observations

Discussion in 'General Education' started by otterpop, Dec 18, 2014.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Dec 18, 2014

    How often and for how long do you get observed? Do you meet with someone after, and how long does that take?
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2014

    In CA, first- and second-year teachers are observed three times throughout the year, with the last observation being before the deadline to renew or non-renew your contract (March 15, I think). You have to have a pre-conference before the observation and a post-conference after. In my experience, each observation is about 45 minutes.

    At my last school, we met for the post-conference within a day of the observation. My current district is using a new "improved" evaluation tool that is over six pages long and in my opinion is extremely unwieldy. I was observed the first week of November and still haven't heard back from my observer (a VP), despite my checking in to make sure I hadn't missed something, and I am DYING to get the results!

    I saw my VP right after the observation and he informally said I did a good job and commented on how I handled a difficult student well. But I am still on pins and needles to get the official feedback! I keep telling myself that no news is good news and that if they were concerned, I would have heard by now. But the fact remains that the results of these observations are directly tied to whether or not I will have a job in this district next year, and I want to keep my job!

    I think every state and even district is slightly different, and it might not be as high-stakes where you are, so I hope this post doesn't add to your stress. Here in CA, though, everything is laid out in Ed Code and it's a lot of pressure on new teachers (IMO).
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    No, actually, that sounds fairly reasonable. We get observed an absurd amount (way more than what the state / district requires). The several unannounced observations aren't just quick walk-throughs, either, but actual hour long observations where your work is dissected and scrutinized each time. Then we meet to discuss during hours out of contract time. Just wondering what is normal in other schools.
     
  5. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    In Texas, or at least in the two district I have been in they both had their own policies about observations. My first district the first three years you were there you got observed twice a year. After that I think it was once a year for another 3 and then after that you went on a rotating schedule of every other year. The district I am in now is once a year for everyone. Now when I first came here my principal rarely stepped into my classroom after that. The principal we have now does spend quite a bit of time in new teachers classrooms. Even when I changed grade levels she came a few more times than just for my observation. This year she hasn't been in but once or twice and they weren't to observe.
     
  6. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    Our evaluations are 13 pages long, and it is ridiculous. As I understand it, most administrators see evaluations as meaningless paperwork, so they just do it, file it, and forget about it. I've been observed way less than the state requires, but I have no complaints.
     
  7. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Dec 18, 2014

    Two informal about 10 minutes and one formal for a full period. We pre-conference before the formal. We get the results almost immediately.

    This is per semester by the way.
     
  8. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2014

    There are 2 formal observations and they each last as long as Admin wants to stay. I've had Admin arrive late and some leave early - it all depends.

    It takes at least 2 weeks to get a Post-observation Conference; sometimes this is an actual conversation and other times, I just sign it and leave because I have nothing to say even if I don't agree with the observation.
     
  9. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Dec 18, 2014

    It's the same way at our school, but I was observed only twice last year and it'll be the same this year. Once in the fall, and once in the spring. My P made copies of her notes (she wrote down everything was said or done by me or the students) and gave them to me the same day or the next day. Then we met a few days later.
    The form is just one page, it's fairly straight forward.

    We didn't have a pre-conference, I just had to choose 6 goals for this year (one from each category) and then choose I think just one for the observation.
     
  10. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Dec 18, 2014

    I'd guess I'll probably be observed around 10-12 times this year for an hour each.

    So many thoughts on that... one being, who has time for that?!
     
  11. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Dec 18, 2014

    Seriously! That is a huge amount of time spent in your room! I would not be thrilled about that. How on earth are they going to have the time to give you meaningful feedback on all those class hours?
     
  12. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    That's my issue. The P wants about an hour meeting after each of those, and expects for them to be outside of contract hours, which is totally not okay.
     
  13. CatfaceMeowmers

    CatfaceMeowmers Companion

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    In Arkansas at the school that I student taught at, the teachers were observed constantly, at least once a month. But these were short observations, administrator comes in silently, sits down, types for about 15 minutes, then leaves. The information that they type is instantly emailed to the teacher. From what I've heard from the teachers, they are upset because the admins don't tell them what they are looking for - but isn't that part of an observation? Shouldn't you be doing what you're suppose to be doing all the time?

    Other than that, I never saw my teacher meet with the administrators concerning the observations, except through email or at the faculty meetings.
     
  14. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    P or AP comes in, gets laptop out, stares at me quizzically, i look over her head, she walks around the room looking at student work, types some comments and leaves.
    Worst one I had was when the projector wouldn't work (bulb burned out) Students started talking while I was fiddling with it, frantically pressing buttons. Could not get them back on track. Principal only stayed 15 minutes. She did nothing to get them quiet.

    She was moved to another school 2 weeks later, so I never had the post conference. Still got a 'U' though. :eek:
     
  15. Froreal3

    Froreal3 Companion

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    Dec 20, 2014

    We have a choice of between 3 - 6 observations depending on what your level of experience is and how "effective" you are. Observations may be informal or formal. Informal are at least 15 minutes and formal are an entire period.
     
  16. blake

    blake Rookie

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    I'm at a middle school in Texas and we have one walkthrough (15 minutes) and one formal observation (45 minutes) per year. I had a pre-conference with my appraiser before the formal observation. I did not have a post conference as those are only required if you were marked "below expectations" in any area. I had my walkthrough in September and my formal observation in October so I'm done for the year. This is protocol for teachers that are in their 2nd + year. First year teachers have the same thing I mentioned above by school admin, but also have 5 walkthroughs from a district admin that focuses on new teacher development.
     
  17. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 29, 2014

    We have a few different options we can select at the beginning of the year. Most people select 3 informals and 1 informal. You have to meet before and after with the AP for a formal. Usually you meet after an informal with the AP too, but not always. This year he has a lot on his plate so he has just been giving the evaluations to the more experienced teachers afterwards. The informal is about 45 minutes each. Last year he observed us in reading, then math then writing. The formal is 90 minutes. It came around this time of year after the reading informal, it was in reading. My school does it this way for everyone, but it's not required to do those specific subjects.
     
  18. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Formal observations are twice a year, every three years. On your "off" years, you get informal observations. There is no set number of informal observations as the P decides, and it's a different number for everybody. If you are effective, it's minimal. If you're not, he lives in your room.
     
  19. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Dec 29, 2014

    2 formal observations during the year. Usually meet within a month afterwards.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    It was not her responsibility to get your kids in order when she is there for an observation. She is looking to see how you handle the class when something odd happens. I think the "U" may have been because you spent too much time fiddling with buttons while your class amused themselves.

    A word of advice to other teachers, always have a plan B in place that you can transition to immediately if your lesson is interrupted. Especially when technology is involved!
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    We have 2 hour long formal observations. Both are announced. This is the first school I've worked in that doesn't do unannounced formal observations. We meet during contract hours for about 30 minutes before for a pre-conference and 30 minutes after for a post-conference. Although these are during contract hours, they're obviously during times that would normally be "free" for the teacher- like planning, lunch, or right before/after school. My P doesn't really do walkthroughs either. This is my 2nd year there and I had one walkthrough at the beginning of last year. I kind of wish she would do them because it can give a more accurate picture of what the teacher is doing day to day. I've already done one observation this year my kids were just having a really off day- I had to stop and reexplain many things that are daily routines and the kids were overall just not reading well, after I'd just told her that this group has made so much progress. My scores were lower than normal. I don't think I'm in any danger of getting non-renewed or anything but I do wish my P would be in my classroom more often so that she would have known what it's normally like.
     
  22. DressageLady

    DressageLady Comrade

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    Dec 30, 2014

    I just finished my first round of observations. I opted for three observations, about thirty minutes each, spread out over various days. I was not given notice before any of the observations, although I had a general idea that they would occur over a specific four week block of time.

    My P took notes, writing down everything that was said and done by me and my kids. She included some feedback on what she had seen and e-mailed everything to me immediately.

    I was pushed out of shape initially after the first observation. I felt it was unfair of her to view a certain routine in my room as lacking, when she had no idea why I was doing it the way I was doing it. In her notes she had offered to share some tips with me, but had never followed through on that offer.

    But before I could really get going on being offended by it, she actually came by my room after school and sat down with me and we talked about it. I explained my reasoning, she explained her reasoning and I agreed to try some variations to the routine. And she was right. After trying some different things, I noticed a huge improvement in participation.

    After all my fall observations were over, we met for an hour and debriefed. I had self-evaluated and we compared that to her evaluation using the same form. I fared a lot better on her evaluation than I did on mine. I had no areas of unsatisfactory, and I was even moving from basic to proficient in a couple of areas according to her, which is not bad for a first year teacher with a very difficult class.

    I left the process feeling that it was useful and that I was able to grow as a teacher because of it. I did not feel like there was any attempt to make it into a "Gotcha" type thing. I am looking forward to the spring, and having her observe that routine and compare it to the fall.
    Sheilah
     
  23. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    I don't really know how observations are done in my school. It's my 2nd year. At the beginning of the year, all teachers received a sheet stating we would be observed at least twice this year. I haven't had any formal observations in my almost 2-year career. I expect that, if I am hired back for a 3rd year, they will hold more observations, :lol:
     
  24. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Dec 30, 2014

    I got observed about 4 times each year for my first and second years. After I was hired as a permanent, apparently there is this thing in the contract that says we only get observed every other year. So I haven't been observed at all this year.

    I don't think I like that. I feel like the Principal and the AP are left in the dark as to my teaching ability and are slightly untrustworthy. I got great comments my first and second year from both of them, but I'm afraid they'll think I got lazy or something. I'd rather they come in and check things out and see that I'm doing pretty well.

    That said they do pop in every now and then, but it's usually during a pretty boring segment in my lesson. I do have a lot of exciting points in my lesson, but I keep them brief, and then we spend the rest of the time analyzing the exciting demo or lab. They usually miss the exciting part, so I think they might think I developed into a boring teacher. >_>
     
  25. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Connoisseur

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    A lot of my teaching ends up being lots and lots of practice with math. I solve the problem, then I do a few more, then lots of examples, then some book problems together, then book problems by yourself.... I believe math is best learned by quiet time spent working on problems. It's hard to concentrate when loud noises and talking....:lol:
     
  26. Luv2TeachInTX

    Luv2TeachInTX Comrade

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    Dec 30, 2014

    At my district we have one 45 minute formal observation and two walkthroughs (officially). Aside from that administration does pop in from time to time but not as an official, documented observation.
     
  27. kb90531

    kb90531 Rookie

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    That's crazy. In NJ, if your school is not under review by the state due to incompetency, there is a set amount and I doubt most schools go over because from what I can see no one has the time. We use the Danielson model through TeachScape and it is pagessss long. Non-tenured year 1 and 2 teachers are observed 3 times (2 long, 1 short). Non-tenured years 3 and 4 teachers are observed 3 times (2 short, 1 long). Tenured teachers are observed 3 times (3 short). Long is 45 minutes. Short is at least 15 minutes. My school struggles to get all of those done on time so more than that generally does not happen.
     
  28. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    It's not your administrator's role to manage behaviors during an observation. They want to see how YOU handle students.
     
  29. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I'm in a small private school this year. We don't have formal observations. My room is right next door to the P's office and she wanders in all the time to get things from the closet in my room. Teachers wander into each others rooms quite often to ask about things, talk to students, or whatever. We are really one big family so there really isn't a need for observations.
     
  30. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    In my district teachers are observed according to their evaluation score the previous year. Level 5 gets 2 for the year, level 4 gets 3 for the year, level 3 gets 4, levels 2 and 1 and new teachers get 5. So each year the number of observations can change. The P or VP usually observes for 30-45 minutes.
     

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