You say your principal’s stopping by your room to watch you teach? Do you tend to get really nervous when someone else is watching you instruct? If you’ve taught for any length of time, you know how challenging it can be to manage a class and teach while someone analyzes every move you make. Getting observed is your chance to show off a bit, don’t blow it.
I’ve gathered some helpful hints that could make all the difference between an average observation and one that makes you look a lot better than you really are.
1. First of all, lay off the coffee, pop, water, etc. within two hours of your scheduled observation. Raising your hand and asking your boss if you can use the bathroom is not best practice.
2. Showing a movie is a definite no-no. Especially anything totally unrelated to education.
3. Using bribery or threats to get your kids to behave themselves is not cool. I know it’s tempting, but don’t stoop to that level. There’s nothing wrong with letting your class know that your supervisor will be stopping by. If you want to encourage your class to “show Mr. So-and-so how awesome they are,” that’s okay. Saying, “If anyone in this class does anything to make me look bad, so help me…” is strongly not recommended and will only lower your standing.
4. Try walking around a little more than usual. You know, to check on student progress. Don’t overdo it, lest the kids become aware and one of the less inhibited children blurts out, “Why are you walking around so much?” Direct translation: Usually you give them an assignment and then wander over to your computer to check your e-mail, update your Facebook status, search Craigslist, or see how your Fantasy Football team is doing.
5. If you tend to get really nervous during your observation, do the same lesson twice. On the day before the observation, run through everything to make sure all the bugs are worked out. You DO NOT need any unexpected surprises while you-know-who is taking notes on your every move. On the day of the observation, tell your class you had so much fun doing the lesson yesterday, you want to do it again. (Don’t tell them while the boss is sitting in the back, though. Best to make that kind of announcement before his arrival.)
6. Keep the worksheets (dittos, hand-outs, shut-up sheets, etc.) to a minimum. Engaging in some sort of dialogue with your class is sure to boost your ratings.
7. Finally, if you’re inclined to perspire a lot, avoid the following: any light colored shirts-especially gray. Revealing your armpits to write on the board with pit stains the size of dinner plates will surely shift the focus of the lesson. The next thing you know, your class is giggling and you have to decide if you’re going to scold them, causing even more anxiety. Depending on the weather and the temperature of your classroom, a sport coat or sweater is your best bet.
Best wishes. Hope it goes well.