There’s no denying school inspections can be a stressful experience for teachers. When an inspector arrives in your classroom it’s easy to doubt the well-planned learning experiences you’ve shaped, or worry about your students’ reaction to the visitor. Maybe you think the inspector has a different agenda to your own or intends to only find fault?
Inspectors, though, see learning as key and are looking for the causes of its success. They consider it a privilege to see first-hand the thrill when a student finally gets it, the unscripted relationships in group work, the moment a child’s natural curiosity leads to a new discovery, the noise and bustle - all founded on the complex dynamics of unpredictable human emotions. Real, live learning as it happens, with a teacher responsible for it all.
As an inspector, here are my top tips for teachers to keep in mind the next time they are up for inspection.
1. Remember, the classroom is the most important place in the school and your interactions with students matter more than anything else. You are the one in control.
2. Be yourself. Be confident in your professionalism. Remind yourself that you do the best for your students every day. No need to change.
3. Show your visitor just how well your students are learning and progressing, how well they understand their own learning and use learning skills, and how well disposed they are to learning.
4. Stick to your normal routines. Your students know these and are more likely to show their best when things run normally.
5. ‘Open up’ the multi-dimensional complexities and dynamics of your classroom by explaining what is going on. Like you, the inspector wants to be confident that student outcomes are improving.
6. Be well organised. Have students’ coursework readily available with examples on display, and do not forget the homework.
7. Make sure your plans and assessment records are up to date. The inspector may well need to see these to learn how your students are progressing.
8. Be proactive to ensure that the inspector understands the full range of attainment and support needs in your class and learns just how well they are addressed.
9. Make the inspector feel welcome and, when feasible, encourage interactions with your students. Don’t allow the inspector to feel isolated in the corner of the room just watching. Remember that your students are confident in explaining their learning.
10. Ask the inspector how it went and offer to provide any additional information later.
Tribal provide training in preparation for inspections. If you or your school would like help in preparing for a school inspection please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
These top tips were originally published in Teach Middle East magazine.