It’s been another busy week at school with observations, learning walks, parents’ evenings and pupil progress meetings.
My newsletter this week will attempt to address your concerns regarding micro managing.
At the end of the day, the buck stops with me. If OFSTED puts us into requires improvement or special measures, it will ruin my reputation as I have now been at the school for over a year. I will no longer be able to blame my predecessor. In order to prevent this I will micro manage you as best I can by removing any professional freedom you may wish to exercise.
First, I will use my 25-point book scrutiny checklist to ensure you are using the correct pens and learning slips etc. In the past, I used to look at progress in your books regardless what colour pens you used or how well you ‘deep marked’. Progress is something I care less about now. I am now looking for consistency. I need to see pink and green highlighting, purple pen evidence, long learning slips, children responding to you, short or long dates etc. I appreciate this puts extra pressure on you but it means consistency is adhered to.
I expect learning objectives to be shared at the beginning of your lesson, tool kits created and success criteria shared. If this doesn’t occur, it means your lessons are boring and learning does not take place. I also expect you to refer to your learning objective throughout your lesson in mini plenaries. Children must be able to regurgitate their learning objective word for word otherwise they will not have a clue what they are learning about.
You must give children opportunities to work in random pairs, mixed ability pairs and ability groups in the same lesson. You must use talk partners or learning buddies. You mustn’t allow children to put their hands up. Use random lolly sticks to choose children to answer questions even though you want to direct questions at particular children. If you don’t apply one of these strategies because it’s not appropriate for the lesson, I will suggest it is something you do next time.
More able children must never be allowed to consolidate their learning. You must show me how you push their learning forward at all times. Your pupil premium children must be mentioned on your planning and you or your TA must support them in the lesson even though there are other children who need your support more. Your TA must not support your SEN children. I will accuse you of not allowing them to work independently. Sometimes, I will criticise you for butterfly teaching (moving from table to table – looking for opportunities to extend or support children within the lesson). Then, on another day, I will criticise you for only working with one focus group and not being aware of what the rest of the class are doing.
Children must provide peer support in your lessons. Please ask them to criticise their partner’s work and write next steps in their friend’s book despite the fact some children are not comfortable having another child read through and write on their work. I am sure you would be very comfortable asking a random member of staff to read your class reports and comment on how well you have written them.
In addition, I will expect children to always use mini whiteboards in lessons. I like whiteboards. Children must be able to explain their thinking. If they can’t, I doubt they have learned anything. Children who shout out “yes, I get it now” will always verify that child has made good progress. Quiet children, who are not as vocal, probably haven’t made progress.
Your lesson must be pacey, full of humour and all children must make accelerated progress. You must use the new resources I have just bought for the school even if you don’t like them or feel other resources would work better. Your lesson feedback will suffer if you don’t use my expensive new resources.
You must take plenty of photos during your lessons that you will spend lunchtime downloading, printing and sticking in their books – just to show me and prove some of the activities they have engaged in. I appreciate this is time consuming but it provides good evidence. For example, when children make pizza, take a photo to prove it. But remember please don’t use the colour photocopy to provide exciting learning resources. We can’t afford it.
You must never teach content from the year above. For example, if a pupil can count in 2s, 5s and 10s, never teach them how to count in 3s, 4s or 8s. You must discourage children to write in paragraphs if the curriculum doesn’t require it for your year group. I was very surprised to see one pupil being shown how use adverbs in their writing but they weren’t required to learn it yet. Don’t do it. Hold your children back. This will ensure everything in Year 6 will be completely new and they will have to work hard to cram it all in before SATS. I suppose it would make more sense for some of our Year 5s to already know some of the Year 6 curriculum before they get there? Perhaps it will be less stressful for the children? I get mastery. I really do. But hold them back at all costs.
Your displays must be working walls with very few static displays. Working walls must be updated regularly and look similar from class to class.
So you see, I have to micro manage everyone. I need all my staff to be clones. My philosophy is the only way. If you choose not to follow my philosophy, your data and appraisals will suffer. Your teaching will suffer. Of course, if your data is still poor even though you have strictly followed my policies, I will blame you anyway.
You may at times feel suffocated with so many hoops to jump through. You may not enjoy your job anymore because you don’t have the freedom to teach and mark in a manner you see fit. You may feel that no one trusts you and a ‘we must improve’ culture is wearing you down. You are correct.