Such a #ShowOff by @TeacherToolkit

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shutterstock The man is stay on the stage in theatre Show Off


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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How do you teach when nobody else is in the room observing you? What and how does your own standard of teaching and learning change when somebody else is in your classroom?

This is a blog about teachers being free to ‘go with the learning’; confident enough to take risks.

The answer to all of the questions above should be: no change. 

The final term of the academic year is often one that allow teachers a little more breathing space. Not much, but some time to consider ‘what next’? ‘What next’ in terms of planning for next year? And ‘what next?’ in terms of thinking about your own teaching practice. Are you sure which area of your teaching expertise you need to develop?

Such a #ShowOff:

#ShowOff references all the lessons that you teach – well over 80% – that are not observed by your line-manager; nor the senior leadership team, or even Ofsted. #ShowOff refers to those lessons, day-in-day-out that you teach on a Friday afternoon, or towards the end of term when you and the kids are knackered! That everyday lesson that is darn good, but nobody else sees! The lessons you teach without fear of a one-off performance; doing what works for you in the classroom …

shutterstock elementary school teacher helping student in classroom

Image: Shutterstock

Use the following criteria  as a questioning check-list to ask yourself for consistently high-quality teaching;

Subject knowledge and use of assessment:

  • Is your subject knowledge up to date? Really? Even with cross-curricular references?
  • How to you assess prior learning systematically and accurately?
  • Understanding is checked systematically through effective questioning?
  • Do you anticipate interventions?
  • Systems are in place to involve all students in reading and responding to feedback, as well as acting on feedback?
  • Learners are confident and critical in assessing their own and others’ work?
  • Your students regularly set meaningful targets for improvement?


  • Tasks are challenging/match students’ needs accurately?
  • You pitch lessons well and use imaginative teaching strategies that leave colleagues in awe?
  • Your expectations are consistently high?
  • The support you offer is appropriate and has a notable impact on progress?
  • You probe and tease out misconceptions? All learners are enthusiastic and keen to move on?
  • Your teaching of literacy, numeracy and other skills are exceptional?
  • Any teaching assistant is involved in planning and there is good communication?

Learning and progress:

  • Students show high levels of enthusiasm, interest, resilience, confidence and engagement?
  • Students learn exceptionally well?
  • All students make rapid and sustained progress? How do you know? Evidence please?


  • Appropriate and regular homework contributes very well to students’ learning?
  • Homework has a choice of activities?

Attitudes to Learning and behaviour:

  • Students’ attitudes to learning are exemplary?
  • Students make every effort to ensure that others learn and thrive in an atmosphere of respect?
  • There is a very high level of engagement, courtesy, collaboration and cooperation?
  • The lesson proceeds without interruption (throughout)?
  • There is a systematic, consistently applied approach to behaviour management?

shutterstock Elementary Pupil Showing Drawing To Classmates In Classroom

Image: Shutterstock

Teachers Tip:

To be a solid classroom practitioner day-in-day-out, it’s blooming hard work! If you are not quite there, consider using these questions above as a self-assessment. Make it informal by asking a friend to pose these questions to you to an interview to help you reflect. One key point to keep in mind, is that all of the above is ‘over time’ and should NEVER be asked from a one-off performance or ‘tick-box’ template as part of any lesson observation.

Take it Further:

Are you a #ShowOff? Do you think you could make at least one or two of questions listed above your own personal targets for this term? Consider all lessons you teach as if you were being observed. Treat every lesson as an observation …

You can read more here.


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