Isn’t it ironic… don’t you think.


“When that is out of the way.”

“Once we get through it.”

“It will soon be over.”

“When it’s done we can then get back on track.”

How many times do we hear these statements in schools. Wishing to be doing something else. Galloping along to get to something else, even if we don’t know what that something else is. We all know in schools there is something to be done. We are always doing things, most of the time without knowing the purpose or meaning of it.

As we all know, accreditation is a big deal and we do know the meaning and purpose of it. Being authorized means you are a good school, doing good things and it’s a good place to work and learn – essentially, that is what it all comes down to in its simplest terms.

A self-study is an opportunity to take a look at the school you teach at and students learn in.  A school should invest about 12 months in the Self-study process. That’s plenty of time to collect evidence, look at the previous evaluation report, make some self-study groups, make judgments against the standards and practices, write a summary and go through a team visit. This is an opportunity to learn more about what you do well, where the holes are and find ways to plug those holes to be an even better place for parents, teachers and students. The self-study is a time to celebrate, keep schools accountable and  mostly focus on Section C (2,3,4) – the quality of teaching and learning and how people work together towards a common goal.

This is the right time to now introduce the word irony in this situation. If a Self-study is meant to be an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of how far you’ve come, why does it bring so much displeasure and angst?

We have dedicated and committed teachers doing their best to put a robust, detailed and accurate Self-study report together… yet I have to say, I’ve caught myself saying the above statements. I should be fist pumping teachers in the corridor and giving high fives for the work we’ve done. The reality is we are tired. After a good day of teaching and learning, getting up in front of the staff and saying those words Self-study, just sucks the enthusiasm out of the room. But, this is important and we have to do it. The Self-study is mostly about collaboration, teaching and learning. This is the business we are in. This is what we offer.  I find this incredibly ironic and vexing.

Half of me feels like I am going to get a rap over the knuckles for sharing this much with you.

Am I saying what everyone else is thinking and feeling, or is it just me?

Maybe I am suffering from Self-study fatigue….


  1. misslauraengland

    You are not alone – we too feel the self-study fatigue. If others send through strategies on how to beat this, we’d love to know. I’m struggling to keep baking cakes for all the teams to keep them motivated, collecting evidence and documenting!

    • Chad Walsh

      Thank you for replying…. I didn’t know how others would respond, if at all. You’re right, how do we go beyond the baked goods to keep people ‘in it?’ The whole process feels very un-IB to me. The Self-study questionnaire is quite awkward, uninspiring and dry. It makes me think of the PYP unit planner, it hasn’t evolved that much in 10 or so years, same deal with the Self-study. Something I would do differently for next time is go through each section one by one as a whole primary school. Keep everyone together, have everyone feed into the evidence collection side…. As a primary team we need to reflect on this, or we will repeat the same steps in 5 years and be saying the exactly same things.

      • misslauraengland

        I think the My School will help it become more of a in-built process and will hopefully transform the Evaluation process. Our College is so large it’s quite difficult – 4 campuses with over 100 teachers from PYP through to MYP. I’ve really relied on our Heads of Faculty to drive Section C – this has proven to be beneficial! But I fully agree, a new, inspiring process is essential.

  2. Mrs. Knutson

    I agree! We are gearing up for a “visit” soon and it has made people on edge. We have enough to do every day and then self-study committees and groups added to it. We also talked about how it makes us feel like we’re not doing things right, when essentially we are! We are doing things right, but do have areas to grow in. Sometimes these meetings tend to feel negative rather than positive.

    • Chad Walsh

      Yes, these are the realities of the Self-study…. treat it like an (inquiry into) from the very beginning. Where are we in place and time and who we are. Be very deliberate in your timeline and give teachers time so it is seen valued and meaningful. Depending on the size of your school, if it is a small school (like ours) I would recommend you doing each section together. otherwise you have only 1-2 teachers driving it forward. It is a lot like going to a conference or workshop, after hearing about other experiences form teachers in other schools, you come away thinking, gee whiz – we don’t have it that bad after all. true?! Same goes with a Self-study – good things are happening every day.

  3. Kevin Ettenger

    I dunno if anyone thought of the/posted/stated verbalizesed, whatever. Think life this way. Everything you do is recycled. As black matter. Whick is another universe we will never see. But that’s ok👌. The theory existests(don’t remember the name) that everything has to happen once). We just are in the one where I might have just thought of it and we are ok(has to happen). This sequence has to happen once.

    Kevin Etteneger

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