New Teacher... already being observed!!

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by jedipwnces, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. jedipwnces

    jedipwnces Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2009

    I'm a middle school special education math teacher (I have Fundamentals of 6th math, fund. of 8th math, and modified academics math... it's a lot of preps!!) and Tuesday will be the first day of the third week of school...

    And already, I've been notified that someone is coming to observe me. I'm a little freaked out.

    It's a woman from my alternative certification program, so unlike with district observations, I'm not sure what to expect.

    I feel like I'm more or less flying by the seat of my pants, despite spending hours and hours trying to prepare for all my classes. And no one else is teaching the same classes I am, so there isn't a whole lot of borrowing or team-planning I can do, either. We have a great special ed team on campus, but as far as what I'm covering in my classes and how I'm doing it, it's just me, the district curriculum expectations, and my minimal understanding of what my kids can and cannot do.

    We have a routine warm-up, and they have a learning goal they need to write every day in their agendas. We have a school wide discipline program, too, so that helps. But I feel like I'm going to bomb. I'm super nervous and more or less sure I'm going to be fired before October. (Not really... it's rare that people are fired, but I'm one of those who thought getting a low B on a test was a failure, so you know...)

    Anyway, anyone have any first-observation advice?
    :dizzy:

    Holly in Texas
     
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  3. krysmorgsu

    krysmorgsu Cohort

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I don't know about alternative program observations, but I'm sure they'll go easy on you this first time. Any observer worth their salt knows that you are new, and therefore cannot be expected to give a perfect lesson. Even veterans have days when the class or lesson doesn't go as well as they expected! Don't fret - just make sure that you listen to and follow any recommendations they have as much as you can. Let them know that you are flexible, and willing to take constructive criticism. I was observed last year unannounced by my supervisor the second week of school - for my first period! She's normally great, but she had thought she had mentioned it to me (she had given notice to everyone else she was observing that day), but she hadn't. She was very kind, offered some suggestions, and told me she understood that I was nervous.

    As far as constructive advice...check to make sure you do all you should in your school. Make sure you have a lesson plan for the observer, and try to have 3 or 4 different activities for the period. If the school likes to see objectives on the board, have them up. Do your warm-up: remember, it should build on prior knowledge, preview what's to come, and include as many students as possible. I'd also have a closure ready - an exit ticket, having a student describe what they learned that day, a 1 minute discussion with students of what was learned and did you achieve the goals for the day, etc.
     
  4. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I went through Region 10 and my observer was wonderful. She was on my side and gave me great pointers and was very encouraging.

    Make sure you have the kids engaged.
     
  5. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Agree with other posters...the good thing about it being an observer from your program is that they really have no other motivation other than to help you improve and offer suggestions. They are making no decision about whether you stay hired...they are just trying to make sure you are learning and implementing ideas correctly. So, do the best you can, listen to any constructive feedback, don't get defensive, and try to take it in a positive light...I know I was always nervous about being observed by my school observers but he was always really positive, had great suggestions, and helped make me a better teacher.

    Good luck!!
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 6, 2009

    New teachers in my building are observed weekly for the first month.

    Not to give them a hard time, but to cut off any problems before they become big problems.
     
  7. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Sep 6, 2009

    I have a teacher who is coming in my class to help with a special needs student. I'm actually asking her for feedback on my lessons as a whole (not just in relation to the students). Official observations though can be a little nervy though especially if you aren't used to them.
     
  8. jedipwnces

    jedipwnces Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2009

    Thanks for the advice, guys. I am somewhat more relaxed about the whole thing, but still... the only person I've had in my room to observe so far was the department head (who is also our BRS), and she was there more to observe the kids than me. So... I'll get used to it, I'm sure! Hopefully the observer will have some constructive feedback for me. :)
     
  9. historygrrl

    historygrrl Rookie

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    Sep 6, 2009

    You sound like me. The anticipation is usually way worse than the actual event. Other posters have given great advice. As an alt cert graduate, I can understand the anxiety. Just be prepared, prepared, prepared.
     
  10. PaperbackWriter

    PaperbackWriter Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2009

    You are fortunate! My first year I had to practically beg to have anyone observe me. The principle was there once.

    I think it is crucial to be observed. Im learning so much from my school personnel in my class room. This is week 6 and Ive been observed 4 times. Usually people who observe have a lot of "game" in the teaching field. I consider my curriculum specialist the Micheal Jordan of teaching, and everytime she opens her mouth i take notes and implement suggestions.

    Krys also right about the importance of being flexible. When I was interviewed i was asked about taking criticism constructively...This is very important for beginning teachers

    Be confident in yourself and do your thing. Remember, In the beginners mind there are many possibilities....in the experts there are few
     
  11. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 9, 2009

    Honestly, the school I was at the last two years was WONDERFUL. I absolutely loved it. But if I was going to make one complaint, it's that I wished I had been observed more often, and given constructive criticism. I did my student teaching, so I was observed quite a bit, and they were very happy with me. I'm not worried that I'm a terrible teacher, but I know that I could be a better teacher.

    The other teachers at my current school are always talking about how uncomfortable it makes them to have our principal walking through the classrooms on a regular basis, unannounced... it doesn't bother me one bit.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Oct 9, 2009

    I agree, dfleming. I wish that our administrators were much more of a presence in our classrooms. The only way for them to know what is really happening, how I really teach and interact with my students, is to see me "in action".
     

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