Lessons Learned #1: It’s not kind to be kind

It’s been 8 months since my school’s not-so-brilliant Ofsted Inspection. I’ve been wanting to write about how it all went wrong, but it’s still too soon and it involves more people than just me. In addition, that sort of writing – focusing on failure – can get a bit grim and bleak, although I do recognise that many people these days call that ‘authentic’. So this week, I’m going to focus on what I’ve learned from since last June form the whole Ofsted process.

Lesson #1: It’s not kind to be kind.

I’m reminded of that Nicky Wire lyric (Manic Street Preachers): if you tolerate this, then your children will be next.

A few years ago I observed a lesson that I thought required improvement. However the person I jointly observed the lesson with didn’t agree. Well. They kind of did. What they said was that if we gave that grade to that teacher it would ‘break them’. So I made a mistake. I didn’t stick to my guns and fight my corner. I agreed with the decision because it felt the kind thing to do for the teacher in question.

I can’t remember all the factors for my ‘R.I.’ judgement. It had been a very busy lesson with high expectations, but I felt that many of the less able children had not really made any progress. In fact one child with SEN spent ten minutes crying in the corner during the lesson. Apparently this child did that a lot.

A little voice should have been screaming warnings in my head. But instead I chose to be kind to the teacher. I didn’t even go back to see if the same child was crying the next day.

This year, I am teaching the child who cried. They are doing great, in my opinion. But I often wonder how much better they might be doing if I’d chosen not be kind a few years ago.



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