Other teacher told to observe ME

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.SLS, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Oct 9, 2013

    I was hired at my school along with three other teachers in my department. One of them is a first year teacher. We all are undergoing evaluations, but in my evaluation, the AP told me that she really liked my style, systems, etc and would like the first year teacher to learn from me and spend time in my classroom observing. I am flattered, but it also puts me in a weird place. The other teacher approached me today (assuming the AP told her to) and I could tell she felt badly about having to do so and it was kind of uncomfortable for both of us.

    I want to help her - I spent years in tough teaching environments so I have a whole load of tools that I use to keep my classroom running like a well oiled machine. I DON'T want to come off as a know-it-all or make her feel badly in any way.

    This situation is kind of weird because I'm not a veteran teacher at that school; We were hired at the same time. I'm only a few years older than she is. What can I do to make this a productive experience without making an enemy?
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Suggest that she observe the kids, not you. If you've ever heard of Lesson Study, make it almost like that. Have her observe exactly what the kids are doing, and later, you can touch base about what the kids did during the lesson.
     
  4. Melanie Therese

    Melanie Therese Rookie

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    Oct 9, 2013

    I think it might help if you told her some of the stories about the tough situations that inspired you to come up with the tools you're sharing with her. That will help convey that you may not be a veteran at this school, but you have more experience than she does at this point. It's also a great illustration of necessity being the mother of invention.

    I think the tone you take will have a lot to do with how the two of you get on. As long as you're not talking down to her she should get over feeling bad about the situation pretty quickly.

    Good luck! :)
     
  5. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    We are required to observe each other this year. It is not to figure out what is going wrong in my classroom, it is to find one thing in the other person's room I can use. That is what our principal wants us to do.
     
  6. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I was very happy when another teacher allowed me to observe her during my prep during my first year last year so that I could learn from her techniques. I liked it so much I ended up observing almost every other day, because the teacher was so good that I wanted to soak in as much observation time as I could. The best part about it was that the teacher was VERY welcoming and made it very clear that I was free to observe any time. Even if you were both hired at the same time, you have more experience than the first year teacher, so you are qualified to serve as a mentor for her.

    To get over any awkwardness, I would just pretend not to notice her awkwardness and assume a very welcoming attitude.

    I'm in a very sticky situation that seems similar to yours as well. There is a teacher who is a veteran teacher, and from all accounts I've heard, an amazing teacher for the High School level. It's her first time teaching middle school and she's struggling. We talk about it with each other because she is across the hall from me, and when we do I do my best to sympathize with her, because she is experiencing many of the things I felt in previous years, but at the same time trying to be very careful to keep into account her dignity because she's taught many more years than me, and she is much older.

    I think the trick is to remember that some things are best learned through experiencing it themselves, but you can hint and guide, or answer questions if directly asked.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    Oct 10, 2013

    I would love this. I never know what other teachers are doing unless it's something they put on their bulletin board or something. It's interesting to see what others come up with for the same topics you are covering.
    One time another teacher was told to observe me during our morning meeting. She said she didn't have time so she came one day after school and just asked what I did (I guess her morning meeting was chaos and mine was structured). She had been there 4 years and I had only been there a year so she seemed like she felt slighted a bit. This is also the teacher that can't handle certain students so they put them in my class and they are fine. :blush:
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 10, 2013

    I would have loved to have been able to do this when I was teaching. I think you learn so much more from other teachers, even if you only pick up on one thing you can use in your own classroom.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Her level of discomfort will be driven by your response. Welcome her into your classroom to observe. Let her know you are welcome to answer any questions and set some ground rules such as her being a silent observer and writing down questions and/or incidents she has questions about. If she has a sign she can give when she is wondering about something, it might also help you remember the situation when she asks about it.

    Be proud about the fact that the P likes your approach. If you have found it successful, be happy to share. It is not your concern that more veteran teachers weren't chosen or that you started at the same time at THAT school.
     
  10. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Tell her she's an adult and to grow the heck up. Seriously, we ask our kids to work together all the time and hold up their exemplary work, why wouldn't we do it with teachers?
     
  11. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    Haha I appreciate the sentiment but I doubt that would do anything to curb animosity :D

    Hopefully she can take it in the spirit in which it was intended.
     
  12. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Are you ok with this?

    I would be quite angry if I was forced to sit in someone else's room and watch them teach, especially if it was during my plan or more than a one time thing. And, I would not be angry because I was jealous of the teacher since they are being put on a pedestal of greatness, but angry because I would feel like I'm wasting my time.
     
  13. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    This. :thumb:
     
  14. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    How is watching other teachers a waste of time? Do sports players not watch countless hours of tape on their colleagues?
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I wish we had more opportunities to observe in other classrooms; I am always able to take something away. It's difficult to organize, but so beneficial to be able to collaborate in this way.
     
  16. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    I feel it would be a waste of my time. I don't want to watch my colleagues to learn from them, especially if I have to give up my plan to do it.

    I'm not a professional athlete. If I were, I might think differently.
     
  17. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Oct 11, 2013

    Agree. A similar program, Collegial Observation of Peers (COOP), uses data collection instruments which are objective and focus on what students are doing minute by minute while the teacher is directing. Different parts of a class period can be used for observation and data collection - entering and bell work for example. When finished, observer and observee have hard data to discuss (if they wish) versus notes which are often subjective, too general or seem like an evaluation. I can email a data collection form, Engagement Rate, if you like.
     
  18. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    It sounds like you might not be a professional anything.

    Any venom you may perceive is intended.
     
  19. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I disagree. She needs to observe both the teacher and the students. I went on the assumption that she would be observing the entire environment and how the interactions occur.
     
  20. jlj

    jlj Devotee

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    Oct 12, 2013

    sls- I see you teach high school. Would you please share some of your "tools" for a "well oiled classroom" that could also work with K and 1st grades? I have a challenging K/1st grade combo class and could really use some advice. Thanks!
     
  21. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I would love to sit in another teacher's classroom to learn tricks from them! I wouldn't want to sit through the whole class, probably just 20-30 min or so is enough. It doesn't have to be awkward. We all can always learn new things to try, even if you already have a well-oiled machine :)
     
  22. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    That's fair. Even though you do not know me, you do have a right to have your own opinion of me.

    No venom intended on my part.
     
  23. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Peer observations are a part of the state's new teacher evaluation system.

    I feel very uncomfortable being observed by peers as it's natural for us to think of what we would do if in the teacher's position. Meaning, if I handle a misbehavior a certain way, a peer observer is bound to at least have it run through his or her head, even if not in a judgmental manner, Hmm, I would have done x, y, z. I do this when observing others. It all just makes me a bit nervous even though I know I do a good job.

    THAT SAID, I do think it can be very beneficial to observe one another. No doubt, there is something to take away from every observation—whether it be something to incorporate in your class or avoid.

    As to the OP and her situation, just be nice. Be relaxed and casual about it. Don't try to teach her anything while she's there...you just do your thing and she'll pick up on the good stuff. :)
     
  24. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    But given the fact that this is obviously an uncomfortable situation, trying to do something to lesson the discomfort would be well advised. Taking emphasis from observing the teacher to observing the students would certainly help make an awkward situation less awkward.
     
  25. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I think mentioning observation of students is just a way to make the visiting teacher more comfortable. It's a way for the observed teacher to convey that she doesn't feel "perfect and special" just because the principal requested this opportunity. Of course the visiting teacher will be observing it all—how could she not? Again, I think it was suggested mainly as a way to bring comfort to the situation.
     
  26. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm a peer coach. I'm invited into other teachers classrooms in both my and other districts. I'm there to support them, but I always come away learning something from watching someone else teach. It's never a waste of time, but like most things in life...a positive mindset is key.
     
  27. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Venom? Really? Keep your fangs to yourself, unless you LIKE looking like an asp.
     
  28. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I have to giggle. We have a thread going about a girl that only wears "inappropriate" tight leggings and there are quite a few posts that say this girl just has to get over it.

    Now, this posts pertains to a teacher that is new and we have to tiptoe around her feelings to so she doesn't feel uncomfortable about having to observe another teacher.

    If your boss wants you to observe another teacher, there is nothing bad about that. It is called learning. Time for teacher to put on her big girl panties.

    Why not have a frank conversation with the other teacher and let her know that teaching requires always improving and one way to do so is to observe another that is doing something that is working well. It gives other options for the teacher toolbox.
     
  29. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Of course, I'm not one of the "just get over it" folks in that topic.

    You're asking one professional to go watch another new professional, presumably because the one isn't "up to snuff." That's going to rustle some feathers, and if you're the observee, it's only human to try to soften the blow. Let administration be the ones having frank conversations. That's their job. It's not the job of a first-year teacher who is essentially having a colleague foisted on them.

    EDIT: First-year in a new job, that is.
     
  30. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I guess I am confused about the problem because apparently the AP has spoken with both of them. Now it is just a personal problem with each of them dealing with their own insecurities.

    I don't think an admin or teacher should change the intended focus just to stroke their egos.
     
  31. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    And I don't think a teacher in their first year in a new job should have to go through an extremely uncomfortable situation with a colleague if there's a way to accomplish the exact same goal in a friendlier way.
     
  32. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Being kind is rarely a bad idea.
     
  33. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    While you are completely in the right to have your own opinion, I can't imagine many other professions where we would have to tiptoe around a professional having to learn something new from another in the profession in a friendlier way so not to make them feel uncomfortable. Even suggesting that we have to tiptoe around working adults to protect their feelings is in my opinion, ridiculous. It isn't as if the AP asked this teacher to do something abhorrent like demonstrate poor quality teaching to others to show them what NOT to do. All she was asked to do is observe a classroom and teacher that is doing things the way he believes would be beneficial to the student and to the school. If employees are so thin-skinned that they can't handle even minimal discomfort, there is a major problem.
     
  34. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    It's not a thin-skin issue. Any person on earth would find this situation particularly awkward, and the fact that administration is expecting teachers to work this out between themselves just makes it worse. If administration wants an observation like this to happen, THEY should be the ones facilitating it. They are the ones getting paid for things like this. Not a brand new teacher, not a teacher in their first year at a job. It would be different if the teacher in question were a mentor, or a department chair, or another type of official leadership position, but it's not.
     
  35. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Admin did facilitate. He told both of them to make it happen. Are you saying they aren't professional enough to look at their schedules and determine what time would work well for them?

    I couldn't imagine idea that feelings must be protected happening in any other "profession" especially when all that is being asked is to observe another and learn from them. Thank goodness that medical interns and residents are so darn thin-skinned.
     
  36. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Hehe...sorry, this just struck me as very cleverly humorous. :)
     
  37. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    I think peer observations are a huge benefit to everyone (observer and observee) and IMO should be required more often. I've learned more little tricks and ideas from my fellow teachers than every single education course combined.

    This year my school is requiring each teacher to perform 20=30 min peer observations throughout the year and 2 have to be in a different content area. I think it's brilliant. I once observed a Chemistry lesson and was shocked at the things I was able to pick up for my US History teaching. :)
     
  38. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I'm not sure how this topic turned into something offensive.

    I have no problem demonstrating my lessons. I just know that as a first year teacher, I would have felt like crap if someone had told me "hey, you're not doing well and this other new girl is. Go watch her and do the things she is doing." It would be different, as someone said, if I were in any sort of position of leadership, had seniority, or anything like that. Instead, it's more of a "she is better than you" scenario, which makes it awkward.
     
  39. Ted

    Ted Habitué

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    Hehe, stick around. At times threads about cute puppies could turn into animal rights vs. furrier sagas! ;)
     
  40. dave1mo

    dave1mo Comrade

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    Not wanting to "waste time" improving as an educator and professional shares an awful lot of information about you as a teacher.
     

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