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Observation comments. Advice please.

(13 Posts)
123fushia Sat 09-Jun-18 08:58:07

We have a new head promoted from deputy. Good leader, personable and human! I job share in ks2. Job share partner has recently had an unexpected bereavement, is not in a good place and I am sorting her days too. Worked all half term and finished all of our reports. Class are very bubbly, talkative and need reminding about ‘effort’ a lot! To be fair we have ten children who have various emotional, communication and learning difficulties. Job share partner can’t wait for the year to finish so that they move on as she finds them irritating. I actually love them and have used many strategies and positive management ideas to ‘tame’ them. New head began lesson obs this week - door opens and I remembered! Feed back for mine was mostly positive. Calm, positive atmosphere, engaged children, good questioning etc.....but the comment that has stuck with me was ‘You are so calm and patient. I would like to see you again, maybe with a bit more umph’.
It hurt. I’ve got plenty of umph. This class have finally calmed down and are producing some good work. Really tired already and this led to a drop in confidence and a few tears last night. AIBU to feel deflated and crap? Been at this job a long time.......

noblegiraffe Sat 09-Jun-18 09:17:58

When you get observation comments that niggle you need to decide if
A) it’s true
B) it is something you do actually need to work on

If it’s not true, then just ignore it. If it’s something that you disagree is an issue, then ignore it.

If it’s true, (you did lack oomph that lesson because you were shattered) and it’s something you need to work on (you agree lessons need oomph) then you need to work on it.
If it was true but not representative of your normal practice then just keep trucking.
If you think oomph would e.g. get the kids overexcited and do less work then either ignore the observer or explain to them why you have chosen this particular approach with this class.

LadyPeacock Sat 09-Jun-18 09:28:30

Sometimes with a class like that if you teach like a Cbeebies presenter it can just hype them right up and make them silly.

If you know they need that really calm, deadpan approach to keep them steady I wouldn't hesitate to tell her that is why you are working that way with them and that she's welcome to come back but it will be the same. If she disagrees with you maybe aske her to come and model a really 'fun' lesson with them. grin

Stripybeachbag Sat 09-Jun-18 09:48:24

I feel for you. That is a very personal comment and maybe it is a testament to you that she didn't realise that the kids could be a handful. I remember when I was training our lecturer telling us that with an effective teacher it is hard to spot a class with behaviour problems. I would try to explain your strategy to her if she suggests seeing you again.

On a personal note I hate that sort of is more a reflection of how they subconsciously view their own teaching stŕenghts/preferences and not always relevant actual effective teaching. We are not f***ing entertainers. I used to worry that my lessons were boring in comparison to a fellow teacher who had an amazing science stories that he regled our shared a-level class with. I also received a similar comment from him (my hod) after an observation. But I heard from two students outright that they preferred my classes because they felt like they learnt stuff in my lessons.

Some teachers, as well as parents and kids, confuse enjoyment of learning with "fun. Dynamic teaching isn't always effective and more reserved delivery isn't always boring and/or ineffective.

Mrskeats Sat 09-Jun-18 09:52:20

I’m a teacher
It seems to me that there is always a comment in an observation that niggles-as though some fault has to be found.
To me, it sounds like you are doing an amazing job: especially covering another teacher as well. Don’t dwell on it. They only see a snapshot not the great work you are doing with what sounds like not an easy class.

user1483390742 Sat 09-Jun-18 14:48:10

Teacher 10+ years here.
I wouldn't let it bother me. They have to find something negative to put forward as Performance Mgmt targets. Her comment is pointless and doesn't mean a thing- she just has to be seen to be ticking certain boxes.
Sound like you are doing a great job. Don't sweat the small stuff!

DrMadelineMaxwell Sat 09-Jun-18 14:56:20

I've had this. I got the feedback by an external (county) advisor that my lesson was good, the behaviour management was good and they couldn't think of anything for me to improve, "But you didn't sparkle"

That was a few years ago now and it still rankles. I'm not paid to sparkle.

SayNoToCarrots Sat 09-Jun-18 15:01:25

Only in an observation would "calm and patient" be a bad thing.

user1483390742 Sat 09-Jun-18 21:05:06

If you weren't calm and patient, they would have said you should have been! See? That's how stupid the whole observation process is!

123fushia Sat 09-Jun-18 23:02:36

Thank you all for taking time to reply. Have taken all of your comments on board and reflected on them. Great to have a forum to receive objective responses to a problem - feeling better now. Umph....I’ll give her umph!

juliej00ls Sat 09-Jun-18 23:39:40

My stock answer for batty comments from an observation is “ what would you do” ... so in your case I would say “ I’ve tried hard to balance calm and patience with umph. It
would be helpful if you could give me a practical example of what you would do to prefect this balance” Nod a bit and say ok I will do it. Makes then bit more careful about giving advice 😉

HopeClearwater Wed 13-Jun-18 22:32:18

I’ve heard of that ‘sparkle’ comment being made SO often. It basically means the observer couldn’t find anything else to say.

And yes, we’re not paid to sparkle. This isn’t Saturday Night at the London Palladium. If a teacher was sparkling in the current classroom climate, I’d bet they’d had a line of coke beforehand.

BingTheButterflySlayer Thu 14-Jun-18 10:58:16

There used to be a great thread on TES about the most ridiculous observation comments people had received - put it into perspective a lot when you saw how stupidly pointless the feedback that was given sometimes was.

Sod "umph" I'd give them "harumph"

DD1's teacher is relentlessly calm and quite reserved in her manner but it's exactly what DD1 needs. If you went in all bouncy, sparkling and umphy she'd just be sent absolutely bouncing off the walls, get herself into no end of bother not knowing when to stop and learn absolutely nowt. DD2's teacher has enough umph for the entire school - while the rest of the staff are getting more and more knackered before Christmas she becomes like blooming Tigger!

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