And so we have, unfortunately, come to the time of year that all departments dread – the faculty review. It is a week of being scrutinised by superior members of the school, having all marking analysed, data assessed and lessons objectified.
I can safely say I am not looking forward to it much at all, especially with the primary focus being on marking and tracking, as opposed to the lesson content.
I have a general rule about working at the weekends, but even this has been sacrificed in order to complete a growing pile of marking.
I compromised by still making plans to visit my old friends, but sat on the train from London Euston to Liverpool Lime Street for three hours surrounded by excessive paperwork and coloured pens to mark with, much to the annoyance of the rather upper class citizen who made the error of sitting next to me.
I was working through countless booklets, all of which had been marked in a very detailed manner and in which the students had responded to said marking.
Now they were being marked yet again by me in order to follow the school’s extensive marking policy.
It is safe to say that as I looked back through my firmly colour-coded and much-improved booklets towards the end of my journey, I was aware that this may have been a little more than the usual requirement for marking – although I am starting to lose touch on what the usual even is any more.
When I got to school, to my horror, I was given the timetable of observations for faculty review only to discover that I will be observed by headteacher and deputy during a year 8 class – a class that I have recently adopted from another teacher.
Unfortunately, our teaching styles are exceptionally different, as is our approach to marking. I certainly was disappointed – the folders aren’t as strong as other classes, the marking is vague and I struggle to know what to do from here because of my limited timeframe.
Is it undermining to go through previously marked booklets and redo what has already been written? How will students respond this week to the marking that I have done for them? Will it set them behind on the work they have already begun this half term?
With such an emphasis on feedback and reviewing it’s safe to say I’m incredibly anxious, and I have not yet been able to think of options to rectify the situation.
It is at times like these when I wish I was an experienced teacher with a wealth of knowledge – new situations seem to scare me before I’ve really got my teeth into them, and this is certainly an example.
Even as I sit here typing, I can feel my anxiety. I feel as though I should not be typing this and should be spending more time scrutinising every inch of those booklets ready for observation.
I just hope that planning a strong practical lesson that demonstrates my ability as a teacher will rectify what is missing from said folders. As this is my first faculty review, I am most probably over-thinking and over-planning – exactly as my new year’s resolution from a couple of issues back said I shouldn’t!
Our NQT diarist this year is a teacher of drama and dance at a school in Essex.