This is a Premium feature
Surprise Lesson Observations(4 Posts)
I'm looking for some advice to find out if this is normal practice in schools.
I am a primary NQT just starting the third term of my NQT year (doing a year's mat cover that started in January).
All has been going fine so far. I get on well with my mentor and have had fair feedback - no major issues although I have had some help with getting used to Singapore maths. She has also mentioned that she has probably not offered as much support as she could have done as she has been too busy.
My new class (Year 1) are a lovely mixed bunch of kids although I have been having difficulties with one boy who is currently being assessed for ADHD and ODD. He will constantly run out of the classroom, throw things around/at other children, shout at the top of his voice during inputs, hide under tables, refuse any requests from adults....etc. This was an issue in reception and SLT are fully aware of it.
Things came to a head one day last week and after a morning of having to chase him around the school/ deal with the constant disruption I broke and had a bit of a crying fit in front of my mentor and headteacher. Mainly out of frustration that I can't get anything done, I was also very tired and premenstrual . They were very supportive, said 'don't worry we've all been there' etc....I was out of class for 45 minutes. They said then that the child who causes the disruptions would be observed the next morning and then everyone who has contact with him would meet to set up a plan to best support him after school that day. The headteacher specifically said -'don't change any of your lessons or do anything different.' All good.
Now I'm fully aware that any other adult in the classroom (especially SLT) will be forming opinions about what they see regardless of the reason for them being there. Headteacher observed for first session and deputy the second so SLT were in my classroom all morning to observe the child.
Meeting went ahead as planned and a plan of action was put in place. As the meeting finished at about ten past five and other people walked the headteacher turned to me and said 'would you like your observation feedback now?' HT and deputy then produced full and detailed lesson observations on everything I had done that morning - not just behaviour management which may have been relevant to the issues with the child - but lesson structure, pace, use of TA etc etc.
All of it was fair and mainly positive. Any development points were reasonable and they did say the suggestions were more about polishing the lessons than making any drastic changes. I didn't say anything at the time apart from 'Oh I didn't realise I was having full lesson observations?' but after they left I started to feel a bit ambushed and that this was lesson observation by stealth. The HT was fully aware that I am probably not at my strongest at the moment (although I know I have a duty to teach well regardless of this). I just feel this was a very underhand way to go about things and am starting to get really paranoid about their motives for doing this. Learning walks were scheduled this week for behaviour management - nothing else. My mentor usually observes my lessons - she is not the deputy or HT.
Before I start to get upset about this I would just like to check if this is normal practice? I have looked on ATL website but can't really find anything that fits in with this. Sorry for massive post!
Although I'm secondary based so may be shot down for this comment, I feel that you've been a tad naive to think that they would watch your lesson for two hours and not made judgements on it.
As it is, they've been transparent enough to give you feedback on what they saw, rather than discussing your faults behind your back. I'd actually have welcomed the feedback and thanked them for providing it: I don't like the idea of someone watching my teaching and then not giving me feedback!
Julesbegone Yes I did say in my op that I'm aware people will form opinions about what I am doing if they are in my classroom regardless of the reason for them being there. And no I'm not disputing any of the feedback - it was helpful in the main.
I was just surprised it was so in depth and 'official' when they were ostensibly observing what the child was doing rather than me. Would have expected more of a discussion like 'I happened to notice you were struggling with x..have you thought about trying this?' etc.
No I don't think this is fair but I agree you have been a bit naive on this. Anytime SLT come into your classroom expect them to be making judgements about your lessons. This is obviously crap but is unfortunately to be expected. However. it was clear from your OP that you were expecting the observation to be on the child and how best to support the child. In the situation you describe, it would have been normal practice for the senco to have observed the child and given feedback on his needs and how they can be met. The head and deputy really should not have used the time as an opportunity to formally observe you and to make general comments on your teaching. I would possibly take this as a warning to be less open in your dealings with them. Does your head or deputy teach? If so maybe ask if you can observe them to help you improve whatever they have picked you up on??
Please login first.