How to Pass Teacher Evaluations Through Classroom Observations

Teacher and Student Interaction in The Classroom

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Classroom Teacher Observations

With the exception of pre-employment teaching demonstrations, classroom teacher observations are the most feared by many teachers. Why? If the first classroom observation goes badly, a second observation will quickly follow. With more than one evaluation of a sub-par teaching performance, school administrations have grounds for dismissing a teacher from employment. Considering this possible grave threat to all teachers, this article presents tips on preparing for teacher observations, and also suggests different ways teachers can conduct themselves well during observations.

What Is Classroom Observation?

Just as students are held accountable by assessment tools, teachers must be held accountable for their performance in the classroom. One important way of doing this is through observing the teacher in a classroom. By doing this, school administrators can view a teacher's appearance and interaction with students in the classroom. Classroom teacher observers can also make judgments on the teacher's classroom management, discipline, and effectiveness of teaching methods used in class.

Who Are The Classroom Observers?

Members of school administration and fellow teachers usually jointly conduct classroom observations. During my past experiences of teaching EFL in Bangkok, I was observed by a team of two to three people including a member of school administration, a native Thai English teacher, and a native English speaking colleague.

When Are Classroom Observations Held?

In my school, classroom teacher observations were held once or twice a year. They were usually announced; however, they could be unannounced. If the observations were announced, the teacher generally received notice one week in advance.

Preparing for a Teacher Observation

What is the best way to prepare for a Teacher Observation in the Classroom?

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Preparing for Teacher Observations

Preparing for an announced teacher observation is necessary if a teacher wants to perform the best and leave a good impression with the classroom observers. Preparations for the observation must include the following:

1. Making Detailed Lesson Plans

Without a detailed lesson plan, a teacher has no road map of where he wants to go with his class. There should be clear, detailed learning objectives for each class, and this information must be at the top of all lesson plans. Lesson plans must also include all teaching equipment and materials used during the lesson such as audiovisual equipment, maps, and picture flash cards. The most important part of the lesson plan must include detailed teaching procedures and activities. Time spent on each activity must be noted. Teaching activities must include: a class warm-up; revision drill for activating students' background knowledge; the presentation of new material; practice exercises; and a final presentation mastery activity.

2. Preparing All Audiovisual Equipment and Teaching Materials Used in Class

Before the observation class begins, the teacher must make sure he or she has set up all audiovisual equipment like overhead projectors, DVD players, CD players, and Power Point presentations. Maps, posters, and picture flash cards must also be prepared.

3. Practice Presenting the Lesson to Other Classes

If at all possible, the teacher should present his teacher observation lesson to other classes. By doing this, the teacher can determine what went right and what went wrong in his lesson. The actual teacher observation lesson can then be fine-tuned to limit the deficiencies in the teacher's presentation .

Tips to Follow During a Classroom Teacher Observation

If a teacher wants to successfully pass a classroom teacher observation, he or she should pay attention to the following:

1. Provide a Lesson Plan, Student Books, and Supplementary Materials to The Observers

Before the classroom teacher observation begins, the teacher should provide the lesson plan of the day and copies of the student books and supplementary materials to all observers. In doing this, the classroom observers will more easily be able to understand the teacher's learning objectives, and then determine whether the teacher has met them during the day's lesson.

2. Be on Time to Class

It goes without saying that punctuality in the classroom is essential. If at all possible, the teacher should arrive at class a few minutes early to ensure that all audiovisual equipment is set up and teaching materials are in place.

3. Smile And Be Friendly to All Students

Even if a teacher is having a rough day, he or she should present a happy smile and be friendly to all students. The classroom atmosphere will be much more relaxed and more conducive to learning.

4. Student Centered Classroom Activities

A teacher will certainly make a bad impression on classroom observers by standing in the front of the class and solely lecturing to students. It is necessary for the teacher to make his classroom as much student centered as possible. The teacher can do this through activities and drills in which students do most of the talking and writing while the teacher functions as a coach.

5. Pay Attention to Board Work

When the teacher is at the whiteboard, he or she must avoid turning his back to the students. Rather, the teacher should be looking at his students while writing on the board. The teacher should also pay attention to what is written on the board. His or her handwriting must be neat and always readable. Information should judiciously be arranged on the board, and there should be no errors in punctuation or capitalization.

6. Move Around The Class

A teacher should avoid standing only in one place in front of the class. For classroom management concerns, it is wise to approach disruptive students. It is also wise to stand next to shy or reserved students who are hesitant to participate in class. During group drills, the teacher must walk around the class to check on the understanding of various group members.

7. Use First Names of Students

Everyone loves to hear their first name, and students feel teachers care about them when using first names in class.

8. Pay Attention to Time Management

Time management is so important for the teacher who wants to get through the most important part of his lesson. Suggested times for activities are noted on lesson plans. Teachers should try to follow these times while working through a lesson.

9. Relax And Be Natural

Relaxing and acting naturally is essential during a teacher observation. If a teacher has thoroughly prepared and practiced his lesson a few times. stage fright should not overcome him or her during the classroom teacher observation.

Preparation and self-confidence are musts to follow on how to pass classroom teacher observations. I can not overstate that a teacher must be prepared with a detailed lesson plan and all audiovisual equipment and teaching materials in place. Self-confidence should then follow in the teacher's interactions with students..

© 2012 Paul Richard Kuehn

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Comments 14 comments

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

Good information and some useful tips for teachers....that's why I voted this up and useful. In this day of constant layoffs for teachers I would imagine 'acting' natural is the hardest one to do!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

tillsontitan,

Thank you very much for the encouraging comments. I just went through a classroom observation today. I guess that's what inspired me to write this hub.


DDE profile image

DDE 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Thanks for the helpful ways voted up!!!


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

DDE, Thanks for reading and the encouraging comment. Paul


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 3 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

I agree with all your tips here. It is a nerve racking time for teachers, but a vital part of assessment. Personally I absolutely hate being watched and assessed, it makes me uncomfortable, especially when the class is recorded and people are taking photos. However, I am generally careful of the points you mentioned in normal classes, so hopefully this shows through in the observed lessons too.

Shared, pinned, up, useful and tweeted.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Brett,

Thank you very much for your interest in this hub. I appreciate your comments and also feel somewhat uneasy when I know I am being observed. I try, however, to conduct observed classes just like any ordinary class. Thanks for sharing this hub.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Fine tips and great information here, Paul. Surely, this hub is going to be a great guide to those in this profession.

Voted up, useful, interesting. Shared and pinned, tweeted as well.


Insightful Tiger profile image

Insightful Tiger 3 years ago

I remember having to go through this. I just tried to be myself and forget that the parents and administrators were in the room :) I was always anxious and sweaty underneath the surface the whole time, yuck!

your tips are great, though. If you are prepared with a lesson plan then you are less likely to be as nervous.

Thanks for sharing! Voted up and useful.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

rajan,

Thanks again for reading and commenting on this hub. Most teachers don't like to be observed, so hopefully this article will be of use to them. I appreciate your great comments and most of all the sharing, pinning, and tweeting of this hub.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

Insightful Tiger,

I appreciate you reading and commenting on this hub. It's great that you found my tips helpful and understand the importance of a good lesson plan. Thanks for the votes.


JoyLevine profile image

JoyLevine 3 years ago

This is an outstanding hub. Voted up and useful! My husband is a full time teacher. He teaches orchestra and science. He has a challenge with his middle school age children. :) He has three classes of achievers and the other classes are much more of a challenge for him to keep them interested and involved. He struggles hard and has to be very creative every day. Of course, the people who come in to observe ALWAYS come in on the rougher classes. Sometimes he gets pretty stressed out about it. But I think all in all, he handles it well.

Thanks for this article.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

JoyLevine,

Thank you very much for reading and commenting on this hub. Yes, I have had the experience, too, of school administration observing me with my worst classes. It's funny, but for one of the classes a few months ago, I had to bribe them with candy to make sure they behaved when the observers were in class. I'm happy you liked the article and found it useful.


Disraeli Fru, Bamenda Cameroon 2 years ago

I am entering the classroom for the first itme tommorrow. Firstly, as an observer and may be tested at the end on how to teach. Frankly, I have been nervous but all seems okay after reading through the tips above repeatedly.

Going to face the challenge bravely.

Thank you for the inspiration and keep searching for us beginners.


Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul Kuehn 2 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand Author

&Disraeli Fru Thank you for your comments. I hope you did well in your classroom observations. Excuse my long delay in answering your comment.

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