Tips for Success
Lately, I’ve noticed many teachers blogging about their upcoming evaluations. This time of year can be stressful for teachers due to the upcoming state assessments, students zoning out, and the end of year paperwork trail--- then an EVALUATION! You know you’re a great teacher but you’re under some big time stress and pressure. I would like to provide some advice as you prepare for your observation. In bullet form- I will list some tips that have always worked for me. I’ve been teaching 12 years and recently received my Masters in Education Administration in 2011. Believe me I know what the principals are looking for during the evaluation. Hint: They are looking more at what the students are doing in your class.
- Be sure your objectives are posted and that you state the objective verbally to your students.This year my darlings read me the objectives from the board each morning. (This would be a great idea for you to utilize during an observation.) Administration would be flabbergasted.
- Have student work displayed in your room. Admin love walking around and viewing all the learning that is taking place in your classroom. We must remember that at one time they were teachers as well and they love to see work dripping from your walls.
- A good tip would also be to provide a layout of your room with the names of your students and where they sit. Give this to your principal as she enters your room. During your pre-conference time you should discuss some of your little love-bugs that are squirmy or could be potential behavior problems. On the layout form place a red sticky dot next to the student’s name. This will act as a reminder for the principal concerning individual students.
- As your being observed, you need to provide students with positive comments. These comments need to be specific. Bryce “I really enjoyed listening to your summary”. Teachers need to focus less on saying “Good”. I know it’s a hard habit to break.
- I strongly recommend using various activities to showcase you are meeting your student’s diverse needs and learning styles in your room.
- Admin also like to see students engaged with one another. I’m the biggest fan of students working in collaborative groups. They are able to communicate about their learning, change their opinions about ideas, and use their higher order thinking as they discuss various topics. As they collaborate within their groups you are available to act as a facilitator. This gives you the opportunity to listen to their conversations and jump in with higher order thinking questions. If I was an admin, I would be blown away by the engagement of collaborative groups. My darlings have some type of collaborative group assignment each day before they do their independent activity.
- Utilize Higher Order Thinking Skill within your lesson.
- Create a lesson that provides -- direct teach, collaborative group participation, and then independent work. Please don’t spend countless minutes doing a direct teach. You lose the student’s interest which counts against your evaluation.
- Allow students to share their work. When students share their work they become more excited about their learning and want to improve.
- Teachers that teach primary grades k-2 can utilize the “Pair Share”. As you read a story-ask a question-allow students to turn to a partner and discuss. In my opinion, this is a great way for students to begin slowly moving towards a collaborative group setting. (It starts off in a calm setting between two students). Later after they tackle this procedure you could move them up to a collaborative group. Again, you can take it slow-maybe 3 students in a group then eventually move up to 4.
- Whatever you do---LISTEN----Do not stay in one place! Example at the board or the smart board. You need to be constantly moving around the room as you do your direct teach or as you discuss topics with the students. Also, during independent work it’s essential that you walk around the room to monitor your student’s progress.
I hope this information helps you as you prepare for your Observation! My intent was to provide you with some important information that principals are observing in your classroom. If you have any other tips please leave a comment.