How often is your admin in your classroom?

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by Pisces_Fish, Aug 6, 2011.

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  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

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    Aug 6, 2011

    I hate being watched, even when I am doing something amazing with my class. It's gotten easier, but I simply don't care to be observed teaching.

    Anyway, at my first school my admin were in our rooms daily, sometimes more than once. It bothered me because they weren't walking around to see what the kids were learning; I felt like it was more about 'catching' teachers messing up, especially in Literacy, where we had a scripted program. All of us would get notes in our mailboxes saying something like, "I like how you _____ but I noticed you didn't ____..." The moral at my school was very low.

    At my current school my admin comes through once in awhile, totally relaxed, interacting with the kids, in and out in 5 or 10 minutes. It's sooooo much nicer to not feel watched! :)

    How often does the admin do a walk-through in your room?
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I feel the same way about "visitors." At my school I get a formal observation once a year but I am supposed to expect "walk throughs" more often. It doesn't usually happen - except when there's a principal intern working in the office. Everything is positive though.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My principal has only been in my room once--during my formal evaluation last year. Our new VP was in 4 or 5 times during May and June--just to "hang out and escape from the office". He sat down with the kids, talked to them about what they were doing and checked back in with them about their assignments. I love his approach!
     
  5. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    We have three unannounced walk-throughs from our evaluator each year. Additionally, every three years we have a full evaluation (pre-conference, observation, post-conference.)

    Non-tenured teachers have three walk-throughs per year as well as three full evaluations for the first four years teaching.

    These are just the evaluations that are written up. Our principal always pops into our classes for a few minutes. He also does "learning walks", in which he invites any teachers who wish to participate to observe classes with him. There's usually a focus (e.g. teachers' questioning techniques, differentiating instruction, etc.), and the group stays for about 10 minutes. These observations obviously aren't evaluative, though!
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My principal does a daily fly by. I don't feel like he's out for a gotcha...he's got a handle on what is going on in my classroom. There may be other teachers in my building who feel intimidated by the drop ins, but if you are doing your job and are confident in the program you are delivering, it isn't an issue in my school. I'm sure there are schools were it is a more adversarial situation...that's sad.
     
  7. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    My P will stop by every now and then. His visits are like "hanging out in the classroom" ... he talks to students, etc. It isn't intimidating at all. And, the students like it.
     
  8. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    For the past three years I've had two formal observations each year and maybe one or two walk-throughs each year. That's it. The other approximately 176 days of school admin hasn't as much as peeked in. I'll be at a new school this year (same district) and have no idea how often it will happen there.
     
  9. ami6880

    ami6880 Companion

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    Other than required observations, my principal was probably in my room 2-3 times this year. He will just show up and sit in the back and work...sometimes I think he is just hiding out :)
     
  10. mb_teacher

    mb_teacher Companion

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    As first year teachers in the school district, our principal will be in quite a few times. The super and asst super will also pop by. The principal will be there any amount of time - 2minutes or longer depending on her schedule. Sometimes, she'll sit by a student and ask them what they are learning.
    We will have 2 formal observations, but those we will know about.

    We will also have a "Learning Walk". The principal will find a sub to cover our class then take us to different classrooms to observe teachers. She will take us to observe things that maybe we're struggling in or things that maybe we want to improve on.

    I don't feel like she is out to catch us. She even said, "I'm going to walk in on horrible lessons, I'm going to walk in on great lessons. I know this and I understand. It's all in how you handle it."

    I had a year of student teaching and we had so many observations. I had a lot of observations at my old school as well.
    I guess I just find them common place. They don't really bug me, unless the lesson bombs.
     
  11. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    My P came into my room about 4 times last year. Two for my observations and the other two just to see what's going on. Oh, he came and read a story to my kids once too.

    The super came in twice last year. He came in and observed one lesson. I was reading a big book and used some WBT (teach/ok). I got a hand written note from him thanking me for my outstanding student engagement strategies!

    A teacher on my team was "struggling "so the super came into observe her almost weekly.
     
  12. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    At our school the walk-throughs do feel like an "out to catch you" type of situation for many of the teachers. The Principal rarely ever talks to the students when coming in. It is mostly to see if we are doing what we are suppose to when we are suppose to.
    The hard part is when you end up having a teachable moment and things get a little off track of what you are suppose to be doing. Also when you are having a more lighthearted activity going on and you are more relaxed with the students. Those are in small bursts, but when the P views them it is commented on as if that is all you do.
     
  13. soleil00

    soleil00 Comrade

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    I was told not to worry too much about my P visiting my room thanks to the hall I'm on (I share a hall with Pre-K). We seem to be the 'forgotten' hall so the P doesn't come down there as often as she does to the other halls!

    Our super never comes to our school, in fact I don't know that he ever leaves the admin building.. o_o
     
  14. mrsc_teaches

    mrsc_teaches Companion

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    I too hate to watched or observed for that matter. Most of the time when we get "feedback" it is not positive. My P carries around a marble notebook that she scribbles in, I WOULD LOVE to see what she writes in that book!

    I too feel like it is a we are trying to find something wrong. If I say the wrong sound...scribble...scribble in that book!

    I will say I do my job, I always get awesoem end of the year evals but I just hate the pressure of performing infront of an audience. I also dont like parents in my room.
     
  15. Catcherman22

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    Aug 6, 2011

    Mine drops by randomly, I'd say once a month ish.

    Not formal or anything.. in fact, the last time last year.. she heard the kids were doing trig proofs and, being a former math teacher who loved trig proofs, she dropped in, joined a group, and acted as a member of the group as they went through the process of proving an identity.

    The kids love to see her come in. I am not a fan of being watched, but she cares more about the kids learning than about my teaching.

    I've had formal observations from her, but that was before I reached tenure, now she drops in when she feels... and I don't mind it at all. She sometimes will offer advice on how to do something different, and as all math teachers know, it never hurts to have a different way to explain something.
     
  16. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    My #1 most hated thing to do as a teacher is talk to parents-- that's a panic attack and a half for me. My #2 thing is to be formally observed. (I sorta wish I was allowed to turn in a 10 page report on the class before I'm observed explaining why the person might see certain things in my room.)

    Anyways, I won't talk about my old school because it was horrible. :( They started changing what they were doing (we could pick who observed us and when) towards the time I was leaving the school (go figure), which I really liked but what they were doing before that was meaningless for me as an educator, unproductive for the students, and just paperwork for the principal.

    At the school I'm at now, the principal constantly walks in and will kindly speak to the students who love to share what we're learning. I know it's her checking up-- if the students can share something that really proves what THEY learned. And she'll pop in if we're doing an experiment and participate if she has time. I'm completely fine with that-- she sorta asks silly questions to make the kids feel like complete geniuses.

    My principal has to observe me twice a year for the first two years and once a year after that. We do a pre-observation meeting and a post-observation meeting. There's a formal write up to go over and then there's the "things said behind closed doors but not written up on the form" discussion. At least there was for me-- more of a seasoned teacher talking to a newbie teacher at the school. Her wisdom is always very much appreciated from me of course.

    My headmaster observes me once a year for the first two years. Same pre-meeting and post-meeting. We get along nicely because we both left the same school, so we tend to get off topic and discuss politics that took place at the school (we're both happier at this school). He noticed I was nervous during the time he was observing me and I told him well its the normal "I'm being observed" nervousness and he understood that, but I also told him the lesson was not a normal science lesson-- it was how to assess web-sites for research purposes. He said "Wow I didn't realize that so ya you really took a chance teaching something out of what is the norm for you." Very understanding and kind fellow.
     
  17. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    Our P does walk throughs every other week! I think they would be more often but she is in two buildings. They are very laid back. I have 2 formal observations every year (because I'm new to the district). We have a new superintendent who is known for coming into the classrooms as well...so we will see!
     
  18. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    My P always seemed to come in at the wrong time. One time we were playing musical chairs. There was pop music going on in the background, and I think she thought we were having a party because some kids who weren't participating were eating and checking their phones. I had to explain to her later in her office that it was a learning activity but she seemed skeptical.

    After that, she was in practically every other week, sometimes just staring through the door window. And one time she came in with a parent because her daughter told her she wasn't learning anything in my class.
     
  19. lilmisses1014

    lilmisses1014 Comrade

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    If you're not tenured you can expect 3 formal observations: 1 announced, the other 2 unannounced. I love my principal and the observations have always gone well, but I still get that nervous feeling in my stomach when he first walks in.

    Occasionally my P and AP will pop in for informal observations, but I think that only happened 2 or 3 times last year.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    How were kids allowed to eat or use their phones during a learning activity?
    There should be no 'wrong time' for an administrator to stop by. Even if it is a less structured center or snack time, the administrator should see you interacting with kids, behaviors being managed, kids who are early finishers engaged in some meaningful sponge activities. Transitions can be handled quickly and purposefully so little time is lost from one activity to another. It's perfectly ok for administrators to see how you manage these kinds of times as well...but again, the decisions you make regarding student behaviors and classroom management will be noticed.
     
  21. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I forgot to mention--I wish our administrators were in our classrooms more often, not for formal observations but so that they have a better feel of what goes on in classrooms daily. I've told mine that my door is always open (figuratively, if not literally) and I welcome them to drop in any time. I don't do anything differently for a formal evaluation than I do any other day, so I don't "sweat it".
     
  22. Mrs. Q

    Mrs. Q Cohort

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    I feel the same was as the OP. I *hate* being watched and do much, much worse when there's an adult in the room. My principal came in a few times last year to talk to me about unrelated things, and then I had an AP do a walk-through and my P did his evaluation. So really only twice all year.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    The great benefit of having admin visit your classroom frequently is that you soon stop feeling as though you are being 'watched'. You are able to carry on, sometimes forgetting that you aren't the only adult in the room.
     
  24. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    I like when admin walk in. I'm doing neat things and how will they ever know that if they don't stop by? The VP comes in every day and initials my lesson plans (without reading them) And the P comes in at least once a week and sits and watches and then comes by and helps students. I think she misses being in the classroom. I like both of them so that helps. If I didn't care for them, I'm sure it would bother me, too :)
     
  25. HistTchr

    HistTchr Habitué

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    In one of our old evaluation plans, administrators were supposed to observe every teacher twice per month (and fill out a walk-through form and observation report after that). After a year of this, they changed it to once per month. Then, a few years later, it was changed to 6x/year. Now we're at 3x/year. (These are just the minimum numbers, but I have rarely seen teachers get more than these unless they are also on a full evaluation plan.)
     
  26. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    I never mind being observed by someone I know will provide constructive comments--I love those. However, those admin never observed me more than once (or never formally). The principal talked a lot about never criticizing a student without a positive comment, but all we ever got were criticisms, even about very minor things. Very toxic and demoralizing climate. And no interaction with students: just stone faced, standing in the back of the room with a clip board. I ended up having severe panic attacks. If I think about it long enough, I could actually trigger one now--I can already feel my throat closing up.
     
  27. LiveNLearn

    LiveNLearn Comrade

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    I feel so lucky! My P came in 2 times a week to teach a lesson. The kids loved it! The stress was lessened when I had a formal observation since she just sat and typed what was going on for about an hour.

    My old P never came in and didn't know any kids' names. It was terrible.
     
  28. Joy

    Joy Cohort

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    As a substitute teacher, I've gotten very used to teaching in front of lots of different people. I have had some weird situations though. I subbed in an elementary music room once and a lady came in the with class that I was teaching. She sat on a chair in the room with a stack of papers. I thought that she was a one-on-one associate for one of the kids (It seems like there is always one in every class). I realized later that she was the assistant principal. She sat in there for quite awhile. I have no idea of what she was wanting. I don't mind them being there but I think that they should at least introduce themselves.
     
  29. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Once or twice a year, depending on where we are in the observation cycle. But, now they are changing how observations are done in our state, so that will likely change this year.
     
  30. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Every day. He has ADHD and can't sit still in his office. The problem is that he can't just come in and observe and be quiet. He always has to say something to the kids and then I have to rope them back in after he's gone.
     
  31. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    1 formal observation every 3 years and a few informal walk throughs a year, but they do pop in now and then to see what is going on, but it is more about getting to know the kids and connecting them to older brothers/sisters and that kind of thing. They are generally really positive and have good feedback, but I know that isn't always the case and it seems more negative in scripted classes.
     
  32. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Our P makes a point to come in to everyone's classroom at least once every two weeks to observe at least part of a lesson. I didn't mind. We have a really great relationship and she was always very positive- in fact having her come in always made me feel good about my teaching! She would leave me a note or wait until the lesson was over and talk to me about it. We had a building wide goal of having clear learning targets/criteria for success for students this year, so she would also often ask students what they were learning and how they knew if they were doing a good job. I actually like that she comes in so much, partly because she is so positive as I mentioned earlier, but also because I feel like she reallly knows what is going on in my classroom and what type of teacher I am. So if she happens to catch me on a really off day or I try a lesson that just flops, she knows that's not typical because she's seen me teach so many times. It takes a lot of the pressure off for those "formal" evaluations because I know she already knows me as a teacher, and isn't going to nitpick some little thing that she knows doesn't usually happen in my class.
     
  33. outsidethelines

    outsidethelines Companion

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    My first year, my principal was in my room at least once a day because she hand-delivered our attendance reports to every teacher. Not placed it in our mailbox, she would walk in every room and either place it on the desk or hand it directly to the teacher. Sometimes she would stay for a bit, depending on what was going on.

    Last year, my 2nd year, she switched to emailing the reports, but would still drop in occasionally. In addition to my 3 formal evaluations, I had a couple of unannounced observations by both her and the AP.

    Next year, because of the state evaluation changes, I will have 3 formal evaluations and 3 unannounced.
     
  34. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

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    I'm going into my First Year as a Principal at new school. After 2 years as an AP and 5 or 6 years as a Department Chair. I dropped in on my teachers frequently, often just to sit in-class and watch what they are doing. I plan on doing this at my school as much as I can. Since, this school is a little over half the size of my old school it shouldn't pose a problem.
     
  35. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    We were the first 1:1 computer campus in our district, and we are a small school, so we get visitors ALL the time. Many come from districts across the state and nation who want to see how a 1:1 environment looks and works. We've all gotten used to it; even the kids. When someone comes in, I don't just ignore them or keep teaching. I involve them, ask them questions, get the kids to ask them questions, etc.

    If I'm being officially observed for review, then I still include the principal or ap in the activity, but then I back off and let them watch. It doesn't stress me, and I honestly look for feedback. As a matter of fact, if I've got a lesson that just doesn't seem to be getting the results I want, I'll invite my principal or AP in and ask them to help me pinpoint what's not working. That's their job, after all. On my current campus, I've only asked them to do that once, but I got some great feedback, and I think it helped build a trusting relationship with the administration.
     
  36. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Sometimes I think my P visits because he's bored. He comes in about every 2 weeks on average. Towards the end of the year he started coming in more and there were a couple of times that he came in multiple times in a day. He never says anything good or bad about what I'm doing which I find annoying. I've been very tempted a few times to say "Is there a purpose to your visit or are you just bored?"
     
  37. Drama Teach

    Drama Teach Rookie

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    I had two formal observations last year. I had one official walk through and then my AP was by maybe twice. They tend to spend more time in testing subjects.
     
  38. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    I would not mind a Principal coming into classrooms more frequently if they had a positive attitude about it and did not act like they were looking for something to be wrong. In 5 minute bursts things will happen and be said that are not always a representation of a teaching day, but not everyone takes that into account.
     
  39. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    My principal didn't enter my room at all last year unless it was to fetch a student. In which case he usually waited outside for the kid to come out. My AP observed once, for my formal evaluation. That was all... they never randomly popped into classrooms, and no observations were unplanned. Only the new teachers seemed to get observed even more than once.

    That said, I wouldn't mind if they came more often. We will have a new AP this year, and he said that he plans to be in classrooms more. So we'll see...
     
  40. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    At my first school, I was supposed to be observed three times, but it only happened two. For the third one, she just filled out the evaluation form and had me sign it. At the school I'm at now, the former P never did an formal evaluation. He'd pop his head in every once in a while or stand at the door when I didn't know it. For the formal ones, he would just fill out the eval sheet and have me sign it. Now, our new P will definately be coming in for our evaluations. It's going to/already is, making me VERY nervous! I'm really okay with spontaneous kind of checks, but the sit down watch a lesson thing is really starting to freak me out!

    Beth
     
  41. The Fonz

    The Fonz Math teacher (for now...)

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    Very, very rarely....he does his 1 unannounced visit and 1 scheduled visit each year and that's it....i assume i am doing my job correctly since he doesn't find the need to do more unannounced visits! :)
     
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