Fake Headteacher: Secret Files No.1 – Praise

 

FHT: I noticed you only wrote praise for a lot of your pupils. Can you explain this?

Teacher: That’s right. I know my children really well and some children respond really well to praise.

FHT: But you don’t have time to praise. Just write out next steps and more targets.

Teacher: But I give so much feedback within the lesson. I also give feedback to groups and individuals in the lesson. By the time I mark the work, they have received verbal feedback about ten times.

FHT: But if someone looks at your books, it looks like you haven’t had any impact on that child?

Teacher: But it is clear I have because if you look back at their work several weeks ago, you can see a massive improvement. If the child has responded to my feedback and has put maximum effort into their work, I want to praise them. They have done everything I have asked of them. I am usually really proud of them.

FHT: I understand that but we need to prove our impact. If I do a book scrutiny, how am I supposed to know the impact you have had?

Teacher: To be honest, I don’t really care about the book scrutiny. Shouldn’t good progress be the only thing that matters in a book scrutiny?

FHT: I think I am going to have to put you on a coaching program?

Teacher: What? But my class are doing so well. That’s really unfair.

FHT: But if we say we are writing next steps, setting daily targets, pinking and greening and using two stars and a wish every day I need to see it in their books.

Teacher: I understand. I do those things when I can, if I think it’s appropriate, but my real skill as a professional teacher is knowing when and how to give feedback within lessons.

FHT: Mmmm.

Teacher: I’ll get my coat.

(Secret Files based on real conversations within staff meetings, SLT meetings, book scrutiny feedback and performance management meetings)

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