Your most successful observation lessons

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Camel13, Feb 13, 2018 at 7:51 PM.

  1. Camel13

    Camel13 Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2018 at 7:51 PM

    In hopes that this is both uplifting and encouraging for newbies such as myself, what are some of your most successful lessons that you have given during formal observations? I realize little things like walking around, and being attentive to each student is good, but what safe some of the little nothings that were mentioned in your observation that were effective or praised?
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 13, 2018 at 8:00 PM

    Honestly, the most important thing that tends to be mentioned is the flexibility within the lesson. How am I shifting as I notice students are/aren't getting it? Do I adjust or just keep going forward? How am I flexible with my management to ensure all needs are met?
     
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  4. miss-m

    miss-m Habitué

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    Feb 13, 2018 at 8:09 PM

    My P observed a math lesson while I was doing small groups and told me the conversation she heard away from my group were awesome. She said kids were having math conversations, talking through the problems, and experiencing some “educative struggle” because they knew they couldn’t ask me for help, so they had to just figure it out on their own.

    I didn’t think “don’t come ask me for help while I’m with a group” would lead to a good evaluation, but apparently it did?
     
  5. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Cohort

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    Feb 13, 2018 at 8:14 PM

    My old supervisor used to always say she prefered group stuff to teacher-led stuff, but then whenever she would observe me for group lessons I would just get "Effective", but for my lecture-style lessons, I would get "Highliy Effective" so I stopped trying to show her group work and just did engaging and clear lectures, and it worked to always land me in that "Highly Effective" camp. I have a new supervisor this year who finds the posiitve in any lesson. Each year we have one announced and one unannounced observation. I always prefer the unannounced as I don't worry as much about it, and it doesn't allow me to even think about putting on a show.
     
  6. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Feb 14, 2018 at 6:07 AM

    I do not do anything different during an observation or have lesson plans for observation day...to me, that defeats the purpose of them. I am trying to receive honest feedback that will help me day in and day out. I have known teachers who have "observation day" lesson plans, saving what they consider to be their best stuff, or those occasions and even rehearse their student on what is expected of them. That seems too contrived for my taste.
    But i have confidence in my abilities, trust my admin to give honest appraisal and,ultimately, the rating doesn't really affect anything pay wise. If any of these 3 things were different, I might reconsider my position. Bottom line, I advocate not doing anything special or different on those days. You will have better data as a result.
    As a bonus, if your kids perceive you to be an effective teacher, they will always bring their "A" games to class for you on those days, even the one or two who can cause the most grief will have your back that day. They know why a member of admin is sitting in your classroom.
     
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  7. Camel13

    Camel13 Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2018 at 7:53 PM

    How I wish this could be the case! Our formal observations are part of our evaluations, go on our record and do affect promotion, pay, etc. My principal has a sit down the day before and wants an official lesson plan detailed out, etc. I wish it could be real, but honestly as a first year teacher, I have men's unexpected disaster lessons that don't go as planned because I have never taught them before.
     
  8. TeacherWhoRuns

    TeacherWhoRuns Companion

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    Feb 14, 2018 at 9:32 PM

    Observations are so subjective, much of it has to do with your principal. I had one principal who basically did them because she had to. She'd always point out a few good things and unless there was something to be really concerned about she'd mark meets expectations (the highest rating we can get) all the way down. Easy breezy.
    My current principal has observed me three times - twice last year and once this year, all in scripted small group situations. Last year in the first observation she told me not to do a certain strategy the program recommended, so the next time I followed her directions and did it her way the second observation. In the post-meeting she told me not to do it that way either. :( Even so, she gave me the meets expectations marks.
    This year when she observed me, I had one kid who wasn't participating. The kid is basically afraid of his own shadow and probably was intimidated by her sitting right behind him. I encouraged him to join in, so it's not like I wasn't paying attention to the situation. In her write-up she scored me down for it, saying that in a small group there is no excuse for every student not being engaged the whole time. She wrote her reasoning on the form and the fact that I did what I could, so I can only hope that anyone reading it understands that kids are going to do what they do, and you can only invite them to try harder. You can't make them do it.
    I have another observation coming up soon. At this stage, I'm convinced she wants an excuse not to hire me back next year and nothing I can do will be right. I'm really stressed about it and not looking forward to it.

    Sorry....I know you wanted good stories! I will say my previous principal was great about them and was willing to offer whatever suggestions you asked for. One thing she said she liked was that I used the word "we" in terms of their learning. I'd say "We will work on that," instead of saying "you." I also used little finger lights to help the kids finger track while reading. She liked that.

    Good luck!
     

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