- Teacher is told lesson observations are occurring in two weeks.
- Teacher spends the next two weeks feeling anxious.
- Teacher doesn’t sleep well thinking about how best to teach the lesson.
- Teacher spends hours preparing extra resources.
- Teacher starts telling the class someone is coming in to observe THEM so they need to be good!
- Teacher comes in very early to get lesson ready on the day.
- Teacher already feels exhausted.
- Teacher hands over the lesson plan to the TA and talks through expectations.
- TA is now anxious for teacher.
- Teacher puts books and resources neatly on the tables
- Slides on the screen are loaded and checked to see if they work.
- The seating plan is adjusted last minute to ensure certain pupils won’t disrupt class as easily.
- Children arrive and teacher works extra hard to settle the class.
- Teacher reminds the class THEY are being observed!
- TA is now feeling very anxious.
- Teacher spots SLT walking down corridor. They’ve got suits on and are holding clipboards. They’re off to another class first.
- Teacher doesn’t teach first lesson that well because the lesson observation is next.
- The lesson observation arrives. Teacher is feeling very nervous and over thinking things.
- SLT arrive ten minutes late and miss some great bits of the lesson.
- Teacher extends the first part of lesson so they can see it.
- Teacher continues with lesson but notices one observer making notes about the display boards. Teacher starts to wonder what they’re writing! Teacher starts to panic.
- Another observer starts interviewing children even though the children are supposed to be working and listening to teacher. Lots of notes are being made by SLT. The teacher’s voice starts to wobble.
- SLT start making notes after everything teacher says. Why? Teacher is trying hard to keep it together.
- SLT leave lesson early, missing the best part of the lesson.
- Immediately, the teacher and TA start to dissect how it went? TA has to reassure teacher it went well.
- TA apologises to teacher for a few things. Teacher reassures her it’s fine.
- Teacher now has no energy to teach the rest of the day so lets children finish off work and thinks about the observation.
- Teachers ask each other how their lessons went. Some seem annoyed. Some are frustrated. Some seem happy but being very cautious and open minded about what feedback they will receive.
- Teacher is told feedback will now happen tomorrow.
- Teacher feels anxious for the next 24 hours.
- Eventually feedback is given: ‘How do you think it went!?’
- Teacher knows SLT have already made up their mind so it makes no difference what teacher says. What a farce.
- Teacher reflects very articulately and knows which part of the lesson didn’t go go to plan and that should be ok. A teacher who can recognise this should be praised.
- Instead, a support plan is issued and a list of things to improve is handed out.
- Now the teacher is fed up and stops going above and beyond. What’s the point?
- Teacher wants to leave teaching. Probably will. Or, will hate every minute being at school.
- Sad. Very sad.
Almost word for word, this succinctly sums up my final term in primary education. Shortly after my ‘support plan’ was issued just before Christmas and then later added to (repeatedly), I ended up wishing I could have an accident or just die as I could initially see no other way out. Was signed off sick, put on anti-anxiety meds and beta blockers, served my notice in the summer term (hardest seven weeks of my life) and left with nothing to go to.
4 years training down the drain.
10 years of giving above and beyond down the drain.
14 years of putting other people’s children ahead of my own.
Having said all of that, I am grateful as it allowed me to see the toxicity in our schools and get out and reclaim my life. When will something be done?
Sad. Very sad.
Sueb, what do you do know if you don’t mind me asking?
That is exactly how it is. Spot on.
And so, so true.