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Hideous situation after observing my line-manager - should I complain to SLT?

(13 Posts)
lecce Fri 15-Mar-13 20:41:48

I am going through a nightmare with PM observations. I had a thread about part one of this saga on AIBU. I don't know how to link but, basically, I am 'third' in dept and had to observe the second in department last week. He was expecting outstanding, didn't get it and hasn't spoken to me since. The atmosphere has been appalling all week, we are a small dept and it is affecting us all. He speaks to everyone else but not me - before this we spoke a lot, in a jokey, bantery kind of way, and it is striking the way that has just stopped.

Now today, I have had to observe my HoD. In her last obs from the dh she was given a '3', so this was always going to be a tricky one. Same dh joined me today(though not for the whole lesson - was 30 mins late and left after 20 mins). The lesson was a pretty clear-cut '3', though it did have some good features. My heart was sinking throughout. The dh already knew about the situation with me and the second, and had been very supportive and sympathetc. He had said that he felt my Hod should have predidted it and not put me in the situation. So what did he do today? Put me in the same situation with her and left me to tell her she'd got another '3'.

I can't stop thinking about her face when I said it - it just fell, she clearly hadn't expected it sad. I feel shit. She is under such pressure, (English dept) and, though there clearly are issues with her teaching, our results are very good and she deserves not a little credit for that. She is not the perfect boss (is there one?) but she has been supportive of me in many ways and now I feel horribly guilty. On a selfish note, I am worried about her forthcoming observation of me and how awkward that will be. (I have always had outstanding before - though I certainly don't assume I'll get it every time.) She was also planning to confront the second about his behaviour, but now I feel I can't ask her to do anything like that and she may even side with him, though she did not act like a baby like he did - put him to shame, in fact.

Would I be out of line to go and see the dh involved and air my greivances? My hod has told me she is going to bring the class books in next week (they had homework) and show me the final outcomes - she hopes I will then raise the grade. I want to tell the dh about this and inform him that I wil raise it no matter what the books are like. I would also like him to do something about the behaviour of the second, though I don't know what!

Tbh, I am fuming and feel I've been placed in an impossible situation - twice. I have never dreaded going to work in this way before. It must look like I've gone out of my way to take down the two people who are superior to me in the department!

Sorry for the rant - any advice would be great.

I really don't understand why you are having to do this at all. It doesn't make any sense. Can't really advise without knowing why you've had to do it tbh.

fengirl1 Fri 15-Mar-13 20:48:09

I'm surprised you were put in this situation - in my school everyone is observed by their line manager or above, except SLT. Could you talk to your union rep about this?

letseatgrandma Fri 15-Mar-13 20:51:17

We only get observed for PM purposes by someone senior to us-eg deputy head, head, SENCo, phase leader. If we observe colleagues then it is purely a subject obs which aren't Ofsted graded. Why on earth are you observing and grading them?

lecce Fri 15-Mar-13 20:51:21

Heaven knows, Remus! I am a TLR holder (the tiniest one) and, in our school, that means I have a resposiblity to be an observer - I think this is part of a move away from SLT observations.

We are now doing PM observations and the HoD decided that I should observe her and the second. In fact, it woud have made more sense for them to observe each other (though the fact that her latest was a '3' means, imo, the dh should do all of hers) and me to observe our NQT and another teacher we have who is in her second year. I didn't complain when the plan was raised - wish I had now.

lecce Fri 15-Mar-13 20:53:23

Ha, ha - I am my union rep - though only covering someone on mat leave, so don't really now what I'm doing with that either! God, what a nightmare. Is it really so unusual for this to happen? Is it worth speaking to the dh before resorting to the union?

lecce Fri 15-Mar-13 20:54:03

Sorry, meant to bold am, not cross it out, not my day confused.

I'm pretty sure that PM review obs have to be done by the teacher's line manager - so the HoD should have been observed probably by an assistant head. Buddying observations (eg observing each other within a dept) should be different to the PM process and probably shouldn't be done according to OFSTED criteria but rather to look at an agreed focus. If you are seriously being asked to do 'proper' observations, then you are entitled to training - eg you doing a joint obs with HoD or a member of SLT. Otherwise, you are putting yourself in a very difficult position.

Oh and the dh should not have left you to do the dirty work. That is v v bad form.

lecce Fri 15-Mar-13 21:02:07

Yes, that makes sense. Tbf, I have had some training- we did an hour's training in September, and all TLR holders did a paired-obs with this dh in the first cycle during Autumn term. No matter how much training I had it would not take away the awfulness of having to tell my line-manager that she requires imporovement!

But the point is, you should never have been put in that position.

HedgeHogGroup Fri 15-Mar-13 21:45:24

If you're not their Performance Manager (and how can you be, being further down the 'chain of command' than them???) then you shouldn't be observing them for PM no matter what your TLR says.

LittleLark Sat 16-Mar-13 09:24:11

Woah - this is all wrong!
I am a HoD (eng) and v used to doing pm observations. This is a totally ridiculous situation!

The culture seems all wrong to me. I definitely think you need to speak to your SLT line manager about the productivity of this culture of observation. Ask them/yourself/the dept:

1. What is the desired outcome of the observation? Is it for SLT to have a snapshot of what OFSTED would grade a teacher? To identify areas of strength? To identify the CPD needs of the dept? To take a collaborative approach to feedback and target setting?
It sounds like neither you nor the teachers have a clear view or this, which is causing panic and fear.

2. How do you observe? And how is feedback given?
Do you discuss the lesson plan before hand and what the teacher hopes to achieve?
How feedback is given is very important. You should sit down with the teacher, thank them for letting you observe them, then ask them to go down the success criteria themselves and discuss what worked and what didn't. Then you do the same, using the criteria and saying WHY. This leaves less room for offence, etc. It is honest and it is useful.

3. How do you know your observation is correct? (I am sure it is, btw!) In tricky cases like this, you should have triangulation to ensure a moderation, if you like.

Go to your SLT line manager, but take EVERYTHING personal out of it. You are a professional who believes a system to be ineffective and actually damaging. Ask for a co-observer for every obs (yours and others), ask for triangulation (three people observe each other) and ask for some formalisation of the feedback policy.

Ooops! That was long!!! Hope it helps, though, I am angry that they are putting all three of you in this position. What dodgy management vision is this?!

Good luck!

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