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Watch and learn

Shoe Gal discovers the value of observing good practice in other schools.

Probationer Teacher

I have found as a probationer that you constantly ask yourself: 'Am I doing this right?' or: 'Is this how another teacher at the same stage would do things?'

I decided that the best way to answer these questions was to undertake peer observations within my school and beyond.

Observing . . .

Since August, I have undertaken three observations: one within my school observing my stage partner, and two out with my local authority. Those days working in other schools were invaluable.

The schools I contacted were happy for me to come in and observe good practice, and were also very generous in the resources that they allowed me access to.

. . . and learning

On both of my visits, I was exposed to a range of strategies and resources that I had never before used, and which I now incorporate in my classroom to great effect.

It's amazing how many strategies you can pick up and adapt for use in your own classroom by simply watching another more experienced teacher.

Reassurance

I also found good practice observations to be rather reassuring. A lot of things I saw were firmly in place in my classroom, which gave me that little confidence boost that I think us probationers need.

Research for your future

As we all know, the job situation is pretty bleak at the moment, which I feel is another good reason to do good practice observations. It allows you to gain some experience of how other local authorities operate, in terms of the schemes they follow and the systems they use.

This means that, if you go on to attend interviews for those local authorities, you will be able to talk knowledgeably about the various strategies they use, rather than just drawing on the experiences of your own authority.

CPD

Observations of good practice also help to enhance your personal CPD file. The more observations you do, the more it demonstrates that you are taking ownership of your own development, which in turn will help you to stand out from the crowd come interview time, or at least I hope it will!