My HoD is observing me this week and it got me thinking about the extent to which I should put on a show. Why am I being observed? Is it to check how bells and whistles I can be for inspectors if they come to the school? Or is it to see if there are ways I can improve my actual teaching?
Option One: put on a show. This will include some props, like card-sorts and post-it notes; a combination of individual and pair/group work; some differentiation that has obviously taken some time (i.e., not just different learning objectives, but separate tasks planned); at least one mini-plenary (raise your hands to a certain height to indicate how confident you feel on [whatever]); some creative task like ‘make as many links as you can between Shakespeare and Batman’; a powerpoint that looks good and has a suitable picture on each slide. Advantages: more likely to get a decent grade from my HoD. Disadvantages: it’ll take ages to plan, so I probably won’t mark any of my other classes’ books that week.
Option two: teach the sort of lesson I normally teach. This will include: asking some questions at the start of the lesson on things we’ve done over the course of the year so far; a grammar worksheet (because all my students regularly change tense for no reason in their writing); reading something; doing some writing based on that reading. Advantages: it won’t take any extra time to produce; the feedback I get on the lesson may have a beneficial effect on how I teach on a daily basis. Disadvantages: my HoD will think I’m not very good at teaching.
The crux of the issue is the disconnect in some schools between what Ofsted want and what SLT think Ofsted want. I see some good stuff on Twitter with regard to Ofsted debunking Ofsted myths – students don’t have to respond to marking every time in different coloured pen, for example. However, I really don’t think that that information flows freely and easily into how schools operate on a day-to-day basis. I am planning to teach a normal lesson this week for my HoD, and I think my students will learn more from it and, perhaps more importantly, students in other classes won’t have to take a back seat for a couple of lessons. However, I will be interested to see what feedback I get from it; I suspect it will mainly be negative.