Thursday, 17 January 2013


Today I got the email all teachers dread: 'You will be observed next week'. In fact, I got it three times, once from my head of school, once from another head of school I work for, and once for one of the other heads of schools I work for. As if it isn't bad enough to hear it once.

Observations are where someone comes to your class and watches you teach. They then judge the lesson, and in turn, you as a teacher as either being a grade 1-Outstanding, 2-Good, 3-Satisfactory or 4-Unsatisfactory. It used to be about getting a 2 or 1 for the sake of pride, but the college I work at has decided if you get a grade 3 you need to be re-observed two more times, without being told when, to ensure you're improving your teaching. Stress!! If you don't improve from satisfactory you face disciplinary action.

In terms of everyday teaching, no one is good all the time. Some people are satisfactory most of the time, and some I would consider to be unsatisfactory, but that's because they send their class to the library and go drink tea for most of the lesson (definitely a minority). The problem is, a lot of the time it's the students who decide what grade you get. If they want to play up and make you look bad, it's very very easy for them to do that. And if that's what they do, you can kiss a 2 or 1 goodbye. There's no recovering from a student saying "This lesson is shit" repeatedly during a lesson. 

So anyway, I'm on red alert trying to organise my paperwork (Group profiles, Lesson plans, Schemes of work) to account for every eventuality and to cover my back for any situation. It's ridiculous how much we have to prove that we are good teachers by writing down what we know, when a lot of the time we just know it. It's the worst thing about the profession.

Are there any other jobs where someone walks in and judges you on a snapshot of your job? It's incredibly stressful. What kind of stressful situations do you have to deal with?


Anonymous said...

You have a very good blog. And your prose? Perfect!

I found your blog because I saw piece of artwork on the Christian Developers Network ( with a character bearing a strong resemblance to the knife wielding character illustrated on the "A Clockwork Orange" cover. To verify the resemblance, I googled the same, and landed on an archive of your blog where you recommended the book.

I find it so interesting that I find your blog so interesting. I suppose our backgrounds couldn't be much more divergent. I am a happily married Evangelical Christian father of three lovely little girls, living in California. I mention it only because I find certain things fascinating.

In any event, keep up the writing. You do it well.

Lucinda Harrington said...

Thanks for the comment! It's nice to hear from others aroudn the world who stumble across my little insignificant musings!