A Method for Fostering Better Observations

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School leaders and teachers are busy, and they seem to be going in so many different directions. How can't they be considering that they each have unique jobs? One is responsible for the building and everything that comes with it. Teachers are responsible for their classroom, and everything that comes with that space.

However, their jobs are very similar too because they impact students and learning.

One area that affects both parties, and is often wasted, is the teacher observation process.  In a recent blog about the teacher observation process being a waste of time, nearly 43% of the 216 teachers who answered a survey at the end reported that their observations were not beneficial to them. Only 9% of teachers said they found the experience valuable. 

This lack of feeling that observations are beneficial is not a new story. Many of us who were teachers felt that the observation process, which is of course centered around evaluation, was not beneficial. Many of the principals doing those observations probably felt the same way.

It was like 2 ships passing in the night...

However, sometimes the issue lies in the fact that teachers and principals never really take the time to discuss the observation process. Why? Many times it's because leaders believe teachers already know what it entails, and teachers are either too busy or too scared to ask.

For example, it's quite popular these days for principals to do "walk-throughs" but there are times when those are only completed in name alone, and really don't provide any beneficial experience to either parties. Leaders and teachers don't always take (or get) the time to discuss what they are for and what was learned during the process.

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The real value is in the discussion aspect of the model we are using. We only benefit from some type of dialogue, as that reflective component is critical to this work and will surely benefit children. 

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