Being observed by a stranger…

A teacher’s observation, not a stalker story.

I was greeting students in the hall when I saw a person I did not recognize. The woman, nicely dressed with a district badge, quickly offered her name (which I did not catch), informing me that she was here to do my walkthrough observation. Mentally scanning my lesson plan, I thought okay, game on!

Beginning in 2015, New York State Law requires that teachers be observed by both a lead administrator and an independent one. A lead administrator is the professional with whom a teacher has a working relationship with, the independent observer cannot be attached to the school’s BEDS forms, and in my case, she was a stranger.

I have been observed countless times in my career, many observations unannounced. However, I have never been evaluated by a professional with whom I had absolutely no relationship. I have never had someone evaluate my teaching who was so unfamiliar. Furthermore, I have never had my yearly “score” tied to someone’s opinion of my teaching based solely on 15 minutes of classroom time.

Although I am a veteran teacher, I was still a bit apprehensive about this unannounced stranger observing my classroom. I quickly assessed the seating arrangement, needing to actually move a student’s seat because, with 29 students, a nurse, a teaching assistant, and myself in this classroom, it is almost standing-room only. Fortunately, it is also a fantastic class filled with thoughtful and reflective adolescents.

Luckily, I had a dynamic student-centered class planned. The class was engaged — showing both analysis and depth. The stranger smiled and nodded, she didn’t seem that out of place.

The following Danielson rubric, sent via the magic of the internet, relieved my anxiety because this stranger deemed me Highly Effective on that famous HEDI scale. I was, of course, relieved, but I can’t help but wonder how much time these “independent” observers are spending outside of their normal duties. Moreover, why has the teaching profession become a place where teachers are so untrustworthy that they need two different observers? Is this the wave of the future? Since 2012, many people have told me to calm down. They tell me this too shall pass. It is not “passing.” These changes are here. The high stake testing, the scoring of teachers, the reliance on DATA seem very permanent.

After the evaluator exited my classroom, a student asked me who “that person” was. I laughed and said: “I don’t know. New York State has mandated that teachers need to be observed by an independent evaluator.” My students let out a collective, uncomfortable giggle. Side conversations occurred, until one student, raising her hand, said: “That is stupid. You should be evaluated by your students.” I smiled. It was a very adolescent comment, but a very interesting suggestion.

When I teach as an adjunct at the college level, I do receive student evaluations. That feedback helps me learn and grow as an educator. Who better to “score” me than the people I have the most contact with and influence on? Although I could see many problems with adolescents “grading” their teachers, I would like to think on average, I would be evaluated fairly.

Overall, the entire APPR evaluation process has been very disillusioning. I am an experienced teacher — since 2012 each subsequent school year has been reduced to a score — my teaching fitting nicely in a rubric. Having many years remaining in the classroom, I am aware that flexibility is the key. However, I am not sure how much more that I can bend.

Advertisements

One thought on “Being observed by a stranger…

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

WordPress.com.

Up ↑

TeachingIsTheWorst

Destroying education, one student at a time.

Filling the pail

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." - As W. B. Yeats never said

laurarisdall

Parenting with FAITH and FUN!

ELA Brave and True

It's Language Arts, Not Language Science.

I Love You but You're Going to Hell

Awkward Conversations about School and Society

little word studio

arts + entertainment blog

The Educators Room

Empowering Teachers as the Experts

The Conversation Room

Ideas worth exploring

From Mage Mind

When a mage is sharing what's on his mind. Business, Motivation, Positive life, Success, Marketing and Good Ideas.

Emeka Ofili

Inspiration and gospels

Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Supporting public schools and the children they serve

radical eyes for equity

Confronting "our rigid refusal to look at ourselves" (James Baldwin)

Urban Education Mixtape

... A Strong Rhyme to Step To

KATIE MARTIN

Learning, Teaching, and Leading in a Changing World

Education Rickshaw

International Teaching in Motion

Get Schooled

Your source to discuss and learn about education in Georgia and the nation and share opinions and news with Maureen Downey.

Cloaking Inequity

A blog focused on education and social justice

Growing Children

A teacher’s blog about the art of helping children grow--at home, at school and in the garden.

WilliWash

A Magazine That Delves Into All Things LIFE.

theundergroundeducator

A fine WordPress.com site

In Dianes Kitchen

Recipes showing step by step directions with pictures and gadget reviews

My Best Laid Plans

Where Brokenness and Grace Collide

By: Jamaal A. Bowman

Public Schools Rule!

Corey R. Payne

@coreyrpayne

LitLearnAct

Two Literacy Teachers Learning and Sharing in the Blended Learning Classroom

motherwellmagdotcom.wordpress.com/

Telling all sides of the parenting story

Diary of a Deelexia Mom

Blog about life with amazing kids.

EduBloggers

Dedicated to truth-telling for democracy.

Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé

An insider's look at education, teaching, parenting and coming of age.

Teacher as guide

Rethinking the purpose of school and the role of the teacher

gaylecosby

What's happening with public education in Indianapolis.

Jonathan Camac

Student of Life. Advocate for serious joy in Christ.

Holy and Chic Mama

A motherhood and lifestyle blog

The happy Quitter!

It started when I gave up smoking and went from there!

gadflyonthewallblog

"To sting people and whip them into a fury, all in the service of truth."

MakeItUltra™

Psychology to Motivate | Inspire | Uplift

What's for Dinner Moms?

Creativity for my life.

Ellie on the AT

A Baby's Trek on the Appalachian Trail

A Drop of Mocha

A Teacher of Color's Perspective on Education, Teaching, and Life

The Insatiable Traveler

Embrace Adventure. World Travel | Award-winning Photography| Inspiration | Tips

Butterfly Mind

Creative Nonfiction by Andrea Badgley

Discover

A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

The Nothing Expert

The Nothing Expert's Guide to School

Life 101

What They Didn't Teach You in High School

Two Fat Americans

Eating & Drinking Our Way Around The World (While doing some other fun things too)

%d bloggers like this: