Friday, 24 September 2010


It's never ideal when your Wednesday feels like a Friday and your Thursday, a Monday.

As hinted at in my last post, the main reason that the week has felt much longer than the four days it has contained thus far, is that the 'brown letter' (nowadays, 'the brown phonecall') arrived on Monday lunchtime announcing the imminent arrival of an OFSTED inspector. When I say imminent... I mean he would be darkening our doorstep in precisely twenty one hours time.

Twenty one DAYS may offer enough time, twenty one hours however, is barely enough time to get off the toilet after receiving the terrible news.

For the benefit of my sweet blog pal abroadermark, the name OFSTED is to teachers, what the name Voldemort is to Hogwarts.

Sadly, OFSTED, is not just a figment of an incredibly well utilised imagination.

The fear inspiring acronym stands for: Office For Standards in Education. I won't go into it in too much depth because it all becomes slightly political and I'm not really that way inclined! However, whether they are ultimately beneficial or detrimental, the organisation exists and, when inspecting your school, stress and anxiety levels go through the roof and people begin to behave in an extraordinary manner.

I suppose in some ways, OFSTED can bring out the very worst and the very best.

They have the power to close you down if your school or unit fail. And it does happen. Which may well be a good thing in many cases.

Happily, we passed. And not just with a 'satisfactory', but with a 'good'.

My individual lesson received a 'good with outstanding features'.

I was amazed because I had felt it went badly.

I was nervous and felt that my questioning reflected my nerves.

The relief is hard to put into words.

I think it is the first time in eight years that I have considered that perhaps, I judge my teaching too harshly. Perhaps my bosses and colleagues haven't been lying to me all along.

The idea made me want to cut when I first had it. But I didn't.

I have lost weight but tonight I have binged on chocolate and jelly beans. I have two weeks coming up where I won't have to answer to anyone so I will be able to eat or starve as I please.

I can't wait.

I'm so sorry I am behind in reading people's blogs. I hope to catch up this weekend.

I've written a lot more than I meant to but wanted to answer the OFSTED question and I should probably mention therapy, which, at the moment, is quite like as series of very expensive chats. I'm trying to work out whether this is partly her ploy to drop me.

If I thought she wouldn't want to make light of it, I'd tell her how it is for me. Not that I haven't tried, just that I feel that she doesn't want to know it.
It's far easier to concentrate on all things joyful.


  1. Ahh...I feel much better now that the OFSTED question has been answered for me. I can finally relax and enjoy life. ;)

    Of course your lesson went well! I barely know you and I could have told you that. Listen to your bosses and colleagues, woman! Voldemort's report is proof that they know what they're talking about.

  2. I'm glad OFSTED is done. Now you can relax for a while. Congratulations on your rating. Continue to take care of yourself.

  3. Good with Outstanding Features (GOF). I like that and shall remind myself daily that I (and you and everyone else) am Good with Outstanding Features.

  4. HI LOVE-

    I am relieve for you that the OFSTED has come and gone and all went well, phew. That s exactly the same as at my work when the DPH -Department of Public Health and DMHAS - department f mental health dn addictions services inspects our facility. We actually lost our license once and operated under a 'consent order' while we fixed the problems. It was horrid. I am not too thrilled about how you are celebrating with binges and starving - I just can't seem to be happy for you about that - selfishly I want something so very different for you.
    Love to you
    peace and hope.....

  5. ABM - Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm not sure that you can tell whether someone is a successful teacher from such a distance but... I'll let that on go..!

    Wanda - Thank you so much.

    JSS - Love your comment! Hope you have told yourself that you aare GOF at least twice today.

    Gail - Yes... I guess that all such organisations have some equivalent. The stress is huge isn't it! So scarey to be under a 'consent order'... It's nown as 'special measure' here.
    Despite resenting the pressure of the whole ordeal, I do understand that often it can be a necessary evil. I know of many schools which really HAVE made vast (and MUCH needed) improvements after being slammed by the inspectors. I'm guessing it may be the same where you are?
    I don't think you are selfish for wantng something different for me. I want something different too. It's just that I feel so trapped and unable to control the very thing that I use to have control.
    A paradox and a half.
    Thanks for caring.

  6. When I read this the first thing I thought... we're so hard on ourselves. I am too...for a long time I waited for them to fire matter how good they said I was. And I went to therapy thinking she wanted to get rid of me. Yep...I thought that too. Many times.
    For the record....I think you're pretty awesome. I wish you knew that. One day...I'm believing you will know it...really know it. In your corner. Sarah

  7. HI AGAIN-

    you are absolutely right that the consent order was very necessary as it mandated much needed change. And I am so glad you understrnd my wish for you and I also totally understand what you wrote

    "It's just that I feel so trapped and unable to control the very thing that I use to have control.
    A paradox and a half. I get it. sigh....

    Love you so much
    peace and hope for us all....

  8. I'm not sure that you can tell whether someone is a successful teacher from such a distance but... I'll let that on go..!

    I can tell. I can tell that you're conscientious and careful with your responsibilities, so it stands to reason that you'd be good at your job. Besides, you said yourself that you're "an excellent worker." ;)

  9. I'm glad you're inspection went well. In one of the jobs I do we are always being inspected but the inspections happen with no warning. I don't like inspections but I know that they are necessary.

    You didn't, you made a choice. It's something.

    Good for you for the rating you received.

  10. Change your bloody therapist!
    Get one who makes you work, especially if you are paying for it.
    Although paying for an ineffectual one is a great way to keep safe isn't it?

  11. Firebyrd?
    I sense that you are irritated with me / by me and I can kind of get why... I hear " change your bloody therapist or stop whining"... And in some ways, that sort of floors me, cos although you're right, another part of me feels like it's my prerogative to whinge in my anonymous corner of cyberspace .
    It's not just about staying safe either, although safe IS how I like it... It's also about the fact that I have more trust in her than I have anywhere else. In all honesty, I would struggle with anyone. It's not HER that's the problem-it's ME.
    I should try to explain more but it's late and I need sleep. I will think about it some more. There are other reasons why I don't think I really want to change therapist... But the main one is that, really, I suspect that she is good, and that she's being careful... It's me who is crap.
    Does this make any sense?

  12. Sorry hon, I wasn't having a go at you.
    It's MY stuff about useless therapists.I read it, that you weren't getting what you wanted out of therapy. And I've worked long enough, and know enough therapists to know that were not all good at what we do.
    So if you think she's good then stick with her.
    My fear was that sometimes people come my way paying lip service to wanting therapy but ultimately staying with the devil they know as change is just too frightening.
    And I read this as your ambivilance and fear towards change.
    Wasn't my intention to make you feel under attack at all.It's just I'm bossy and opinionated! Not always a good combination when someone just wants listening to as of course you have every right to be. It's your blog and I'll butt out. I just have a need to save the world sometimes which takes over subtle interaction!
    Go well.
    And cause I can't help it.... check out Mindfulness. As living completely in the moment is sometimes a very good way to get through the bad stuff.