You Want to See Me Do What?!

Some days, I feel like I have a lot in common with Justin Bieber. There are always thousands of people who want to watch me perform at my job. Well, maybe not thousands but sometimes it seems that there are too many people who want to watch me teach. Principals, fellow teachers, evaluators, student teachers, and even my own friends who can’t seem to believe that I really am a teacher all want to get into my classroom and watch me perform. Each observer that enters my room has their own purpose or agenda for being there. They are either there to critique my practice or learn something about what I am doing.  These observations make me wonder, who exactly benefits from them?

Between now and the end of the month, I know I’ll have one of a possible ten observers from my district come and watch me perform. I say perform because I have also been given a checklist of things they want to see me doing or using. I assume this checklist could also be called my script. These ten people don’t know me or my students but they want to evaluate me. And they want to evaluate me based on what they want and not actually what I do in my classroom. When they enter my classroom, I’ll have to stop what I’m doing and check to see if they want anything. “Oh, I’m sorry, you’re here to observe me. Welcome!”

When this visit is done, will I have constructive feedback that I’ll actually be able to use or will they leave me a note that just says thanks for letting me in your room? My guess is that I’ll end up with the latter. All of the work and stress that goes into a teacher observation and I’m left with a thank you card. Before this observer comes into my classroom, I want to ask them, “How will this benefit my practice or my students’ achievement?” They should be able to give me an answer to that question, shouldn’t they? If they can’t answer that, why even bother doing an observation. It seems like a lot of hassle without any benefit. It makes me wander who exactly should be observing teachers and what is the best way to conduct these observations?


Donnie Dicus

Donnie Dicus

Tucson, Arizona

My name is Donnie Dicus and I have been teaching in Arizona for 12 years. I came to Arizona from Southern Illinois to attend the University of Arizona in Tucson. I graduated in 2003 and began teaching second grade. I taught second grade in Tucson for 8 years before moving to Phoenix. I now teach third grade. I achieved National Board Certification in 2012 and I received my Master’s Degree from Grand Canyon University in 2015. I achieved a National Board Certificate in Middle Childhood Generalist in 2012. I’ve been teaching mainstream and SEI 3rd grade classrooms in the Cartwright School District in Phoenix since 2013. I taught 2nd grade and was a math interventionist in Tucson in the Amphitheater School District. I’ve been a technology coach and have helped teachers apply technology to improve instruction. I facilitate coaching cohorts for teachers going through the National Board process and organize peer groups at my site to pair new teachers with experienced teachers. In 2010 I was nominated as a Rodel Semi-Finalist for Exemplary teaching in 2010 and featured as a Teacher Leader in February 2016 by the Arizona K12 Center.
I have class pictures of every single student I have taught behind my desk on my wall. After 12 years, that is approximately 350 students. My students know that this is my Wall of Accomplishments. I am so proud of the difference I made in their lives. I became a teacher to make a difference and I strive to do so every day.

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