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Come and be nice to me- slightly crap observation

(30 Posts)
Spottytin Tue 12-Mar-13 16:39:01

Yes, I've been in teaching long enough to know what's rubbish one year isn't the next, but actually it wasn't that great a lesson and the children found the task really hard.

So be it. But what gets my goat are the comments in the feedback... I've made huge progress with a very challenging class but no credit is given to the children for this, instead some 'low level disruption' was noted on one occasion. I have children in my class who do such things as pull knives on their family and threaten to kill them. I think the fact they spoke once to a friend is actually ok and no, it does not need to be challenged every time.

I shall drink some wine. But inside I am bloody seething.

partystress Tue 12-Mar-13 18:49:27

wine and [chocolate - why isn't there a chocolate doodad?]. I don't think any other job has to put up with such naked judgement and a system where those judging are judged on their ability to find something to criticise. After consistently good or outstanding obs, I have recently had a couple of borderline RIs and they really shook me. But you have to hang on to what you know about yourself and what you have achieved, and go easy on yourself because the fact is not every lesson can possibly be outstanding and (cliche alert), it is a marathon, not a sprint. Tomorrow is another day.... Hope it is a better one for you.

EvilTwins Tue 12-Mar-13 19:01:27

Oh god, don't worry about it. No one knows where they are with the new criteria anyway - I got an RI the other day (first time ever I've not been Good or Outstanding) Apparently there was too much reading hmm (Yr 7 Drama lesson - we were reading a play...

It would seem that unless every sodding activity is differentiated so that each child in each class has a separate activity they can do in groups without teacher intervention then it will never be outstanding. Grrrr.

Also, I was told that my data was "diligent, but confusing" - the inspector thought there was too much (a marksheet and a pivot table) - not my fault she's a numpty and can't read a pivot table.

Have wine wine and chill out. It's nearly Friday [blind optimism]

Spottytin Tue 12-Mar-13 20:00:05

Yes you're both right, honestly it's a bloody farce.

I shall chalk it up to experience, nearly the weekend, and nearly the Easter holidays! Actually thinking back, the inspector told me she didn't understand my planning for a while, apparently identifying three groups with activities was too much for her to follow!

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Tue 12-Mar-13 20:05:03


What's an RI?

ATruthUniversallyAcknowledged Tue 12-Mar-13 20:06:41

Sorry, not helpful. Here, have wine too.

I've just got in from parents' evening so will happily finish off the rest of the bottle grin

Sorry your obs didn't go well. It sucks when that happens, but I'm sure you know it really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

BackforGood Tue 12-Mar-13 20:13:13

It is a complete farce. Just try and remember - it's them, not you.
I wa marked down on my "use of IT" and "Management of staff" once, when I was teaching a small group (I was a SENCo) in the room that had been converted from some old toilets for me, that had no electric sockets - obv, forget whiteboards etc., and obviously I had no other staff to deploy. I was shock, then angry but eventually came round to grin, as it just seemed to highlight the complete lack of "looking at the whole picture", and some people's dogged 'sticking to the form' <Yes, I'm looking at you SMT of the time>

knitknack Tue 12-Mar-13 20:17:41

RI = requires improvement (ie the old satisfactory). There's nothing quite like teaching is there?!

Spottytin Tue 12-Mar-13 20:20:34

An RI is room for improvement...what used to be known as satisfactory, but now that exists no longer. Because you could improve....although one could improve with a Good judgement so no doubt that will be RI soon and RI will be...something else even more rubbish sounding.

I have stopped seething.

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Tue 12-Mar-13 20:20:57

Teaching must be the only profession in which 'Satisfactory' actually means 'Not good enough.' It's bonkers.

I once got marked down for the fact that a child had written their name on the wall in a classroom that wasn't even mine (I was teaching in 6 different rooms in a week at the time!).

Sod it - have chocolate and smile serenely. And next time, imagine that the inspector is naked. smile

wild Tue 12-Mar-13 21:21:54

RI is we're watching you, we know your car reg, your briefcase is bugged and if so much as your houseplants don't make progress you will be, er, watched even harder
Good is meh
Outstanding is, well you did OK this time, but keep it up or your briefcase is bugged...

BrigitBigKnickers Tue 12-Mar-13 21:23:45

My HT is training to be an Ofsted inspector. He has told me that he has observed lessons where the pupils are really motivated and they make progress but the teaching is very so so and lessons where the teaching is outstanding but the pupils (who for whatever reason do not make such good progress within a lesson.

He is trained to judge the lack lustre teacher as at least good whereas the outstanding teacher with the class who lack motivation could never be judged as anything more than good/ satisfactory ie requires improvement.

The system is so flawed it is just unbelievable.

BrianButterfield Tue 12-Mar-13 21:26:53

I got marked down once because one student wasn't paying much attention at points. I mean, I had called him on it - but it was a year 13 lesson and he was 18 years old! Old enough to get married or go to war, but I was supposed to keep him forcibly on task hmm

deleted203 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:33:54

Don't worry about it. They are crap, and many teachers I know, who I consider to be excellent, have received poor observations. I'm pretty sure if I'm Ofsteded this year (as is likely) that I won't receive great observation feedback due to the challenging nature of most of my classes. (Particularly now Brigit is saying that classes who 'lack motivation' will be generally judged as RI).

I could be as all singing, all fucking dancing as Keith Chegwin and most of my classes will still shrug, say, 'Yeah, whatever' and struggle to raise much motivation. This is partly down to their lack of ability, partly down to their apathy and partly down to their 'too cool for school' attitude. It worries me slightly that it is now all about 'independent learning' and not 'too much teacher input'. Without a shed load of teacher input my classes will learn bugger all independently, to be frank.

Like you, OP, I reckon I've made great progress with most classes - but I'll still get a sniffy observation about everything that's wrong.

Startail Tue 12-Mar-13 21:36:33

The new Ofsted framework stinks, it seems impossible to please them.

Wolfiefan Tue 12-Mar-13 21:39:37

Oh shit. Observation coming up! Anyone care to link to new OFSTED criteria so I can get better than "meh!"

deleted203 Tue 12-Mar-13 21:45:51

I can't do links (see...I shall fail on use of IT!) If you google it there's plenty of stuff on it though.

Wolfiefan Tue 12-Mar-13 21:48:53

I'm becoming resigned to the fact that whatever I do will NEVER be bloody good enough for SLT (even if they can't tell me what I could actually have done better!)
<bloody bonkers emoticon!>

BackforGood Tue 12-Mar-13 23:33:49

Wolfie - I've just remembered. I had been observed (taking a class I'd never taught before, for a subject that wasn't exactly at my fingertips - just set up so they could watch me) and found to be 'satisfactory' once, so, I thought I'd show keen and asked what I could have done better. The HT decided she would demonstrate what I could have done. She must have spent the whole weekend making all these resources (for the 1 lesson she was going to teach that term), then spent 3 hours on the Monday night rearranging this other poor teacher's classroom, and setting up the room as she wanted it, then the lesson was observed by 2 other members of the SMT, and myself. We were all told we must look exactly for the points on the OFSTED form of the time and only mark against them. It came out on all 3 observers' sheets, as UNSatisfactory. grin It was so hard to not crack my face when we gave the feedback. Even if it had been outstanding, it was, of course, completely flawed, as it would be physically impossible to put 10 hours preparation into every lesson, even if you wanted to! I don't think she ever offered to help anyone by modelling a lesson since then wink

Rowlers Tue 12-Mar-13 23:47:41

I have had similar experience, having never got any other feedback than good or outstanding in the past. I don't want to panic anyone but, my ht is making me go through a 'programe' where i am to be observed on numerous occasions by various people, be 'coached' etc etc to ensure i am doing a proper job. My whole department as well as myself, is seething with rage about it. I'm certainly not the best teacher in the world but i do have a reputation for being quite good. No matter. It's now all about schools being able to show what thay have done to ensure everyone is always
outstanding. Thinking of leaving it has upset and stressed me so much.

partystress Wed 13-Mar-13 19:43:01

Rowlers you are right - leaders feel they will be seen as failing to lead if they do not have an unsatisfactory teacher that they are working on. It is like the mad, brutal, target driven, hard sales firms who sack the bottom 10% salespeople every year....regardless of whether they are actually doing a great job: there has to be someone being sacked (or in the case of teaching, 'supported') to keep everyone else keen and hungry. It is awful and the stress and anger it causes must filter through to the children, not to mention the DCs and DPs of the teachers sad. Hope you are released from your 'programme' v soon.

BackforGood Wed 13-Mar-13 20:03:45

That's awful Rowlers sad.
I'm son glad to be out of it, and that's what's so sad - I don't know a teacher over 40 who wouldn't get out if they got the chance sad

BackforGood Wed 13-Mar-13 20:03:57


Rowlers Wed 13-Mar-13 21:43:48

It's a terrible state of affairs which I fear will be widespread before too long as HTs realise they will not get good / outstanding if they are not seen to be acting.
I am relatively lucky as I am, in fact, despite the loony HT's view, pretty good at what I do, and will bounce back. The kids in school tell me I'm good and ask if I'm teaching them next year etc. As I said, all my other observed lessons have always been good / outstanding. I clearly had an "off" day!
There are more in my school in this position, who perhaps aren't as strong in the classrooom. How is this supporting them? It's only causing huge amounts of stress.
Leadership teams are, in my view, badly out of touch with the reality of teaching even a full day let alone a full week.
And Ofsted? Well they clearly can have no clue! The criteria for lesson observations are impossible to keep up long term and we run the risk of learning becoming painfully homogonised.

wild Wed 13-Mar-13 22:30:37

rowlers my school is the same. I'm new in, so fairly impervious, but have colleagues, really experienced, good teachers, who are now nervous wrecks with no confidence, which is obviously fatal in the classroom.
I was observed today. Don't know the outcome but I teach R and observer has never taught lower than Y4. She did say that watching me confirmed she'd never want to come that far down the school!

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