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Old 05-06-2009, 08:45 PM
 
3,302 posts, read 5,501,266 times
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I had this one administrator who was extremely dictatoral. He had his clip board and would come to my class to observe my teaching to the exact time and moment of what was written in my lesson plan.

If I said that I was teaching reading at 9:00, and he came into my room and discovered that I was teaching Language Arts, he would write me a note. On this note he would say that I was not following my lesson plans and that I need to stick to the district mandated schedule.

If I wrote on my lesson plans that my students would be able to identify nouns in a reading selection, and he saw them using a worksheet to identify those nouns, he would write me up for using a ditto sheet instead of having them engaged in an activity that should be more rigorous.

I can go on and on about this guy, but to be honest, he made me a better teacher because he forced us on his staff to really pay attention to what our learning objectives were (especially the ones that were not stated behavorially), and how or what activities that we were going to teach to them.

Just the other day, during my ELD 30 minute block, my current principal and our ELD coach, which I think is a waste of tax payers money, but that's for another thread, came into my room, and I was following the TE to the letter on how I am supposed to provide ELD Langage Instruction.

I had introduced the new vocabulary to my ELD students on Monday, and since this was Day 2 of this week's lesson, the lesson required me to have them use the same vocabulary words in sentences after using a big book picture so that they could have the oral practice of using these vocabulary words in sentences. Well because I didn't have them sharing their sentences to each other, which the TE didnt suggest for me to do yet, I got dinged.

It was suggested by the ELD coach that I provide more opportunities for my students to engage in sharing or speaking to each other. The problem that I have with her suggestion is the fact that some of my students who are not ready to share or speak out yet WON"T and even if I offered them a Snicker's Bar they would still not say one word to each other because to them they arent ready and may be embarrassed if they make an oral mistake.

So if you have ever had this experience with your principal who comes in at a moment where you have already used the teaching strategies to help your students learn, and they see the tail end of it, or ding when you have a teachable moment for not staying on pace or following your lesson plays, do you think that is fair?
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:12 PM
 
Location: New Orleans, LA
239 posts, read 555,511 times
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I have heard that when administrators do observations they are required to include suggestions and recommendations. There is always room for improvement and the observation lacks credibility if there is no criticism included. It sounds like your principal is being a little nitpicky, meaning he has to look for things that you're doing "wrong" to include in the write-up. I'd say that's a good sign.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:25 PM
 
3,302 posts, read 5,501,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MegDrew View Post
I have heard that when administrators do observations they are required to include suggestions and recommendations. There is always room for improvement and the observation lacks credibility if there is no criticism included. It sounds like your principal is being a little nitpicky, meaning he has to look for things that you're doing "wrong" to include in the write-up. I'd say that's a good sign.
You are right, its just that the nitpicking makes you go hummmmm? About two months ago our district audit team came out to our school to observe what we were doing in our classes, everyone from every department came into our rooms from RSP to ELD. I pretty much got good marks, but because I had all of my california missions in my classroom, which by the way is a portable, I got dinged for not storing them properly---in other words my room was too junky for the observer.
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Old 05-16-2009, 06:33 PM
 
67 posts, read 265,133 times
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I don't know of any district that requires admins to find something wrong, but I always do. If I can't find at least 1-2 ways for you to improve your teaching when I come to observe, I wasted both your time and mine.
BTW, your admin is 100% right about the time factor. The #1 problem I see in elementary school classes is misuse of time. If teachers actually stuck to their schedules and were cognizant of the time related to the importance of what they were teaching, our students would be much more successful.
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Old 05-16-2009, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,500 posts, read 13,302,543 times
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I think they are 100% wrong on the time factor. I can't think of one day when some part of some lesson didn't go a little over or a little under what I had planned. Kids really get engaged, or maybe they don't. If they are engaged and need some extra time to fully explore a concept, we go with it. Who knows, but flexibility is the name of the game I think. I was evaluated this year. I had an announced observation. My principal came in for a 9:00 observation, but my class was "running over" by about 10 minutes. I was in the middle of finishing up with a literature circle group. I just mentioned to her that we could use a few minutes before transitioning and she had no issue with it. I use an overhead timer a lot and often readjust the time if need be. It worked out well, because she was able to see the class transition from one activity to another.

BTW, to the OP: don't you consider reading part of language arts?
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:34 PM
 
3,302 posts, read 5,501,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
I think they are 100% wrong on the time factor. I can't think of one day when some part of some lesson didn't go a little over or a little under what I had planned. Kids really get engaged, or maybe they don't. If they are engaged and need some extra time to fully explore a concept, we go with it. Who knows, but flexibility is the name of the game I think. I was evaluated this year. I had an announced observation. My principal came in for a 9:00 observation, but my class was "running over" by about 10 minutes. I was in the middle of finishing up with a literature circle group. I just mentioned to her that we could use a few minutes before transitioning and she had no issue with it. I use an overhead timer a lot and often readjust the time if need be. It worked out well, because she was able to see the class transition from one activity to another.

BTW, to the OP: don't you consider reading part of language arts?
I better be safe and say what ever your state says Reading is. In my district we have a mandatory 2 and 1/2 hour block for Language Arts and Reading.
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Old 05-16-2009, 08:49 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,500 posts, read 13,302,543 times
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Originally Posted by antredd View Post
I better be safe and say what ever your state says Reading is. In my district we have a mandatory 2 and 1/2 hour block for Language Arts and Reading.
Ok... I am in VA. Reading and writing fall under the category of language arts and we are supposed to integrate the two. We have a 1 and 1/2 uninterrupted block for "language arts" with at least an additional 1/2 hour throughout the school day. That is easy to do since addtional language arts time can be counted in science, math, social studies...any subject area really.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:01 PM
 
3,302 posts, read 5,501,266 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgbwc View Post
Ok... I am in VA. Reading and writing fall under the category of language arts and we are supposed to integrate the two. We have a 1 and 1/2 uninterrupted block for "language arts" with at least an additional 1/2 hour throughout the school day. That is easy to do since addtional language arts time can be counted in science, math, social studies...any subject area really.
Yeah, we can do that too in CA. But we also have 30 mins of English Language Development that we can't include during our Reading and Language Arts block.
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Old 05-16-2009, 09:46 PM
 
Location: The Land of Lincoln
2,522 posts, read 4,019,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antredd View Post
I better be safe and say what ever your state says Reading is. In my district we have a mandatory 2 and 1/2 hour block for Language Arts and Reading.
If it's a grant program, at the state or federal level, you have to follow the guidelines for minutes of instruction or face losing the funding.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:37 AM
 
901 posts, read 2,755,270 times
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Antredd,

My administrators never just pop in to see me teach a lesson. Usually they do that to people they are unhappy with. I'm not saying that is how it works in your school, just mine. Anyway, I think that it is hard to know exactly what is going on based on a few minutes of observation. If the administrator objects to what they saw in 5 minutes, I would politely explain to them what was going on. Then I would invite them back to see a complete lesson.

During the formal observations, the administrators always have to give steps for improvement. I usually appreciate their comments. I've been teaching for 5 years and I sure do not know everything. Sometimes what they say doesn't make sense. Other times I'm able to get great ideas. Being that you said the administrator has helped your teaching, take this as a good thing.
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