Principal walkthroughs at your school?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Sep 23, 2015

    If you have read some of my previous posts you may know that I am a first year teacher. In Ohio, teachers are evaluated using a system that requires two formal observations per year, as well as two formal walkthroughs every year.

    My principal just started walkthroughs this week, and he has not hit my room yet. I feel like things are going well, but the fact that he could pop in at any moment makes me a little nervous. I've been told his walkthroughs last 15-20 minutes.

    Anyway, I'm wondering how often your principal stops into your room? Whether for official visits or just to check in. And how often are you formally evaluated? I'm more curious than anything. Thanks for reading!
     
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  3. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    Our principal last year would pop in from time to time. The only time he stayed longer than a minute or two was when he did an evaluation. Then it was the whole period. Our principal this year has popped in and sat down for 5 minutes or so before leaving. I guess it depends on the principal.
     
  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Ours has a goal of stopping by each day, but there's so many of us and with such a large school (no AP) that naturally, it can't happen all the time. She has stopped by a handful of times though, and even if it isn't during the best moments, I've found that it's made me focus in even harder on those elements that I want to make better. For example, I had kids getting whiteboards the other day, and while I'm used to the process being a little tedious, I never thought a ton of it - she was around when that had happened though, and reflecting on it, I realized that I should change how they're doing that. So, now I have kids keep it in their desk unless they feel as though it'd be a distraction, in which case they leave it in their cubbies. These check-ins are just for 4-5 minutes here and there, and usually she doesn't follow up. Last year though, the time she did stop by early in the year in my first year, she sent me an e-mail later that day mentioning the positives she noticed in what I was doing. It was an important pick-me-up at the beginning of the year!

    We have either 2 or 3 formal evals, unless we're on a continuing contract after our first 4 or 5 or something years? I had two last year, and two more this year.
     
  5. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    I'm in Ohio, too! It never fails, mine shows up at the worst time possible! Lol!

    Anyway, I usually stop at some point and share with her what we are doing. I keep it a one sentence summary and then turn back to my class and ignore her. For some reason this helps me calm down and focus on my class.
     
  6. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Mine stops in 1-2 times a week and stays around 5 minutes. They have no part in our evaluation, though. He's new to our school and trying to figure out our teaching styles right now.
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My P does an informal fly by about once a day. I'll be observed 6-8 times this year under the Marshall evaluation protocols. It's pretty much a ten-15 minute drop in, unannounced...but they will usually ask when they come in if it's a good time- so they wouldn't stay for snack time or a celebration..I've had one already and should be having my follow up feedback conversation with that administrate this week. It's really not as nerve wracking as you think t might be...it's actually more authentic versus the traditional dog and pony show 45 minute observations we used to get.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My current P is almost never in my room outside of formal observations. She did one walkthrough in my first month of teaching at the school, and has not done one since (I'm in my 3rd year there). It doesn't bother me because I figure if she were concerned she'd be in there more. We have two formal observations per year. I've never felt the need to do a "dog and pony show" for my formal observations. It seems to me that an admin would see right through that.

    At my first school admin and coaches came in to see everyone multiple times per week. It was no big deal because they were always really positive. It was honestly kind of morale boosting because you were always getting positive feedback. They did give some constructive criticism of course, but it was always one concrete thing that you could improve on among a myriad of positive things. I also liked that they were getting a really accurate picture of what my class was really like. We've all that lesson that has just flopped- if they're in your room constantly and know that's not typical, you don't have to worry so much about your formal observations. There isn't so much weight on trying to prove everything in two 45 minute lessons!

    At my second school my P and AP were crazy negative and everyone was afraid of walkthroughs. They would come in and write a list of at least 10-12 things you were doing wrong, including extremely nitpicky things (like your desk is messy). They never said one positive thing. Finally around January our P announced she did that on purpose and she would "make positive comments when we were 80% proficient." This was a very low SES inner city school. She also came in once or twice per week and would always do walkthroughs the day before/after breaks to make sure people weren't "slacking." It was awful. She used to wear a bunch of keys around her neck and you'd hear them clanging down the hallway. When I started at my current school it took me weeks to stop jumping every time I heard someone with keys coming towards my room. IMO the attitude of your administration can make or break the walkthrough experience.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Members of my leadership team pop in all the time. Sometimes it's more interesting than others, but I always make sure it's genuine. I won't change what I'm doing because they're watching me, because that would take away from my students, who usually don't notice the additional person.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't get too stuck on a number being normal. Ps are busy and they may intend to pop in on a certain day, but the chances of them being pulled into something else is always high.
     
  11. Education4all

    Education4all Rookie

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    I could care less when my Principal, or even Superintendent may stop in. I will not be bothered if it is utter chaos either. It is the reality of a classroom. I look at it as a different set of eyes to help me provide the best education I can for my students. I understand it can be uncomfortable, but I view it as the support system that is there for me. I'm not the most experienced teacher so i am happy to receive all the constructive criticism I can get.
     
  12. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My P or VP pop in a few times a week--usually just for a couple of minutes. Often, I won't even know they're there until I see them walk out! It is an evaluation year for me, so there will be formal observations of two lessons.
     
  13. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    As a newer teacher, I have 4 observations (3 by an admin, 2 announced for 45 minutes and one unannounced for 45 minutes, although they send out emails in advance asking for info on any schedule changes/special events/etc. so you kind of know it's coming) and then another announced observation by a peer teacher.

    While I don't exactly enjoy it, I don't get too bothered by the announced observations and mine have all gone well so far. The unannounced ones make me more nervous because I'm afraid my admin is going to come during my one particularly wild group that we have to stop and reteach expected classroom behaviors every couple of weeks. These kids have a school wide reputation, so it's not like she's unaware that they can be problematic, but still. I'd really rather her come during any one of my other very well behaved classes!
     
  14. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Yes, yes, yes!!! I have to do 10 a week, and I pick those 10 teachers on Monday. It's Thursday now, and I've seen 2 of those 10 because it's been a crazy week.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I don't evaluate teachers--only support staff. My P does certificated staff.

    I do walk into classrooms, but I always have a purpose: need to pull out a student for discipline, drop off books/materials, distribute test scores, etc.

    Even though I'm only in classrooms for 30 seconds or so at a time, I love what I see. We've got a talented group of teachers at my site.
     
  16. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My administration has actually created a form this year they will be leaving as they do walk-throughs. They want to do non-assessing walk-throughs regularly and to leave us feedback and suggestions. Their objective is to be helpful rather than terrifying, which I appreciate.

    Still only saw one visit so far this year.

    I'm sure they mean well.
     
  17. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Our principals pop in whenever they have a chance outside of their required formal evaluations. Teachers are required to be formally evaluated twice a year.
     
  18. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Out of curiosity, what do you do when you get a walk-through? I never know if I should greet the visitor or just carry on as if they're not there. I always feel so awkward!
     
  19. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    We have been instructed to hand them a copy of our lesson plans and keep teaching.
     
  20. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    When I taught first grade, the kiddos would go nuts if the principal walked in, so I just made it the norm to greet the principal to get the excitement out of the way, then continue the lesson.

    At this school with second graders, no one seems to care as much. I just keep teaching.
     
  21. HistoryTeach4

    HistoryTeach4 Rookie

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    I just keep teaching. If my P or AP needed to speak they will interrupt.
     
  22. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I just keep going. When I hit a natural "pause", I'll look over at them and ask if they need me or the students. If the answer is "no", I just pick right back up.
     
  23. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Same for me.
     
  24. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sometimes I greet them and get them involved in our activity in some way. Sometimes I smile, nod and ignore...depends what's going on at the time.
     
  25. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Our P scripts our observations so I just act like he's not there for the most part. I'm in Ohio so our schedule is the same. I've had one walk through already and my first formal observation is in a couple weeks. Most teachers in a contract renewal year have already had a formal observation. I'm in the last group this year.
     
  26. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    That's the best way to handle it, in my opinion. If there's a natural break and you can greet me and fill me in, that's awesome. If not, I don't want to interrupt the flow of anyone's lesson.
     
  27. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    Sep 27, 2015

    Thank you everyone for your input. I think my nerves are mainly because my principal has never really seen me teach before (other than a couple 30 second pop-ins), so I'm worried about making a good "first" impression in that regard.

    Thanks again.
     

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