Class Observations?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by itseemstome, Feb 12, 2007.

  1. itseemstome

    itseemstome Rookie

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I'm currently enrolled in an alternative certification program (iTeachTexas) that does not require any classroom experience prior to interviewing for positions. They do offer a student teaching practicum, but it is (obviously) unpaid and prolongs your being hired as a full-time teacher by a semester.

    In any case, I am not planning on participating in the student teaching practicum, but am trying to figure out how I can get some time in a classroom prior to interviewing and possibly accepting a position.

    My question here is, how would you teachers feel if someone from an alternative certification program contacted you with regard to observing your classroom for half of a day? Is this something you would need to clear through your principal? Would any of you entertain this idea or even agree to it?

    Or is this most likely just going to be seen as an extra bit of unrequired work for you and completely horrible?

    My program has told me they do not "endorse" classroom observations, but prefer if program participants do substitute teaching. Unfortunately I can't quit my full-time job to substitute. Additionally, I don't think substituting would fulfill the same goals (though obviously substituting has it's own merits prior to having your own classroom). I'm trying to see a fully functioning class in action and get an idea of normal class flow, behavior management techniques, presentation, etc. Not to mention, it would be nice to make some contact with teachers teaching what I'd like to teach.

    If you've made it this far, thanks for reading all of this. I look forward to your responses.
     
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  3. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Feb 12, 2007

    It really depends on the school. Our school is partnered up with the local college, and any type of daily or weekly observations are through that program. Those, that I know, who have went through the alternative certification process have worked at the school as aides. It's a good way to get the experience, while getting paid as well.
    I would contact the schools you would like to observe at to see who you need to talk to. The school might have someone who organizes observations. It might also be a good idea to offer your time for volunteer work as well.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I personally would have no problem with being observed. I've been doing this a long time. I teach with my doors open.

    But any visitor to the school must be cleared through the main office. If nothing else, it's a safety consideration.

    I would suggest you contact some local principals, let them know exactly what you're looking for, and ask for help.

    Also, whatever you're planning to teach, ask to see both ends of the spectrum. If you're planning on elementary, that means seeing both Kindergarten and 5th grade (or wherever your license would top out.) If you're secondary math, ask to see everything from Algebra to Calculus. Even if you have your heart set on teaching a particular course, there's no guarentee that you'll end up teaching that-- work on seeing the full range of ages and behaviors.

    Good luck!
     
  5. AngelHead

    AngelHead Comrade

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    Feb 12, 2007

    You should definitely start with the principal and ask her/him to recommend some teachers to observe. The principal should be able to guide you to good teachers with open door policies.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Feb 12, 2007

    There are no problems in my district with pre-service teachers observing in classrooms. Those who are interested contact the principal. I HIGHLY recommend however that you do what you can (beg, borrow, steal, well not really steal) to do the student teaching experience. No amount of observing in a classroom is equivalent to really teaching- which is what student teaching gets as close to as possible. You want to MAXIMIZE your potential to a school district in the hiring process. Yeah, subbing is good experience, but not enough. Observing shows a desire to learn more about the profession, art and science of teaching but still is not enough. Student teaching gives you the opportunity to see what it is REALLY like, to show your 'best stuff' and to potentially get your foot in the door in a district.
     
  7. TXTCHR29

    TXTCHR29 Cohort

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    Feb 12, 2007

    I have no problem being observed and am observed quite often, so it doesn't bother me. The best way would probably be to call the school and ask to set up some observations, most schools would be open to this. At my school we constantly have teachers from other schools observing, college students and interns.

    I think its a shame that you are not required to do a student teaching placement. Student teaching is where you learn the most and get experience. (most of what I learned in my college classes was not realistic, and not helpful to what I do day to day!!!) I've known people that have gone to school to become a teacher and once they got to their student teaching, they decided it was not the career for them. If at all possible I would try to get some kind of in classroom experience before you interview for jobs, be it a student teaching experience or subbing.
     
  8. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    Feb 13, 2007

    I just wanted to clarify something before I post. As an alternate route candidate, you are required to teach full-time while earning your certification (taking courses), correct? This is how it is done in NJ and it basically takes place of student teaching.

    If this isn't the case and you won't have any teaching experience through the program, I would definitely say you should student teach. There are so many people who have problems with the financial aspect of losing income for a semester, but honestly, I think it is a very valuable experience and one that has the power to jeopardize your future in finding jobs. Although I haven't completed student teaching yet (will in the fall for my MAT program), I know already that it's nothing like observations or subbing (I've done both). You are really cheating yourself by not student teaching.
     
  9. itseemstome

    itseemstome Rookie

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    Feb 13, 2007

    Thank you for all of your responses. I think I will contact some principals from local middle schools to see if they would be willing to allow me to do an observation. The worst they can say is "NO", right?

    I'm curious - nobody seems to think I would have "red tape" issues with getting permission to be in a classroom? My contact at my program gave me the impression that "in this day and age" you can't just walk into a school. So, I was expecting to come against some security issues.

    With regard to student teaching, I agree, it would be the most beneficial thing for anyone to do. However, please respect that it is not an option for me at this time and is not required by the state certification compliant program. I'm trying to get the most valuable experience that is available to me now.
     
  10. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    Feb 13, 2007

    You might be asked to do a background check, or show paperwork that says that you are working through a certification program.
     
  11. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    Feb 18, 2007

    I know in the local schools in my district, you are required to submit a cover letter (letter of intent) requesting permission to do observations AND a letter from a supervisor explaining the requirements of the observations. Upon receiving those documents, the board must approve your observation hours. So yes, I can't see how you can just call and ask to do observations without completing those steps. That would never happen here.

    I'm still confused by your education program. Are you teaching while you are taking classes? If not, I don't understand how you are able to get a teacher certification without student teaching.
     
  12. Teacherella

    Teacherella Habitué

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    Okay...I reread your post and think I understand your program better. Basically, you are taking some courses now and then will go on interviews to get a full-time teaching job. After you find a teaching job, you will complete the rest of your classes while working full-time - and receive your certification that way. Right?
     
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Feb 18, 2007

    Our system here is so different--if you aren't certified, you don't teach, period (even supply teaching).

    That said, if observing is your only option right now, I would approach some of the principals in your area. You will likely need to submit letters (as JNewbie stated) outlining the purpose of your observation, and may be required to provide a background check. You will not be able to be alone with students. Some teachers will be happy to host you, while others may be reluctant. Once you find some classrooms to observe in, be prepared to put in a lot of time. You really can't learn too much observing for a half a day, or even a day, here and there. You really need to see how things progress from day to day and how very different each and every day is.
     

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