Thank God it's Friday

16th February 2001 at 00:00
Monday It's an Inset day to discuss performance management. We watch a video of three teachers, discuss planning, subject knowledge and pupil behaviour, then think about how we would assess or be assessed.

Tuesday Pupil A, who has a statement and has recently transferred from a special school, comes for his one-to-one lesson. It is carefully planned, with objectives and activities related to his needs, as specified in his statement and individual education plan.

But some boys have taken his pencil case and his head of year asks him to list the contents and their value. This is not a task he can manage, so I abandon the planned lesson to help him.

As I have ignored my planning and achieved none of my stated outcomes, would an assessor automatically give me a thumbs down and a grade 7?

Wednesday A group of Year 11 pupils tell me they are worried about a pupil who has difficulty fitting in. They say they have tried to be friendly, but he is often hostile. I explainthat B is hurting inside and finds it difficult to respond in the way they hope. I tell them to keep up the good work.

I have no plans for this talk - no aims, objectives or expected outcomes. There is no one to assess pupil responses, no way of measuring their care and concern or the extent of their involvement in the discussion.

Thursday I forget to go on bus duty. The deputy head would have been there. That was definitely observable behaviour.

Friday An excluded pupil comes on site and threatens another boy. Our special needs co-ordinator keeps the two apart until the head removes the intruder. Her performance is terrific, but does not fall into any category of teaching, learning, attainment or attitudes and behaviour. Yet another situation goes unnoticed, unjudged and unrecorded.

I head home, knowing tonight's meal will be informally assessed and feedback will be a quick, "Great, Mum. Thanks".

Sally Smith is a special needs teacher in Surrey


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