encouraging staff to do that - the whole place would fall apart!'
So that was helpful .
From an inspector
My HT said that the properly typed up report would have more detail. It said
"Pretty good. Well done"
'The children were really excited during the activity. They created their own learning as well as working towards the learning objectives.'
This was a negative ... and I teach NURSERY!
The head didn't like that afterwards the children 'went off on a tangent' and started experimenting with the resources and learning about distance as well as size. Instead of sticking rigidly to the LO as 3 year olds obviously should
oh yes Little Machine, I am in EYFS and I share your pain. Ofsted chap who came to us just didn't get child initiated at all. Ten minutes before obs HT tells me I have to do Maths, instead of phonics as timetabled, 'and he wants to see you teaching. Cue bewildered 4 year olds sitting in groups for a Y1 lesson. That part got a good
Crazy ninah! I got a 3 for my exciting activity with independent learning
I'm yet to receive any targets, 6 months later. Despite it apparently being so crap.
I'm doing teacher training at the minute and had my first observation last week. One of the criticisms was that the classroom displays (done by the teacher, not me I might add!) didn't match my lesson.....
I have had to wait two weeks for feedback from my last two obs. When I've finally managed to corner the HT, the feedback given was "yeah it was good" and "all fine, no worries".
This is after being put on capability last year for an 'unsatisfactory' obs . (which came about because of serious mental health problems). Really helpful!!
We've got obs across the school in the next few weeks. When I made my appt with the HTs secretary, I also made one for later that afternoon and asked her to label it 'feedback session' in the diary.
I mainly get 1s and 2s these days but got 3s at my previous school (read prison). Once I got a 3 because I walked around the room too slow. I also got a 3 from on ofsted inspector who thought the work was too easy for 15 year olds - he clearly hadn't read the bit that said it was an SEN class - the number of statements should have been a giveaway (he also played on his phone the entire time).
Today I got feedback for being too nice - thanking pupils for things I should take for granted as is 'my classroom' and apologising if I make a mistake. I need to work on being less nice. Never mind about the fact that the person observing me has appalling discipline problems, and that when I took on this class from her they were feral - they are now calm, working, learning and progressing and being courteous to me and each other... No perfect, but generally well-behaved teenagers. Oh and the class of 28 has 8 SEN (BESD/SLC/ASD), 4 EAL and 12 PP.
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