I had my link tutor come and visit me in school this week, and he observed one of my lessons. The outcome left me feeling so surprised and incredibly happy!
A link tutor is someone who is employed by my university to visit and advise trainee teachers and their tutors in their school placements. They observe during the first visit, and the second visit can be another observation or a discussion about an educational topic that has interested me or I need more support in. It sounds scary to be observed, and I was so nervous in the morning, but after sitting down and chatting to him for a while before the lesson I felt a little calmer. If you’re ever in that situation, just remind yourself that you can only do your best!
My observation was the first lesson on Monday so I prepared for it on Friday so I didn’t fret so much over the weekend. There was an added challenge to my lesson with the fact that there was a fire engine in the playground for another year group, they had a long assembly to introduce the anti-bullying week we had, and then they had a later play time! I thought the children would have struggled to engage all the way through, so I was shocked when they did really well!
The lesson was about reading addition and subtraction word problems, thinking about the language that tells us to add or subtract and working out the problems with column method. The children had already done column method for the last few weeks in both addition and subtraction, so I quickly recapped on that whilst we worked out the first word problem as a class. We also put lots of words under “add” and “subtract” on the whiteboard for them to use throughout the lesson. It started really well, the children got on nicely, and I was feeling quietly confident.
The challenge came when I went around to see how they were doing independently and decided to pull some of them to the carpet for some extra support, with help from my school tutor to identify them. This was where the children who were being independent started to get chatty, so I kept giving them warnings and took time off break for them if they continued. They soon simmered down.
Throughout the lesson, I made some mistakes myself on the board, but luckily covered them up by telling the children I was “testing their knowledge”! It kind of helped the children to remember to read the problems carefully, which was a bonus. I also nearly ran out of time for the plenary of going through a challenge question, which some of the children had got onto, but I managed to squeeze it in really quickly at the end.
After the lesson, the children sat on the carpet and had their snacks. I was stood at the front quizzing a few of them on their 8 times table, thinking my tutors would want to chat together first before letting me know how the lesson went. I looked over to the classroom door and saw my school tutor waving me over, so quickly grabbed my planning and coffee (I was dying for a drink by then!), completely forgot a pen, and followed them to one of the meeting rooms.
I sat down thinking “Oh I hope it’s good news!”, and my link tutor started letting me know how it went. He talked through all the notes he’d made and all the pointers for my next lessons… then got to the grading for the lesson. I felt myself tense up because I really wanted to hear it was at least a pass! When he said he had graded it as “good”, I felt so relieved and couldn’t stop smiling! We chatted some more, then said goodbye to him. It was break time at this point, so I went upstairs to make coffees for our team. When I was in the staff room, I couldn’t help but bounce with pride! I think everyone I passed got told my grading and could see how much I was buzzing from it!
So that’s the big scary observation done! I can choose nearer the time what the next visit will be, possibly something to do with the next two assignments or the maths scheme the school has just introduced. For now, I can just work on my areas for improvement and enjoy the next few weeks!