the surprise visit

silver colored m lapel pin
Photo by William Woods on

The man at the back of the room

With the briefcase and the suit

Looking important and taking notes

Totally unexpected, like an unwanted gift

Sent to judge and assess,

And no one quite knows the result,

Hoping for answers to come in the morning

For the scary inspection that came with no warning.

I am not very good at being watched when I work, because I always feel as though I am being judged so that the company can use their findings to get me fired. So, when I have an unplanned observation, I go into panic mode.

When I got to my room this afternoon there was a man in a dark suit with a briefcase and a notebook waiting for me. He was one of the school governors and he assured me that he just wanted to see the school’s new behaviour policy in action, but that wasn’t enough to push down my irrational fears.

To make matters worse, the headteacher then walked in as I think she was concerned about what the governor was seeing in a new teacher’s classroom – after all, I guess her job depends on him being happy.

I think it all went fine, given that I was teaching a class of low ability boys whose behaviour is never normally all that great.

Now I just need to wait until the morning to see if I have a note from the headteacher on my desk, asking me to come up and see her for a serious chat. Keep your fingers crossed for me guys!

Much Love

Rachel xx

12 thoughts on “the surprise visit

  1. Margot Kinberg

    I’ve never been fond of surprise visits, either, Rachel. Still, they’ve got to know that you’re bound to be anxious, and that you and your students are people, not plastic models of the ideal class. I’m sure that it all went just fine; no-one expected you to be perfect.

  2. clcouch123

    Keeping fingers crossed. Gee, did he have to wear a dark suit? I try to think of observers as guests to welcome, which doesn’t necessarily help all that much. I’m still striving for the medium between being too formal and too loose. I don’t know if observers think they’re only observing because, agendas aside, we know from science that observation affects what (or whom) is being observed. Sigh. A necessary chore all around, I guess.

  3. Dawn Lora

    Is that what they call them at the school? “Low ability boys???” Are you not required to do more not less for the lesser abled? Or what am I missing? Good luck tho!

      1. Dawn Lora

        I worked with kids that got mis-labeled retarded when actually they were suffering from post traumatic stress, for example. I worked with poor kids that were neglected and teachers had all but given up on them, but I didn’t. I found out they were brilliant and that it was the adults around them that were of “low ability” by sheer attitude. So be careful with those boys. Whatever their problems. Your words suck.

      2. patientandkindlove

        I can’t sing or play an instrument so I would be extremely low ability in Music – and I would agree with that wording. Needing extra help in one subject doesn’t mean you can’t excel in another. Those boys are probably going to become plumbers or brickies and earn about three times what I do and I will be cheering them on all the way!

      3. Dawn Lora

        Have you tried to learn an instrument? What do you mean you “can’t” how are you gauging this? A person can learn anything if they give themselves the time. All they have to be is interested. It simply takes practice. Which might not be easy to do, but it’s nothing to do with ability. I was told by my college biology professor I could indeed go into medical practice if I applied myself. All it would take is practice. Whereas my high school chemistry teacher told me I should quit and just be a hand model for science text books. Guess which one was a man?
        So, anyhow… If I was inspecting you in a surprise visit, I’d note your “words” very closely. Just sayin’ I was an excellent teacher… it’s hard work. I didn’t want to do it after a while. It’s a true calling. Not my calling… but I care about kids being limited by teachers who can’t think outside of the box. And that’s cool if kids learn trades and earn big money… but some of them are probably also poets. Some can design things… if they can lay bricks. Etc.
        I do get why trade schools are good. But the kids do deserve more “vision” from a teacher and shouldn’t be labeled low abled. It’s not up to you to limit them.
        I’m glad I took some music lessons even if I didn’t become a musician.
        Thanks for allowing my comments. I’ll stop judging you now. I apologize for going off. I guess it’s really up to you and their folks…

      4. patientandkindlove

        I enjoy hearing other people’s points of view. And I think that you’re right in so many ways. It’s language that my school use and perhaps we do need to think about changing our words. I don’t ever tell a child to his or her face that they are low ability but we definitely refer to them as low ability classes when we speak in meetings etc. Maybe that does need to change!

      5. Dawn Lora

        Maybe have your fellowship of teachers revisit the Hellen Keller story and how her teacher prevailed?
        Thank you so much for listening to me and considering my thoughts on the matter. I appreciate your sensitivity.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.