Grrr...central office observes for 5 mins, gives poor report

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Mar 15, 2012

    A few weeks ago I turn around from my Mimio and see 2 people standing in my room holding clipboards and wearing our district badges.

    "Can I help you?" I ask.
    "Oh no, just here to observe. You can carry on."
    ...awkwardly...."Is there something specific you're here to see?"
    "Not really. You can continue."

    I'm a little freaked out but I continue with my lesson. They walked around my room jotting notes and were gone in 5 mins tops. Later I find out everyone else had a weird visitor too, and we were all stumped.

    Today I find out they were from Central Office and gave a 'demeaning' report to my principal about our use of effective differentiation.

    1. 1. They were in my room 5 mins!
    2. 2. Apparently they didn't see any evidence of PLC data being used to drive our instruction (in 5 mins?)
    3. No one asked me any questions or asked about how I differentiate.

    I'm still so peeved about this. Is it me, or would this get your panties bunched, too??:dizzy: Ugh....
     
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  3. Croissant

    Croissant Comrade

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    Yes, it would! Wow...I guess that probably means they have someone higher up breathing down their necks, huh? That would absolutely annoy me!
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    It's not just you. How can someone determine that in 5 minutes. I mean really.
     
  5. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    My department head barges into our rooms, stays for about 5 minutes, and leaves. It bugs me so much. He's not getting that much information if it's for only a few minutes.
    However, thankfully, my evaluations have been good because he doesn't focus on just one thing. He focuses on the big picture.
    I think it's crazy that they expect you to differentiate every minute of the day! Have any of the teachers you're close to told you about their evaluations?
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Mar 16, 2012

    It sounds like it was overall the teachers they observed, not just you. Your principal knows the kind of job you are doing.

    I wouldn't like it if the central office came in and observed for only 5 minutes for something specific.
     
  7. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    Mar 16, 2012

    My last school did something like this. The administration only had to stay for 30 minutes during observations, but our classes were 60 minutes long. They would regularly ding me on evaluations for things that I did during the lesson but that they missed by not being there the whole time. It drove me nuts! At my new school, the evaluators stay for the whole class period. It's so much fairer.
     
  8. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Pisces_Fish - I would suggest you not take it to heart. I'm afraid that's been the growing trend with administrators over the last few years. No matter how good your lesson is, they will make it a point to give you a bad or poor evaluation. It not only justifies their jobs, it gives them a chance to show how THEY got you to "improve" by the end of the school year. (Even though you were fine the entire time.)

    That's the problem with "subjective" evaluations. (I raised that point during my undergrad studies and was blown-off with an answer of, "Oh, they're professionals! They won't deliberately misrepresent an evaluation." Yeah, right!)

    In my graduate classes for Educational Leadership, they told us, "You MUST find at least one thing the teacher has to work on. Otherwise, a school district will begin to wonder what they need you for if every teacher is completely 'satisfactory'." While I countered that it was a lousy way to treat people who are trying their best and take pride in their work, I was told that it was just the way it is.

    The trouble is, they're going WAY beyond that "one thing" now and totally demoralizing people.


    :banghead:
     
  9. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Where better to look than the central office when it comes time to cut the budget?

    (They have "district badges"? Do they wear Mao suits, too, and talk like Sergeant Joe Friday?)
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    It is entirely likely they were looking for one thing posted somewhere in the room and didn't see it. I know that is how our "walkthrough" evals are structured.

    "No posted standard. Fail."

    I'd ask if that were the case.
     
  11. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Could you imagine doing an evaluation on Central Office people for 5 minutes-that's not even enough time for them to return a phone call, much less see how effective they are.

    The cynic in me would wonder if they aren't looking for justification for some upcoming changes.
     
  12. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    Ok... there is a new train of thought out there. You go in for 5 minutes and you are looking for one thing specifically. In this case it was differentiation. The people who come in write down everything that they observe sticking to the facts and not focusing on positives or negatives. THEN, that team sits down and debriefs. They talk about what they observed. Did they see any form of differentiation in any classroom that was observed? If they ALL come up empty handed, then that is something that the school should focus on during PLCs and the administration should be helping to enhance within the school. This is a viable way of looking at what is happening in classrooms across the board. We had someone come in a few weeks ago to look for the use of technology within the classrooms. Specifically, what was being used or NOT used. Many classrooms were using the typical smartboards, but were they using any other type of technology? A few classes were using edmodo, and a few classes happened to be using clickers. Ok... what does that tell us? Technology is alive and well. A few weeks before that, we were observed on if we were conferencing with students and using small group instruction. Again, most teachers were using some form of small group intervention, even if some were sitting side by side with a student at their desk. However, a few weeks before that, the administration did a sweep of the building to see if teachers were having Morning Meetings with their classes. We were all GUNG HO at the beginning of the year and now... not so much. The time crunch is upon us and we are using every spare moment to teach academics. So... the "team" discussed how Morning Meetings could effectively help with some of the discipline problems that were cropping up. Being proactive in this area, could save a child a trip to the office and help him/her with making a good decision because he/she had discussed other options during our Morning Meeting. Do I agree with this type of "sweep" that is based on statistics and not actual teacher merit? Not sure. The jury is still out on that one.
     
  13. KateL

    KateL Habitué

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    My school district does this type of "sweep", but they use the data to judge each school's progress in implementing the latest instructional directives (technology, having students talk more, etc), not to judge individual teachers. There is a world of difference between using 5-minute snapshots to determine what the climate of the school as a whole is and using them to punish or demean teachers.
     
  14. lovebeingteach

    lovebeingteach Companion

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    Mar 17, 2012

    I had the same thing happen to me the other day. This woman comes in with a clipboard and a fire evacuation paper. I finished up the part of the lesson that we were working on, and walked over to her. I seriously thought she was a fire inspector. She was like, "Oh no, carry on with your lesson." So, that's what I did. She stayed about 10 minutes and left a report on my desk stating that I should have a graphic organizer to show the information in my lesson. At least she did have some constructive criticism and didn't just tell me what I did wrong. So annoying how in this profession someone is ALWAYS watching. When I was a social worker they trusted that you could handle your job.
     
  15. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    One five-minute observation isn't sufficient for an individual, but I suppose twenty of these observations in a building on one day is a good snapshot. But for a complete picture, more is necessary.

    Number two...so had they read your PLC meeting minutes and data prior to the observations? Otherwise, how in the world would they know?!

    Number three....and that's a problem.
     
  16. AnonyMS

    AnonyMS SpEd Para! BASE room aide! RTI Facilitator!

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    Mar 17, 2012

    What's "PLC"?
     
  17. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Professional learning community
     
  18. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Wait... what?

    How can anyone possibly think that A) that is true or B) that would be a bad thing? Most complaints around here are that observations happen once a year and don't get the full picture of what we do. Now you are saying they are happening "ALWAYS"? I don't get that at all.

    I'm observed less than 2% of my time in the classroom. When I had a job in the real world I had a boss watching me at least half the time. I had a new set of instructions every day I came in. With teaching I could go a month without seeing my principal if I so chose.

    I can't believe anyone would argue that teachers (and Heaven forbid social workers) should just be left to their own devices without consistent oversight. That's just plain irresponsible.
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Consistent? Yes. Random visits that last only a fraction of the teaching period and target certain behaviors only? No. I once worked at a school where the principal did a walk-through once a week, a coordinator did a walk-through two times a week, my mentor came once a week, a consultant came in once a month, a different consultant came in once every two weeks, and someone from central office came in once a week. They only stayed about five minutes each time, though. For me, it tended to be at a transition time, or right when a student had a melt-down or something like that. It was never when my lesson was going exactly as planned, which as a beginning teacher was only about 70% of the time or so. It made me so nervous to always have these people walking around with their clipboard.
     
  20. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    In the former district I worked in PLC minutes would not needed to have been read as all teachers should have been teaching the exact same material. I'm glad I don't have to deal with the infighting anymore.


    My evaluations really mean something here. I'm pleased with the way my evaluations are done. (As much as anyone can)
     
  21. TeachOn

    TeachOn Habitué

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    Presumably in the "real world" the boss would actually be qualified to assess your work, not some schmoozing lickspittle with a few meaningless grad courses under his belt, a badge, and a clipboard.
     

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