How can I loosen up in the classroom?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by MassNerder, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. MassNerder

    MassNerder Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2011

    I have been teaching for about 2 years now. I've taught one year of first grade and now I'm teaching second. I have had all good write ups for my observations with my administration. I need to be observed several times over the course of the year. However, recently I asked one of my administrators what else could I do to become a better teacher. My administrator said that one thing they noticed when observing me is that I'm very "tight". They said they would like to see me loosen up and be able to see that I'm enjoying myself.
    This observation hit me quite hard. I honestly love what I do and for that not to be obvious when watching me, is very upsetting. I feel that I normally am quite loose with the kids and will joke around, be silly, dress up, etc. At the same time I need to be honest and admit I do stiffen up when someone is observing me, whether it be a fellow teacher, parent, or administrator. I really want to change this. I also want my rapport with the children to be observable. In everyday life I acknowledge that I am shy and am very straightforward. I want to become less "up-tight" and learn to loosen up in my school environment, especially in my classroom when I'm being observed. Any advice? I love what I do and I would hate to have good write ups for my lessons and but then have the critique that I'm too "stiff" in the classroom.
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    I completely ignore that my administrator is even in the room. The first few minutes I know they are there, but then I engross myself in the classroom and forget about them.

    You may want to ask them to observe from the doorway once at an unknown time. Then you wouldn't even know that they are there.
     
  4. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Mar 27, 2011

    As long as you know you are "loose" most of the time, I wouldn't worry about it. Many people are that way when they are being observed - nerves. It would only be a problem if you were that way most of the time, imo.
     
  5. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    I agree with the others. Most likely what they are seeing is tension because of their visit, not because of how you teach. Just remember that it's not a dog and pony show. When you have an observation, teach the way you always do. If you try to do something "special" just for the observation - it shows. Something else that I have done (I "borrowed" the idea from someone on here years ago! :D) is to have the kids evaluate me. I just give them a few questions and they can choose to put their name on it or not. Just be prepared from some brutal honesty! I don't know if 2nd graders are up for it, but if you have one or two that you know are strong, talk to them. Ask them if there is something they would like to see you do. It's interesting to get the "customers' " viewpoint.
     
  6. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Yeah - I definitely wouldn't make large changes to your teaching routine, because it sounds like what you're doing already works.

    In terms of loosening up for observation, try this: videotape yourself for an hour or two each day for a while. Set a goal of asking the admin to review this tape after a certain amount of time, so you add some pressure to yourself, but not upfront. In this way, you'd be sort of "desensitizing" yourself to the process of observation because you'd just be used to it.
     
  7. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I agree- I think you're probably just nervous and don't need to change what you do. In college when my professors would come observe me they'd often say the same thing- I was really offended by it too! I know I would just get very nervous when they were in the room though and would be stiff because of that. Professors would only come watch you once for field experiences freshman-junior year, and your entire "teaching" grade was based on that. If you got certain scores, you were kicked out of the program- so there was a lot at stake! In my full time student teaching, my supervisor came once a week so I got used to her- and she said just the opposite in my evaluations (that I was very relaxed, etc.) Now people come in my room all the time (we have "mentor" teachers and a "master" teacher that have 3-4 hours a week blocked out just to do classroom visits) so I'm just used to it.
     
  8. MassNerder

    MassNerder Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2011

    Thanks everyone, for your feedback. I know that socially I can be up-tight and this whole incident has caused me to reflect on how I am in the classroom. If anyone has any ideas of how I can loosen up please share. Thanks again!
     
  9. halpey1

    halpey1 Groupie

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    Mar 27, 2011

    Try mixing it up and shocking your admin... use music during a lesson - get up and dance with your kids. You'll blow their minds! :D
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    That's a big question! Do you mean suggestions for loosening up as a person, not just in the classroom? If so, I guess my first question would be this:

    If I were to meet you tomorrow for the first time, what would be the first three things I would notice that would make me think you were uptight?
     
  11. MassNerder

    MassNerder Rookie

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    I think I can be uptight in person mainly because I can be shy and it takes me some time to warm up to people. My fear is that this tightness is spreading into my classroom. I honestly feel comfortable with my class and that I can be myself but after being observed it's raised some doubts in myself. If you met me, at first you'd probably think I'm quiet, and because of that, awkward at times, and straight to the point with little humor used. I want to loosen up as a person to make sure I'm also loose in the classroom. I think around people I'm comfortable with I have a very dry sense of humor and with my class it's more slapstick. But I think I'm just afraid to relax and be loose on a professional setting at times and I want to change that.
     
  12. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So, during the times when you are more comfortable with people, what's different? If I were to casually observe you in more comfortable surroundings, what would be different? You say when you seem more awkward you are more quiet and more straight to the point, and don't use humor as much. What do you do when you are more comfortable?
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Mar 28, 2011

    It doesn't sound to me as though you really need to change; you're fine in front of the kids. You just need to let the administrators see the way you behave when they're not around.

    Here's what I would do:

    Chat with the administrators who think you should loosen up. Be totally honest: say you tend to be really nervous when they're in the room.

    Invite them to stand outside your open door sometime(s) and listen to your class when you're not aware they're listening-- any time at all. They'll hear the "real you."

    I once had the AP-- at that point, it was a math teacher-- walk by my room as I was starting to introduce logarithms. My door was open, so he stopped by the back door to listen. After a while, I guess his feet got tired, because he pulled up a chair and stayed the whole period. He apparently enjoyed the class so much that he wrote it up as a formal observation. But all because he was intrigued by something he heard as he was passing by.
     

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