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Successful Teacher Observation

Although this is an intimidating procedure, teachers can really use observations as an opportunity to show the exciting things they are doing in their classroom. This is also an excellent time to find out what YOU can do to become a better teacher.

When your first observation comes calling don't panic. It is normal to feel nervous.

Here are some simple ways to make sure that you have a successful observation
  • Make sure that your lesson plans are detailed so that you feel organized and in control.

  • Have ALL materials ready and easily accessible for your lesson.

  • Have a clean desk since most principals will sit there during the observation.

  • Warn the kids that the principal will be there to observe the class. Discuss how they should behave while visitors are in the room (since the principal technically is a visitor). Go over class rules and your expectations for student behavior.

  • Make an extra copy of your lesson plans for the principal to with him.

  • If there is a problem student, the principal may like to see a behavior plan or other disciplinary forms.

Here are some common things Principals look for
  • Greet your students in a pleasant way.

  • Have an activity for students that leads into your lesson. Make this a fun/exciting/interesting activity.

  • State your objectives for the day and over the agenda.

  • Is your class organized? Do your students know what to do and when to do it?

  • Give positive feedback.

  • Be sure to walk around the room and monitor student behavior and participation.

  • If the students will be working in cooperative groups, ask students what the rules are for group work.

  • Re-direct students when they are misbehaving. A simple tap on the shoulder or look will often take care of the problem.

  • Give plenty of wait time when asking questions. Count to a least 15 slowly when waiting for student response.

  • Make sure students are on task the entire time.

  • Make sure your information is accurate. Check your spelling and pronunciation of words.

  • Be cheerful and vivacious when teaching-principals do not like boring blah teachers.

By Emma McDonald & Dyan Hershman
Excerpt taken from their outstanding book, Survival Kit for New Teachers: Empowering Educators for Classroom Success.

Read our article entitled "Teacher Observations: Triumph or Trauma?".

Survival Kit for New Teachers Survival Kit for New TeachersLooking for practical tips and ideas for the start of school?
Check out Survival Kit for New Teachers.

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