How to cope with observation anxiety | Education Support Partnership

How to cope with observation anxiety

Standing up in front of class of thirty students is challenging enough. However when you add formal  observations by managers let alone Ofsted into the mix and anxiety levels can become unmanageable.

We asked teachers for their advice on coping with classroom observations and what their school does to make them a less stressful experience. Here is what they said:

“Just be yourself. If you are being your best self that is good enough, and if not learn from whatever is offered without taking it personally. That is how you get to be your best self.”
Vanessa

“If you have another class that are on the same topic try it on them first.”
Lucy

“At our school we can opt in to an open door policy where you can nominate a class for the half term where any member of staff can come and watch for a bit non judgementally. I like it as you get to go an see other people and you get used to people in your room a bit more.”
Lizzie

“Do what you do. If they decide it is not good enough ask them the demonstrate good practice to you, go and watch them teach!”
Carol

“My opinion is that.... they are only judging a small percentage of your teaching and it is not a true picture of how you usually perform so it's not valid... they don't see you teach every single day so how they can make a judgement on 20 mins I have no idea. Try not to worry.”
Jenny

“I personally feel that drop ins are so much better than obs, you not there waiting for them to arrive. Also i really feel that for an accurate picture obervers should join in, interact, not just sit there with a dead pan face.”
Martha

“Just do what you always do. You know you are good, keep that thought in your head. Don’t even pay attention to anyone who comes in because they aren’t have an impact on your lesson or your kids, it’s you and use it to show off how good you are!”
Jess

“Do what you normally do! That should be good enough, believe that what you do everyday is what needs to be done and hey presto, nothing to worry about.”
Kathy

“To be honest if you do badly (in their eyes), the management then have to make sure you have supported retraining. Request that someone in the SLT mentors you. Expect that you will be given adequate time to retrain in the manner they want. Insist they reduce your timetable by two lessons to enable you to do this.”
Melanie

“Plan well, but don't be afraid to not stick to it if it's not working. Some of my worst lessons have been due to being too rigid.”
Vicky

“To be honest a team worth their salt knows who can teach and who needs additional support. I know schools that have almost dumped observations. They are getting better results - because the staff are less stressed and happier and they trust them as professionals.”
John

What are your top tips to deal with observations?

Is your school changing the way they do them to make them less stress?

Join the debate on Twitter @edsupportuk

We’re here to help

We are always here to listen to any issues or problems you may have including how best to cope with any stress and anxiety you may feel about being observed.

So please don’t hesitate to call us. Our counsellors have a very great deal of experience in education and mental health issues. You can phone our confidential helpine 24/7 on 08000 562561.