First formal observation...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by cocobean, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    Dec 15, 2016

    I just found out my first formal observation will be two days before winter break. I am not amused!
    I hope reminding students about our kindness party the following day will keep most of them in line! haha
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Dec 15, 2016

    If it makes you feel better: one of my observations last year (2nd year) was on the first day after break; I accidentally scheduled it for that day. Just go in with the same exact expectations and be your usual self, and I'm sure it'll go well. At the time (it was my 3rd observation ever), it was the best of my three...so don't worry about it!
     
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  4. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    If you are a competent teacher and know what you are doing then you will be successful at any time.

    I actually like evaluations. I view at as a time I can show off my great students to the principal and all the awesome things they do and are capable of.
     
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  5. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Your principal isn't looking for a perfect teacher with perfect students. The point of evaluations is for admin to get a snapshot of what is happening in your classroom - so a real teacher with real students. They will be watching for how to you respond to things that deviate from the plan and then will want to hear your thoughts and reflections afterwards.

    One of my best evaluations was when everything fell apart - the kids, the lesson, everything - but I was able to adapt the lesson, respond to behaviour and then explain my decisions afterwards.
     
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  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I tried to schedule mine way before the break but I guess it would have went ok a few days before our last day. It doesn't have to be perfect and hopefully whoever is evaluating you will take the time of year into consideration. I find my students act worse after a break, not before.
     
  7. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    Just be calm and make sure that your kids behave. When I had a observation a few days before break, I talked with my students.
    I made sure they understood that if they did not behave, there would be no party, no recess, no movies, and extra homework.
    They behaved so well during the observation. I was surprised that there were no arguments or complaints. I taught 5th grade, so that usually happened when I would assign classwork or homework.
    The Principal talked with them while walking around the class and they said I was a great teacher. Of course, I would give them "the look" which was meant as a reminder about the consequences if they fooled around.
     
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  8. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I wonder if, next time, you could find a way to be successful without utilizing a threat-of-consequence system? I simply remind my students that this is a great opportunity for us all to show how amazing that they already know they are, I set high expectations as always, and they tend to rise to the occasion, instead of falling into line due to a threat of something happening if they don't.
     
  9. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    I used to do that, but the kids would act up ( some of them intentionally) just to see me grow red while the principal was scribbling notes on her board. The approach of "I expect you to behave" did not work.

    But when they realized that there are consequences, they shaped up. And every time I use the "threat of consequence" approach, I get an outstanding on my observations. You have to be tough and stick to the consequences in order to show them that you are not fooling around.

    The second to last observation, two students told the principal that I was "a meanie". Unfortunately for them, they couldn't give her any concrete examples of when I was mean and the other kids said that I was good. They just wanted her attention and thought that complaining about me would do the trick.

    This lead to no recess for them for 4 days ( since the observation was on a Monday), silent lunch for 2 days, and 50 lines of " I must not lie to the principal".

    At the next observation they behaved perfectly along with the rest of the class. They got rewarded by extra recess, a movie on Friday, candy, and praise from me .
    This lets me know that my approach of "threat & consequences" works.
     
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  10. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    Yes, "threat & consequences" works in some cases, but my administrator can pop into my room any time and see engaged students who are working hard, learning and well behaved. It's because my classroom management style is more than threat & consequence. Absolutely, there are consequences for inappropriate behaviour, but I don't have to make threats about it. I plan material that is challenging, scaffold my students to success, teach concepts in a variety of ways and provide choice as much as possible. Routines and procedures are taught & practiced so students know exactly what I expect. Students feel safe and loved. When someone does behave inappropriately I calmly respond with a logical consequence or make it a teaching moment. By doing this I run a successful classroom without making threats, which, in the long run, is a lot more pleasant for everyone. And reflects well in an evaluation - planned or surprised.

    Principals don't want to see perfect students - they want to see effective teachers who plan proactively, think on their feet, and help students be successful.
     
  11. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    I agree that in most cases that would be true. But in my case it isn't. I teach in Oakland County, Michigan. There are way too many prospective teachers looking for jobs.

    There were over 700 teachers for a Kindergarten position, and by a miracle I was picked. Very often when I or someone else walks to the office, we will see a prospective teacher giving his/her resume.
    At one of our meetings after testing the principal held a meeting. She showed us some of the resumes and warned us to step up our game.

    The principal wants "perfect" students who don't cause problems, study, and do great on the state exams. We have to impress the inspectors and board of education when they come to visit.

    Just to give you an example, a 2nd grade teacher was let go because one of her students started running with scissors and glue while the principal was observing. We are not allowed to physically stop them, and the student threw the glue at someone.

    Maybe if there was a different situation I would relax and try a better, more friendly approach. But until I get tenured, I have to be tough and make sure the kids behave.
     
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  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Dec 16, 2016

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019
  13. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    Strick, It is understandable you must do what is necessary to keep your job. There is a better way though. Learn to manage your students or find a different school that has leadership.

    One of my biggest criticisms of public education is schools that are over populated with low students and various other problems that have no leadership. Schools like this that have principals who cower to the parents to make them happy. The problem, however, is the parents. The parents are young, ignorant, uneducated, and hopped up on drugs, yet the principal is politically correct and nothing changes at the school. As teachers, we are the educated professionals and need leadership who will stay true and not bow down by being politically correct. I've worked in a school like that and it was insulting to myself as a professional and a disgusting school environment. Now I work in a school with zero political correct liberal BS.

    My advice to you is to be the professional and handle it or go find a school that will let you be a professional and handle business.
     
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  14. Strick18

    Strick18 Rookie

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    I would if it was a different economy. But I cannot risk walking away from this job since it is very unlikely that I would find another teaching job in Michigan.

    I just need to manage another 4 years and I will get tenure. Until then, what the principal wants goes and I have no say in it.
     
  15. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I'm in high school, so I get to chose which class I want observed. I usually announce to the selected class that I chose them out of all my classes when my principal observes me and how everything is going. I think they feel special that I chose them. I tell them then when the observation is, and on that day, as well as the day before I tell them that they just need to be their wonderful selves :) And then I add, "I mean, be good, but you guys are anyways, so you don't need to act differently". This usually works.
    This time, they really were themselves, so some of them acted pretty badly in my opinion, and I had a conversation with one student and then kicked her out afterwards (she escalated even after the evaluator was gone). I was actually disappointed, but when I talked to my evaluator (it wasn't my P, she couldn't be there because of an emergency), I was told that everything was handled great they know what reality is about our students, and I handled everything great
     
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