Your First Formal Observation
By Sherry Friedman, Peer Intervenor
Congratulations! You’ve just completed your formal observation. Now what? First, pat yourself on the back for the hard work you put into your teaching every day. Next, expect the supervisor who observed you to invite you to discuss your lesson in a post observation conference. Your input into this conversation will be important, since it will help your supervisor evaluate your work and prepare the written formal observation report. As soon as possible after your observation, while the experience is still fresh in your mind, and before the post observation conference, prepare yourself by reflecting on your practice. To start, consider the following questions: the rationale for each is in italics. Although the actual questions your supervisor might ask you will be tailor-made to your particular lesson, they may be based on these general questions. Use them to organize your thoughts. Feel free to print out this form as a worksheet to jot down your responses.
1. How do you think it went? What were the strengths? The weaknesses?
Very likely, your evaluator will open the post observation conference with similar questions. Be brief and specific. While your supervisor will describe the good points which will be included in the formal observation report, he/she will look to see if you both are on the same page in other aspects of your lesson, as well.
2. If you could have this formal observation again, or teach this lesson to another class, what differences, if any, would you make in your practice? Be specific.
Here is your opportunity to show that you are objective and eager to grow professionally to best educate your students. Since your observation report will conclude with your supervisor’s suggestions for improvement, he/she will respect your flexibility to consider more ways to enhance your teaching.
3. What did you learn from this experience that you will implement in the future?
Here, you may demonstrate your professionalism by your willingness to make long-range plans and see the bigger picture. Ask for advice about how to implement the latest teaching strategies, methods, best practices, and materials to enhance your practice. Be positive. View your supervisor as a source of support and helpful ideas.
I hope these tips will be helpful to you as you look forward to your post observation conference. Remember that a great teacher is also a lifelong learner. See your formal observation process as a learning experience, another way to become the best teacher you can be. After all, that’s what our students deserve!