I hope you have had a great week. Thank you for completing the pupil progress sheets I asked for. I appreciate that you know your class very well and you understand how to move learning forward. However, I need to prove it by asking you to fill in more sheets and spend time in long meetings where you tell me how you will provide provision for the learning of your class. I appreciate you trained hard at university to become a teacher and as a professional you are more than capable of recognising which children need support, but it is very good practice to have pupil progress meetings several times a year just in case. I can use the sheets to prove to Ofsted that teachers at my school are capable of identifying the needs of their class.
I am very pleased that we now have a detailed scheme of work for maths and literacy. We now have consistency across the school and colleagues within each year group are teaching identical lessons. I realise that you probably came into teaching with the idea that you would be able to create and make lessons fun, original and teach in manner that you saw fit. You would bring your own personality to lessons. However, we all need to deliver the same lessons now, at the same time and in the same manner.
In addition, there may be times when you feel like a robot – simply delivering lessons that the school has told you to deliver. You are correct. Please do not deviate from the school schemes of work. Do not teach lessons that you think will work better for your class or year group – especially if it doesn’t fit your current learning journey. Remember your books need to show a golden learning journey and I don’t expect to see two days of other work that disrupts that journey. I realise that a mini tornado ripped through part of our village this week, and many of you wanted to write about it in your literacy books but I hope you understand why you weren’t allowed (see notes).
It wasn’t on your topic overview for parents this week and they might complain (although in truth, they probably haven’t even read it in great detail and won’t care if you do different things).
It would disrupt the current learning journey in their books – what would Ofsted say about that?
What if your colleague doesn’t want to write about the tornado? It would mean that classes within a year group might have different work in their books. So please – just teach what we tell you.
This applies to other areas of the curriculum too. For example, please follow the school policy for teaching spelling, reading, mental maths and phonics. There may be times where you might like to use different strategies that you have seen at other schools. Even though these may have helped those schools achieve accelerated progress – please don’t use them here. At the end of the day, we have decided on how you should be delivering lessons and you must adhere to them.
Following recent lesson observations, I have decided I want to see even more consistency across the school. So please make sure you have read my guidance notes below in order to accomplish this.
Teachers have to use lolly sticks in your classrooms at all times to ask children questions regardless of your professional judgement when to use them. If you don’t use lolly sticks the children’s learning will suffer.
Introductions and plenaries need to look the same across the school, I appreciate you may want to do these in your own way but I would like everyone to do these in the same manner specified in the guidance pack.
Please could everyone mark in an identical manner – as set out in the marking policy, even if you think you are writing comments that you feel have to be seen in book scrutinies – and not what you actually want to write.
Your displays have to look the same across the school, even though you thought you would be able to be creative with your classroom displays when you started teaching. Our display policy will ensure children will learn well. If you disagree with our display policy because you feel we are restricting your own professional ideas, then this is unfortunate. Just stick to the policy.
With all this in mind, I have to reiterate – YOU are accountable for the progress of your class. I appreciate we have stripped away any individuality and professional creativity you have to enhance the learning of your class. You may feel suffocated with so many policies to follow and to teach lesson content you have little control over. But your data each term must look good. If it doesn’t, you are fully responsible. Of course, if you data looks good, I will take the credit and I may be snapped up by an academy where I can be the head of several schools – turning hundreds of teachers into robots.
I hasten to add, if your data is poor, you will not get a pay rise and you will be put onto a coaching programme that will destroy your confidence and self-esteem. You will probably want to leave teaching even though you are an amazing and dedicated teacher. Maybe in the future, you will be trusted to teach how you like and a high stakes curriculum will be eradicated. In the meantime, teach how we say and you will be fine. Maybe.