Opportunities to Observe

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms. I, Feb 17, 2012.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Before you became a teacher, how often did you have the opportunities to observe veteran teachers?

    Sure, we have to do student teaching (in which often then, we're running around helping out), but OTHER THAN THAT, how often did you get to do some quality observing, meaning purely sitting, taking notes, maybe even audio recording, etc. for either a whole school day or even 2-3 hrs?

    Back when I was in college & a new special ed teacher, I didn't get the chance to observe too much if you don't count ST.

    (Fast forward to nowadays.) There's about 3 1/2 mos left of my 1st yr in my new (non-teaching) position. I observed a colleague today & 1 last month (I set up the observations myself...this isn't something my boss proposed). My schedule's pretty light this yr, so I'm going to set up more before the yr's over!
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It was a long time ago. To be totally honest, I don't remember doing a whole lot of it.
     
  4. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    What I enjoy about the career field I'm in now is that I don't have to abide by or be limited to state guidelines/curriculum/rules of what's SUPPOSED to be taught in such & such grade level. So, the creativity of activities & lessons is endless in which I'm getting some great ideas & resources.
     
  5. silverspoon65

    silverspoon65 Enthusiast

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    We had to observe for every education class I took - I think something like 20 hours x 3 classes, plus when I did my practicum, I had to observe my cooperating teacher for maybe 30 hours the semester BEFORE student teaching.

    I have had a few student observers from the local school now, and they have to observe all day every Tuesday and Thursday for a whole semester, plus complete certain tasks like create and teach a lesson.

    I would never say you could have TOO MANY hours observing, but I think both my university and the one near me now make sure new teachers get plenty of time in classrooms.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I don't remember doing any observing outside of any time I spent observing during my student teaching blocks. I wish that now I had time to visit other classrooms and schools to observe; I learn so much more when I see things in action.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    MrsC, I totally agree! Actually you bring up a good point. It would be nice that even teachers teaching for years could have a chance to observe others just to see how they do things. But, I realize schools don't have the time/money (for subs to fill in while observations are going) for that.

    silverspoon65, wow, I wish I had that many opportunities to have observed in the past. That's why I'm going to try to do it a lot more THIS time around! I love getting all these new ideas & perspectives.
     
  8. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Actually, back to what MrsC made me think of, if a teacher really wanted to observe, they could perhaps in the summer, observe someone who's on a year-round schedule. Therefore, the observer isn't taking off & having to get a substitute.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I volunteered A LOT in my kids' schools while I was going to grad school. As a grad student we were required in several classes to observe in classrooms. In my school, we are encouraged to observe colleagues. I also host college students who need field observation hours.
     
  10. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I'm in my 20s and still in college (I took an indirect route so I'm a few years behind my peers). In the first two years of a four year program, I've done about 60ish hours of required observations for various classes. I have more observations as well as student teaching coming up. There's no such thing as an "education" degree in California, so it's liberal studies. Most of my classes have not been education-related, just a few. One one hand, I wish we had more opportunities for observation. On the other, it's really hard to make time for if you work and go to school like I do. Most of us make sure we get into schools in others ways; I've done quite a bit of volunteering and observing on my own. This semester, I have one math class that requires you to go into a class and teach a lesson that you designed. They don't connect you with any schools, so it's hard to convince anyone to let you do it! I'm hoping I can quickly make some connections at work and find teachers that would be willing to have me. I'll have to check with my supervisor and make sure it's okay though, I kind of feel weird about being at my workplace for non-work purposes.
     
  11. Peachyness

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    I graduated in 2005. At the university I attended, observing other teachers was a big deal. We had to observe around 20 hours in each of the education classes that we had to take. I believe I took at least 6 where we had to observe other teachers. Many were in the schools in our town, and others we had to drive up to an hour to observe on a weekly basis.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Besides student teaching, we had between twelve and twenty-four required hours in many education courses. I have noticed that since graduating, they are now requiring more and sooner, which I think is a great idea.
     
  13. ciounoi

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    In my teacher cert program, I had maybe 5-10 hours of required observation of teachers throughout my two years, almost all as part of class projects. I pre-student taught for 25 days (did some observation with that) and student taught for a semester (little to no observation before jumping in). I was pretty unsatisfied with the amount of exposure my university gave me to the teaching profession - I think a lot more observation and teaching experiences should be required. I considered my years of substituting and my non-required reading of education books to be my saving grace.
     
  14. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I had to do two weeks of observing prior to doing student teaching (i.e. not in the same class).

    Depending on my job (I've been in a different job every single year, sometimes multiple jobs in one year)... sometimes I will be encouraged to observe another teacher. At my current school, short observations are required, and are expected to be done on preps. It's not a big deal, as you have to do maybe one a month, for 10-15 minutes.
     
  15. TeacherNY

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    We had to do 10 weeks of observation the semester before student teaching (not the same classroom). I would have loved to do this when I got my 2nd certification while getting my masters years later but I worked full time so it wasn't possible and the school didn't help set anything up.
     
  16. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Probably about 30 hours a year my sophomore & junior year.

    I still do it now as a teacher! We just had a "labsite" in my classroom today. The writing coach taught the lesson, myself, my co-teacher, 3 other 4th grade teachers, 2 other coaches and 4 administrators observed an hour long lesson. We've done this at least 2 other times this year and have another planned for after break.
     
  17. Myrisophilist

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    My education program required a 40-hour self-initiated field experience on our own time (usually during a school break) that required a formal report at the end. Ed Psych class required 10 hours for a project. A required 400 level class necessitated a minimum of 60 hours. The next (and final) field experience I will have to complete is student teaching.
     
  18. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    We were in classrooms doing observations and "clinical" hours as early as spring semester of our freshman year. I don't remember the hour requirements, but they were pretty intensive, and you had to complete them before you could get into any upper division education classes.
     
  19. Emily Bronte

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    This was incredibly important in my university program. We needed 200 hours for licensure. Those hours did not include student teaching hours.
     
  20. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    1) Engagement Rate - shows what students are doing while the teacher is teaching
    2) Questioning Strategies - types of questions teacher asks
    3) Who Gets Called On - shows which students get called on and how often
    4) Teacher Movement - shows where and when the teacher moves during lesson
    5) Think Time - tallies wait time between asking question and calling on student

    These are some of the observation data collection instruments a school used during a program, Collegial Observation of Peers (COOP). Teachers teamed cross grade level - first with sixth etc. - and took turns (after training) observing each other every two weeks for about 30-40 minutes. These were not formal observations. The principal taught the class of the observer. No subs. Unfortunately the program was funded for one year.

    Not sure if this fits but I remember being filmed and recorded my first year teaching by my mentor. One can talk about dos and don'ts all day long but when you see yourself a dose of reality sets in. I especially liked all the silly mannerisms in graphic form ... Did I just stick my finger in my ear?
     
  21. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Sooner is definitely better! I took classes with several people who realized that teaching is not for them after doing observations. They were lucky that it was early enough in their education to switch to something else.
     
  22. 2ndTimeAround

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    Well, I really researched it before I went to school to get my license. I subbed for several years so i could see if it was something for me. I volunteered for several years too. So I saw plenty ahead of time.

    What the university set up was ten hours of observation before I started my internship.
     
  23. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    At my school, if you even thought you wanted to be a teacher you had to take a Human Dev. class which also included a lab which was us going to visit a school.

    For each of our methods classes we had to go out into the schools, we did both a lower el & an upper el assignment. I think each was 8 weeks long. If I remember right, we were in the schools 2 days a week and then taught the last week.

    I remember seeing a couple of student teachers from another school that were in the same building as I was. It was their first time in the schools & they hated it!
     
  24. vivalavida

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    Feb 19, 2012

    I am currently in college, preparing to start a credential program in a couple of years. One of the admission requirements is 60 practicum hours, which basically consists of observation and "teaching-assistant" responsibilities. Although 60 hours are required, 80-100 are recommended. I have done about 50 hours and plan to do a good chunk more. I think it's a great opportunity to ensure that I'm interested in this grade level and subject before committing myself to the cred program. I definitely think observation hours should be required for anyone interested in going into teaching!
     
  25. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I graduated in 1993, so I'm not sure how many hours I spent in classrooms before student teaching, but I did have three classes that required time in a classroom. In one class, I had to do lessons and projects with students but the other two classes required observations and papers on what I observed.
     
  26. PCdiva

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    NYS requires 120 hours of observation prior to student teaching....the way my school set it up we did 10 hours anyway we wanted and then 35 hours in 3 separate classrooms- 1 day per week for 10 weeks (not in the whole semester). While doing it, it seemed like a lot, but I feel it was great to prepare us for student teaching.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Good for you, Ms I! Are you observing in your role as a SLP or for other purposes? I've asked our speech pathologist to come into my classroom on occasion to informally observe students who seem to be having some difficulties with receptive or expressive language.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My college wanted us to observe quite a bit. I did 9 different "practicums" in addition to full time student teaching and at all of those I was supposed to observe for a few days (I was only there about 2 hours a day,so it wasn't just sitting there all day) before "jumping in." I had a really hard time with this because literally every CT I had was upset that I/we (sometimes in our earlier classes we had partners) were "just sitting there" at the beginning. Even though observation was outlined in our packet given to them by the university, they all acted as if I/we were just being lazy and weren't that interested in teaching. My CT for my full time special ed ST almost never got over this- in my evaluations she gave me good scores but kept saying she was surprised how I'd "stepped up" since she was so worried when I "just sat there" the first couple of days. I also had specific observation assignments from my university that I wouldn't have been able to complete had I not just been observing. I am a very reflective person and I can learn a lot by watching and taking things in, so I am disappointed that some teachers don't seem to understand this. Something to keep in mind for anyone that is getting a ST!
     
  29. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I'm observing my fellow SLP colleagues working w/ theier groups of kids to get activity ideas in the 2 aspects that SLPs work w/ kids: Articulation & language. I've bought a nice little array of acitivities so far. Yes, I WANT to use my own money because I want to have these items for myself.
     
  30. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    That's awesome! I always learn something new I can use when I observe another educator!
     

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