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?
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