Reflective Teaching Day 3: Observation Improvement

It’s Day Three of TeachThought’s challenge, and the prompt for today is:

Discuss one “observation” area that you would like to improve on for your teacher evaluation.

I have a feeling this topic is going to be tough for me; I tend to spend so much time worrying about how to actually make my class better and my teaching more effective, but I spend relatively little time worrying about observations and evaluations. Everything about the teacher evaluation system in Ohio is sort of in flux right now, last year having been the first year with all kinds of new requirements and guidelines, so there was a lot of talk about it then. But even so, I’m not that far removed from college, when so many of the lessons I taught were so closely monitored and critiqued. I never really worried about it that much. In fact, thinking back to last year, I have a hard time even remembering which areas I scored lower in. Maybe it’s good that I’m confident. Maybe it’s bad that I’m not paying more heed to the feedback I’m being given. I mean, don’t I want my students to pay attention to the feedback I give them? So regardless of how unworried I am about observations, or how tedious I find the process, I suppose I should give it a little more attention.

Okay, so here’s where I’m landing: I know for certain that there are areas of my observation where I need to focus a little better, but I couldn’t tell you what they are off the top of my head (and I’m not even sure how to access my evaluation results now…I think the final “score” is just online somewhere?). So I know the topic was about what area of the observation I need to improve, but I’m manipulating the prompt: The thing I want to improve is my own attitude.

It’s not that I’ve had a bad attitude in the past, I just simply haven’t cared much. But thinking about it now, that seems wrong. I mean, I claim to be always looking for ways to be a better teacher, and even if we all agree that the evaluation process isn’t perfect, it is a built in opportunity for feedback from someone who should have some idea what they’re talking about. So this year, when I conference with my principal about my observation, I’m going to try to take it a little more to heart. At the very least, even if he doesn’t have any specific suggestions, he’ll surely score me lower in one area than in others, and rather than just letting it roll off my back, I’m committed this year to reflecting on it and finding ways to improve.

So I guess I said all that to say: I’ll truly respond to this prompt later, but I’ll have a good, proactive attitude about it when I do!

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