Three Tips For Surviving Your First Classroom Observation

Posted on: 27 October 2018

Classroom observations can be potentially stressful situations. This is true even for experienced teachers, but for new teachers or teachers starting work at a new school they can feel especially fraught and demanding. If you are scheduled to have your teaching observed for the first time, these tips will hopefully get you through the day with a minimum of anxiety and maybe even help you to see the experience as a positive one. If you are an experienced observer, this article may help you to put yourself in the shoes of the teachers you will be observing in order to create a more relaxed and natural environment for observation.

Understand the Purpose of Observation

Possibly the most important thing you can do before being observed is to understand the purpose of the observation. Classroom observation may have a variety of specific goals, but in general the purpose of any observation session is to help you improve as a teacher. Many school districts conduct classroom observations regularly throughout the year, but it can still be helpful to speak to your administrators to clarify the exact purpose of this observation session. Classroom observation is sometimes conducted to evaluate programs or particular classroom technologies, so it is possible that your teaching methods are not the primary focus at all.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

One of the keys to appearing professional and organized is simply good preparation. Be sure that you have a solid lesson plan ready in advance, and use this preparation time to make sure that your lesson for the day is something that you are comfortable teaching. It can be tempting to try to impress an observer, but your best option is to choose a style of teaching for the day that you are especially comfortable with. This not only has the advantage of putting you more at ease, but it also helps the observer to see your true strengths as a teacher.

Teach Normally

Since the goal of an observer is often to help you grow as a teacher, it is important that you treat a day on which you are being observed the same as you would any other day. The observer will be interested in both your strengths and your weaknesses as a teacher, so teaching naturally is key to receiving an honest evaluation. This can be extremely difficult when you know that you are being watched, but an easy tip is to focus on your students rather than yourself. Think more about the learning experience you are creating and less on how you look to the observer.