Sunday, 23 February 2014

Removing the 'O' Badge

When OFSTED arrived last November, the questions amoung staff went like this:
"Have you been seen?"
"What did you get?"

I was fortunate (?) to get seen twice, so my answers were "Yes, Outstanding" and "Yes, only Good this time." It was a badge to wear, I even wondered if I could send off for the free tshirt? 

The labelling process became all consuming for everyone, we all lined up at either lunchtime or after school... "That was a 2", "It was a 1". This became a definition. I AM A ONE, I AM A TWO. Thankfully not one member of staff was given a RI, that would have been awkward for the rosette.

In many ways we became like the students we teach, despite our best efforts, defined by grades.

There has already been much written about OFSTED's latest announcement, but I wonder what it will take for teachers to not expect a label? I wonder what it will take in schools for Headteachers and Senior Leaders to stop doing observations and attaching a grade? Will teachers be happy with a list of strengths and things to improve?

Why do we want a grade? For me, the two Michael's have done so much to dent the self belief of good teachers that they crave this small affirmation; "If I get good, I won't be in line for capability, I may even get a pay rise...".

We are at a moment in time where schools can take a little responsibility in breaking this down, OFSTED say so! 

I'm just a teacher, I hope Headteachers and Senior Leaders stop grading me. It felt great to be labelled as Outstanding, but I know it was a farce as it was my first Citizenship/PHSE of the year and I knew my Y13 form would play the game... I gave a great little show and got the 1. So what? Absolutely meaningless. 

We are more and better than a system that labels a teacher as a 1, a 2 or even a 4 on 20mins. OFSTED seem to agree and now schools must take on the task of ensuring this.

My school starts Perfromance Management observations after half term, let's see what happens... 

(Written on my ipad, will tidy later...)