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AJuff

Demoralised teacher

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I am gutted and very upset. School improvement partner and colleague observed my lesson on Wednesday and graded me requiring improvement. I have consistently been good to outstanding so this came as a shock. My lesson wasn't pacy enough, too much teacher talk and a few issues around child initiated children who were deemed not to be making rapid and sustained progess. I cannot tell you how I felt at the debrief. On top of this I had a further 20 min observation the following day. Ifell to pieces, not good and so was also deemed needing improvement.

 

I feel I have let my team down, embarrassed as I work with my colleague, questioning why I am currently on a middle leadership course. At a stressful time in the year with assessments, report writing and end of year shows I don't need this. My children have made excellent progress. I am thoroughly demoralised. It has knocked my confidence completely.

 

I am usually a resilient kind of person but this has unsettled me to the core. My confidence has gone in two 20 min observation. I haven't slept for three nights, can't shake the awful feeling. I don't want to do anything when I get home. Feel very low:(

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I'm not a teacher so can't imagine what this must feel like but I'm so sorry it's knocked you for six like this :( . It sounds like she's been very hard on you :? . As you've been graded much better in the past, you need to try to remember that and not take this latest grading too personally. Can you speak to someone in school to let them know how it's affected you?

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You have my every sympathy! Thankfully my school has stopped grading, although they give rather large hints about what ofsted would grade it as :roll:

 

I had similar about this time last year when they said my class (who are notoriously placid) weren't engaged as they could have been :wall: The fact they were playing a game, used connectives expected of a much higher level and begged to play the game the next day (and did extra homework so they could) apparently meant nothing! I was devastated as I knew how hard I had worked and also how hard the children had worked and how far they had come. I think exhaustion played a part in seeing the bigger picture but I was shocked that they could say that my children weren't motivated and engaged when they clearly were. I decided not to say anything (I didn't want to look bitter) but in hindsight wished I had so that SMT could see how deeply their words can scar and affect you as a teacher.

 

Thankfully this year's observations have been much more positive although I have been much more anxious about them. I've also been 'volunteered' to be one of the teachers observed by our prospective heads during their interview, since we will not being given feedback, it's extra work and stress I didn't really need this weekend!

 

I hope you can manage to get over it and in time, it will lose some significance and you have had some great feedback in the past. I now try and forget the school/government "Ooops, word censored!" and think that if my children are happy to come to school, learn something and are nice to one another then I've achieved something!

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Quite frankly it amazes me that anyone teaches at all!

 

MY DD is currently undertaking her PGCE...I'm learning fast what it means to be a teacher alongside her...

 

It seems to mean having someone constantly looking over your shoulder and judging you even when you have little practical experience of a classroom situation ....

 

It seems to mean having to conform to some unrealistic ideal set by someone who has never set foot in a classroom because if you fail it is entirely down to you the teacher and not due at all to the child/parents/society /the curriculum you are forced to follow etc

 

It seems to mean that it is not enough to engage those children who relate to the subject and want to learn (she is doing MFL which is never going to float everyone's boat but no allowance made for that!) but you also have to turn those children who have only a fleeting grasp of literacy into fluent linguists too....

 

It means spending hours and hours lesson planning every evening....

 

ON the plus side..no one tells me in my job that they love me and that they can really understand it now and ask if I'll still be there next year and express disappointment if I'm not.....

 

She has a job for next year...I'm hoping that she'll get through...whether she'll still be teaching in state schools once fully qualified I don't know...

 

Why don't they monitor Doctors and Nurses so closely...after all they can kill people...all teachers are trying to do is share knowledge and inspire...heinous crimes indeed!

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Teacher here, so I know exactly how stressful observations are, and how demoralising unfair criticism can be. Please remember it's all about the children! You say the children have made excellent progress - therefore you are a good teacher!!! Our current system is crazy. Big hugs - please don't let it get you down. As teachers I think we all know when a lesson has gone well and when it hasn't, so trust your own judgement and ability. This is the most difficult time of year when we have just about run out of steam, you really don't need this extra pressure. Act on any constructive criticism (if it's not constructive, it's not worth taking any notice of!) but most of all take notice of all the positive's from the children to boost your confidence again.

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I'm only speaking as a student here, so I don't 100% know what you're going through. I just wanted to let you know that my best teacher had to put on a show to meet a certain criteria during her observations (and told us as much). She was the best teacher I had in sixth form as she didn't strive to meet certain targets (reading directly from powerpoint slides; making us teach each other for a lesson etc) and instead taught us how she knew we learnt best!

 

What I am trying to say is that if you know your students and they appreciate you as a teacher and do well at the end of the day then you are doing a brilliant job! Try not to let this get you down :) Trust your instincts and work with what works best for the students instead of what the school/government suggests. Those are the teachers I appreciated the most.

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I feel for you.

 

There is a science and maths teacher at my daughters' school, who gets constant criticism from management, but he has inspired both of my girls who have gained much better grades than they were predicted to in subjects that they previously didn't engage with. He is a zany guy who makes the lessons interesting.

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A lesson doesn't develop fully in 20 mins, so to state that children haven't made progress, never mind rapid and sustained progress is simply wrong and ungrounded. If that judgement had been made after a full lesson then that would have been more plausible. It sounds to me as if you colleague maybe judging the lesson in terms of how they would have taught it, not on what was observed and how the lesson would develop. I would question if they have been suitably trained to pass judgement, they certainly have not given productive or constructive feedback, not if it leaves you feeling like you do.

 

In my role (a teacher too), I have to observe and comment on lessons, I have been trained to focus on what the children learn/experience, not how I would have done it - it isn't about me, if your learning objective were met, then the lesson was a success. Reflect on whether your children achieved what you wanted them to do, if so, go back and explain this. I also provide positive points and give suggestion/constructive criticism on how the lesson could be developed. I personally would rather be observed than have to observe, it is a hard task, but needs to be handled properly.

 

I don't know the age of your children, but generally children can sustain their age in years plus a few more minutes concentrating on teacher's talk, so a five year old will be able to focus for 5 - 8 mins approx and so on.

 

Chin up, its your kids that matter, if your doing your best and they are progressing well, you have nothing to reproach yourself about.

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You have my sympathies

 

Lack of formal appraisals is one of the things I've realised is great about contracting. Everyone hated performance appraisals, those being appraised and those doing the appraisals. Especially when so many HR depts in business have the view that they should make the bottom 5% redundant each year even if they are all still fully capable of doing their job :twisted:

 

I had one appraisal years ago that still rankles, I got great write ups from all my colleagues. Everyone doing your writeup also had to put a mark in a grid to indicate if you were performing 'as expected', 'better' or 'lower' than expected. Now as soon as I'd joined this company they had partnered with my old company and old group on a bid worth millions and the partnership was key so I spent a year working with my old colleagues. My old boss in the company that was now our partner gave me a great write up but ticked the 'performing as expected' box. I got marked down in my appraisal for that :twisted: I tried in vain to point out the words he'd written and that he knew exactly what I was capable of so it would be surprising if he'd ticked either of the other two boxes :roll: bitter moi :lol:

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Im not a teacher, nursing is bad enough but I have a very close friend who is a teacher. I cannot believe how stressed she gets. One way or another all the professions are being put under pressure by regulation and scrutiny, its getting to the point that the love we all have for our vocations is being stretched to the limit. You know you are a good teacher, otherwise you would not care so much, ((HUGS))

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