Did An Observer Show Up? Here's What To Know
Classroom observation can be a nerve-wracking experience because you don't know what the observer will consider good or bad. If you're also prone to being rattled when observed by someone other than your students -- that's not as uncommon as you think -- it helps to remember a few things about what the observer is doing and why he or she is there. In most cases, having a classroom observer is a positive thing.
The Observer Knows You Know
First, you don't have to pretend like you don't know the observer is there. The observer knows that you know, obviously, and a new face in the room is kind of hard to completely ignore. You should do your best to address the class as you normally would, but if you glance over at the observer once or twice, that's not a problem. If you find that having the observer in the room is still distracting, pretend he or she is a friend of your students, visiting from out of town. Just be sure not to call on the observer to answer a lesson-related question!
This Is Meant to Help
There are times when classroom observation is part of a disciplinary process to verify claims that something is wrong. But for the most part, classroom observation is meant to evaluate your teaching and discover issues that you might not have realized existed. Maybe you're speaking a lot faster than you think, or you keep calling on the same group of students. Or, maybe you are doing a stellar job, and the observer is trying to see what your secret is so that other teachers can be trained in those methods. Overall, classroom observation is meant to help.
The Observer Is Busy, Even if It Doesn't Look That Way
The observer has to spot a number of items, so don't assume the observer is bored or just goofing off. He or she may be contemplating what you just said or did and seeing if any of the criteria the observer has to look for has been met. Don't take any facial expressions or movements as signs of disapproval.
When the observation is done, you should be able to meet with the observer and school administrators to discuss the findings. Don't worry; if anything seemed off to the observer, you should have a chance to discuss it. Overall, classroom observation can help propel your teaching skills higher and higher.