I kicked off my first round of teacher observations ever this week with just one, and it seriously blew me away.
I hadn’t done it before for multiple reasons, many of which now sound like excuses. To be fair, I found it genuinely difficult to make the major time investment required based only on the promise of future, possibly intangible returns. There are a good many concrete, measurable, predictable things I need to accomplish at the learning center, and the amorphous notion that I “should” conduct teacher observations just couldn’t compete.
What finally made it happen? My volunteers asked to be observed.
Well, ok, it’s not just that I’m a pushover. I’ve gotten better and better at my job, and more importantly, I’ve gotten better at receiving help. I managed to free up some time I used to spend on the day-to-day admin grunt work so I can now do non-survival things like laminate our previously pathetic classroom signs, clear junk out of our office, and observe my teachers.
The volunteer I watched this week is quite new to teaching. He used to assistant teach with an experienced teacher; this evening was his first solo class. It was a resounding success. Watching the learning happen, seeing how his preparation was paying off, and taking note of his natural talent for leading a classroom was simply a joy. I jotted specific notes for him throughout, and it was fun to give him the feedback and debrief. We discussed his challenge for next week: at least 20 minutes of small group work for the students. He seems really excited about it, and I am too!
I really didn’t know what to expect when I walked into his classroom. What I found there was a beautiful success filled with potential for even more. Being right there to watch and encourage it was just fantastic.
Observations are officially my favorite.