Principal Observation in your classroom- go bad ever?

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by Peachyness, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Nov 21, 2006

    The principal came and observed me early last week. I was feeling very sick, broncitis along with stuffy nose. But, I've had the cold for a while, and was used to talking nasily and all that. Also, I'm the type of teacher who'll look at the lesson and then just teach it. Our reading program is very scripted and it drives me crazy. I refuse to stand their with my book in my hand and read to my kids. I want to TEACH them. I'd feel like a robot. Anyways, I was teaching and he was 15 minutes late to my observation. He came in and I just kept on teaching. I was ahead of schedule, but just kept going. I then noticed out of the corner of my eye that he had the teacher's manuel and he kept flipping through it while I taught. EEEEk! I broke out in a sweat thinking, oh no! I really should have looked at the lessons knowing that he would be observing. Also, there's this one part of the program that I don't even teach. It doesn't make any sense and it was horribly put together. I don't even touch it. But when we got to that part, I couldn't even teach it because I didn't look at it. So, I did my own thing, but was now freaking out horribly, while he looked at the book, flipping back and forth. He's proabably thinking, where does this activity come from?? We haven't met yet for our post observation meeting, so I don't know how it'll go, but has anyone had a formal observation that didn't go quite right? I'm just freaking out because I'm probationary and I want to make sure that I'm on his good side when I sign my contract next year.
     
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  3. MissTexas

    MissTexas Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Oh no! You make it sound bad, but in reality im sure it went just fine!! I doubt he will hold you to the "scripted" version of the reading program! We have one of those programs too, and I always improvise and modify the lessons because they are soooooo redundant!! I wouldn't worry if I were you!! Our administration encourages us to supplement the reading program with whatever we feel necessary. I wouldn't stress it!! (Just remind me of my positive attitude when it comes time for my own observation because I know I will be freaking out)!!!!
     
  4. Lesley

    Lesley Habitué

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    Nov 21, 2006

    I had the principal in the other day and the kids were so wound up they would not settle down or stop talking for more than a few minutes at a time, I was constantly redirecting kids, not letting myself get frazzled or loud, but it was crazy. We did the activity but it was loud talkative, not a whisper (they were working with partners on an activity) Kindergarten kids two days before Thanksgiving break are not concentrating on learning and Mondays are the days they need to get back into the routine of being home doing who knows what for 2 days. Oh well, I know I am teaching the kids what they are suppose to learn, I cannot guarantee that the half hour she decides to come in the kids are going to be angels.

    Did you schedule for the principal to come in when he did or did he just arrive? If it turns out he has some issues, just tell him to stop by whenever, several more times to see how it is going. I think working outside the scripted curriculum is a very good idea, not all lessons have exactly what you want to teach and the way you want to teach it or in the style all of your kids learn. If one company had the right way to do it then there would not be so many book companies out there.
     
  5. MrsMikesell

    MrsMikesell Cohort

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Two years ago during my observation I had a new student enroll in my room, so I was teaching and trying to find a desk, then, as if that wasn't bad enough... we had a fire drill.

    It was a catastrophy.

    I got a good review because I didn't lose it.

    I'm sure you were fine!

    Kelly :)
     
  6. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    We had scheduled it ahead of time. I've been observed who knows how many times and I've always done well. I've always gotten good reviews. However, I was under a lot of stress (mainly from being sick for so long), my kids were a bit wound up, I had a new kid who was driving me crazy, and, like I said, I didn't memorize the program's lesson. I just read it over, cognitively planned the lesson, and just taught it. That's what I do everyday. I've been observed so many times I felt that this will be no big deal, but this was the first time that anyone's brought the teacher's manuel. As soon as I saw that, I just kind of froze. I kept teaching, and kept with my positive attitude, but inside, I was very uncomfortable. Plus, my students were not on their best behavior, so I was a little irratated at that too. When we meet, I will explain my reasoning behind the lessons, why I did what I did, and then tell him, if he mentions any concerns, that he's free to visit my classroom. Oi, I just feel that since I'm new at this school, that I need to do my very best. Especially since I don't think they'll have this kinder class next year. :(
     
  7. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I remember one time I was observed and the first thing I said to the person who observed me was, "that went horribly". She said, "Oh no, that went great! I even got ideas from you. You made it seem so much fun and the kids were very engaged!" So, it could be the type A person within me who freaks out when things don't go exactly as planned??
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    That almost sounded like my day. It's interesting how the principals will pick those days! :rolleyes:
     
  9. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Sometimes other people see things you don't even realize you are doing. Sometimes that is good and sometimes I guess it could be bad. I just had my post observation today and I felt like I had not done so well. My new girl went to the corner and pouted and my kid who rolls all over the floor was in full force. But she didn't even mention those kids. Weird.

    I am sure it went better than you think.
     
  10. MsAnn

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Doing extra things shows that you care about the kids. Creativity is a good thing, don't worry about it! I'm sure the principal was just confused as to where you were in the book and then realized you were doing your own extra stuff. I wouldn't fret, usually teachers supplement and change things up a bit.

    I feel like every time ours comes in my room either the kids are going wild or I am not looking "busy" enough at that very moment. It just kills me, I often think to myself 'now why can't she walk through the door NOW???' :D
     
  11. Noel

    Noel Companion

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    Nov 21, 2006

    How's This sound....

    The 1st time my principal came in to observe me ever....I didn't know he was coming he just popped in....He was in the room for about 1 minute and a student threw up....within the next 5 minutes 6 more students threw up.....YES that is a total of 7!!!! I didn't even have enough trash cans....by now I was gagging myself and the well students just stood there huddled together watching. He closed his portfolio calming got up and walked out...leaving me alone with 7 sick kids and my own head hung over the trash can. He walked down the hall and got 1 other teacher...he told her I needed help, but never said why....I now had 7 parents to call, messes to clean up (no custodian there during school hours) and the rest of my well students needed to get up to lunch within the next 2 minutes or miss it altogether. UGH!!!!!!! The only comment he really made about it on my observation form was that I was calm in a crisis. It really made me want to SCREAM!!!!
     
  12. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Nov 21, 2006

    What was the problem for all of them to throw up so suddenly and together?
     
  13. Noel

    Noel Companion

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Virus...a few of them it was just the fact that someone else had gotten sick in front of them...

    Peachyness....I just wanted you to know that even though you think it may have went very badly....which I am sure that it didn't. Your principal may have interpreted something very different altogether. I am sure that your teaching and ability to have students learn...even if it did deviate from the curriculum will be well received. Don't let it break your stride!:)
     
  14. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Ah, lovely story, Noel. I had to laugh. I'm surprised your pricipal just got up and left. I'm certain if our pricipal saw that, he would come to our aide. And, I know that if I saw 7 kids vomit, I would be right along with them. Just knowing that they vomit, for some reason, makes me gag. 7 is crazy!!
    You know, you guys are very right. I think, though, because I got nervous, I kind of blocked out that moment. I'm having a hard time rememebering exactly what I did and how I taught. I'm wondering, yes I did go on my own and that's alright, but did I do a good job at it? Arh, I worry way too much, but I can't help it. My Chinese zodiac is the dog, and we dogs worry and worry and worry. I worry non stop about evrything, and things always turn out alright in the end. Someone told this to me when I told t hem that I'm a worrywort, they said, "things that you worry about, never happen, so it's good that you worry about them. It works!". Hah, so there's an upside to my worry problem.
     
  15. bawilliams

    bawilliams Rookie

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    Nov 21, 2006

    Something else to think about... You have been observed by this principal before, so he KNOWs you are a good teacher. Even if this observation did not go well and he has some questions/comments/criticisms, that doesn't mean he thinks you aren't good at what you do.
     
  16. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Hmmm, that's true. But HE has only observed me once. I'm new at this particular school. But, I know the reading first coach loves me!! I'm certain she's mentioned this to him.
     
  17. Love2shop

    Love2shop Rookie

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    Nov 22, 2006

    Peachy don't worry...I just had my observation and boy did I want to die.... I was working in a small group and one little girl was crying she wanted to go home. I was ignoring her at first but she got to the point she was gaging and could not do the work and the other kids were distracted.. I then had to attend to this little girl and try to finish the lesson, (mind you I am in spec. ed) and I lost all train of thought about the lesson and just went with what I could. Sometime you just have to wing it!!!
    As if that wasn't bad enough my aides were acting just as bad as some of the kids, :eek: carrying on conversations & not with the kids, answering cell phones, not paying attention to the kids in their group, and making jokes and trying to get me involved. I wanted to scream..... All I kept thinking was OH MY GOD :eek: !!!!
    Then yesterday I got my review.......and it was all good, with extremely nice comments...what a relief....:D So I would have to say not to worry I am sure they understand that things happen and we can only do the best we can with the situations we are given each day.....
     
  18. NELNaples

    NELNaples Rookie

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    Nov 23, 2006

    Observation

    I had the worst observation the day before Thanksgiving. I am the newest teacher (I have only been there since October) and the one to get observed the most. No matter what I do it doesn't seem to matter. I relate to other teachers what went on and the comments and they are shocked at the VPs comments.

    For instance, the comment was that I had no classroom management. I use the system the school specifies. The first time the kids just went crazy but this last time they were really very good so I just don't understand the comment. So, I am done. I will not be at that school anyway next year so I will keep doing what I am doing and hopefully my students scores and progress will speak volumes.
     
  19. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Nov 26, 2006

    Sometimes principals are not familiar with early childhood practices. Last year my principal wrote on my review that I needed more group teaching and less center-based teaching! I said nothing. Throughout the year, I slowly and subtly educated her during meetings and teacher in-services. Last week on my review she thanked me for explaining how Pre-K worked and commented how it was great that I integrated literacy into my center!
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nov 26, 2006

    Peachyness- have you had a post-observation discussion / feedback from the principal yet?
     
  21. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    No, not yet. We're meeting next Friday. I'll let you guys know how it went.
     
  22. MissWilliams

    MissWilliams Rookie

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    Nov 27, 2006

    Noel, thank you. I now have better perspective of what a worst case scenario can be!!

    Peachyness, I will be looking for your followup post. Great thread!:)
     
  23. newkteacher

    newkteacher Rookie

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    You probably did fine. My first ever observation (last month) ended in a kid being rushed to the nurse by the observer and a girl screaming the entire lesson. I found out in the post meeting that I did well. I am a type-a person too, which is not matching well with kindergarten. Remember that the administrators know how kids can be and how lessons are never done to the letter.
     
  24. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Thank you! I love to share my most embarresing moments with you guys! :D
     
  25. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yikes! Your screamer sounds like my screamer! Glad to hear that you got a good review from the principal.
     
  26. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Well, we finally had our post observation meeting. Sigh........... It went better than I thought, but I got a "does not meet district standard" in the lesson part. He told me he was concerned about me doing my own thing with the program. I explained, well, they were bored to tears, it was too easy, so I had them begin blending instead of just naming letters." He hestitated and said that in this district, they really want teachers to follow open court program. That it is scripted and I need to stick with it. I told him that I really do follow the program and he can come in anytime he wants. He just replied that there will be other observations. He said that he's impressed with my classroom management, which is surprising cause they were more naughty that day. I got meets/exceeds district standares on elements 1, 2, and 4. But a does not meet standard for element 3. How bad does this look when they look to see if they want me again next year? I got good scores on my first observation and there will be two more for me to do well on (I now know to never deviate a bit from the program when he's in there, even if it's to meet my students' needs). Is it something I should freak out about??
    Thank you for being so supportive!
     
  27. teach 4th

    teach 4th Rookie

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    Does your principal always schedule observations, or are there surprise observations? My principal does one planned and one surprise each cycle.
    Even though I have done well in the observations, the observation form is very particular. I feel like I will have to have canned lesson ready, so that I can hit the things that are on the form, and be ready to teach this when the principal shows up (when she surprised me before, she was there at the very beginning of the language arts period). I hate feeling like I have to put on a show for the observation! I want my principal to see how I really teach.
     
  28. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    No, it was not a surprised visit, but he was about 15-20 minutes late, so I kind of thought something must of came up and he wasn't coming.
     
  29. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    I understand about the Open Court Reading. It is very scripted and in the beginning we do follow it but eventually we just pick and chose what we do in the lesson that day. We have even skipped over a few parts. Sometimes I will go at a faster or slower pace depending on the concept and how well the children are grasping it. There are a few days I dont even look at the Open Court.
    It does sound like you did a good job on everything else. Does each lesson you are observed on for reading? Maybe next time you could do something else.
     
  30. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    yes, he only wants to come in during Open court time or during the ELD time. That's what I was thinking too. Why not come in for math when they have more fun. It's all hands on and they love math!!

    This district is absolutely crazy about OCR. One of the people at Do worked for this program when it was made, so there you go.
     
  31. AMK

    AMK Aficionado

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    My principal loves Open Court too, but we only use it for phonics. They use something else for reading, but in kindergarten that reading series teaches everything Open Court uses so we just use Open Court in Kindergarten. I dont understand why he doesnt want to observe you in other areas. Open Court is so repetitive I even get sick of it sometimes.
     
  32. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yes, I know. It is so repetivie and boring at times.

    I'm just so irritated that he thinks he has me all figured out based on the last observation: that I don't do the OCR program. Gosh! I'm just so furious at him. Sure, I don't do the blue section, but no teacher in their right mind would stick to that section. It's horrible. But I do everything else. Part of me doesn't care, part of me wants to apply to my last school district because it was better anyways. It's just, I've been observed coutnless times, by principals, university supervisors, other teachers, master teachers, reading coaches, BTSA mentors, and I've never had a negative observation. They may say suggestions on how to do one part a different way, or another strategy to use, or somethig. But all he had to say was, "I'm concerened about you doing your own thing and your ad-libbing." (based on just one lesson, for one day, that he was late to). Just so angry. I'm a good teacher and I do my best everyday. I bring work home everyday and on weekends and I come in one hour early in the morning and stay late after school. He has no clue what it's like to be an elementary school teacher, a kindergarten teacher!! The more I talk about this, the more furious I get. And know, because of his ignorance, my future at the school may be jeapordized as I'm on probation. They may see that report, see the "does not meet district standard" and say, meh, let's not have her back. I just feel like crying.
     
  33. srh

    srh Devotee

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    I was so happy to hear my district had dumped Open Court just as I was hired. Even though we have to still attain the same standards as before, I much prefer the Houghton Mifflin program which allows for more creativity. Even then, we do not have enough time to do "the whole thing" in HM, but it is great to have options to choose from for each area of study.

    Peachyness--I know how you feel. We have a new principal this year (his first year, period), and he has observed me once so far. I felt that he was really searching for things to say that weren't all positive! What bothers me sometimes is, when observers are really not in your classroom enough to see what is normal, what is unusual, and how you handle certain situations. It seems "unfair" to catch the one thing that doesn't go perfectly and make note of it (It's feels like a negative "gotcha!)! Gosh, do any of us EVER have a day where everything goes as planned?? It's just frustrating when you feel great about how a lesson goes, and someone nit-picks to find that obscure oversight or makes note of the one student who gets off-task before you catch it. I guess it's just part of the game plan! And I should add, I really do appreciate positive input, and my principal last year gave me a couple of tips that I put into practice right away and still use. At least that says I'm not overly sensitive to criticism! :-D
     
  34. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

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    Dec 16, 2006

    I was observed by our principal doing a lesson on character traits. I had copied the characters on paper and we were describing their traits and then comparing them. I was writing the list on the board and the kids were writing on their paper. I figured the principal would love this lesson but instead she said the kids were off task. I thought they were all participating. I thought were we seeing the same thing. I was hurt and wanted to cry because some days they are not on task but this time they were or at least I thought they were.
     
  35. KdgtnCop

    KdgtnCop Rookie

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    Dec 17, 2006

    I'm sure you are doing fine!...........It's amazing how the "scripted" stuff doesn't allow for "the teachable moment". I'm very fortunate that my principal requires us to deviate fom the script...When you think about it- a good teacher knows when it's appropriate to deviate from the script based on the individual differences in their students. A "one size fits all" script doesn't allow for that. There's a difference between "teaching" ...and "following directions". Is your principal open to discussion????
     
  36. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I don't believe so. He was very hesitent when I mentioned that my kids were bored and it was too easy. He said that I need to follow the OCR and if some kids need a challange to use the OCR challange worksheet book. Okay, so.... while I'm teaching, most of my kids would be very bored then, which leads to misbehavior. I am just frustrated, but my loving husband reminded me that I'll have two more observations to redeem myself.
     
  37. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jan 12, 2007

    Okay, just had my next formal observation today.
    I planned, preped, acted out the lesson for today, and made sure I had the lovely scripted memorized. My kids, were fabulous, as usual. They followed along, there were some behavior issues needing to be addressed, they were engaged, it went great. After he left, a few minutes later, the reading coach came and whispered in my ear that he had stopped by in her office and told her that I did an amazing job. I won't be meeting with him for our post-observation meeting for a while, but I'm sure it will go much better this time. Actually, what's interesting is that after going through this ordeal, I did discover soemthing about Open Court that I do like and enjoy. So, at least I got something out of this whole process. Ahhh, one more to go.
     
  38. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2007

    Congrats, Peachy! I'm glad your observation went better. Of course, I know you're an amazing teacher since I'm always bugging you for ideas! What did you do for your lesson? What did you discover about Open court that you like? Just curious since I teach the same program. :)
     
  39. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jan 13, 2007

    Thanks Deeena! Don't forget, I've learned a lot from you too! :)
    I did lesson 17 in our Wind unit. Well, I discovered that using Leo in the lesson is actually fun. It was the part where you do the intial segmenting. Last year when I taught Houghtin Mifflin, I learned to teach them using our arms or our bodies. So that's what I was doing this year. But open court wanted us to use Leo. So, since I knew the principal was going to observe me, I decided early this week to begin using Leo, and I, and the kids, really enjoyed using Leo. That's all. Not a big deal or anything. The power of puppets. :)
     
  40. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

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    Jan 13, 2007

    yeah, my kids love leo too. It's funny because they can totally tell it's me doing the puppet's voice but the kids will always say something like, "I love you Leo!" or, "You're cute!" My class likes that oral blending section.
     
  41. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Yup. And what's funny is if something wrong happens, I blame it on Leo. But the kids say, "No, it was you!". But, if something good happens, they think that Leo did it. sigh, kids.
     

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