Saturday, October 1, 2011

Insider's Look: Typical CalState Teach Observation

On Wednesday, September 28th, Peter Krasa came to observe me at Chabot Elementary. He's my supervisor for the program. My description of how this all played out will not necessarily tell you how other supervisors in the program set themselves up, but it will definitely show you some common elements with respect to the observation.

Each term is about 4 months long. Peter observes me once per month. Peter always sets himself up in the very back of the classroom. He's on his laptop and recording his notes on a template. After my observation is complete, he busts out this super slim printer. He prints out his notes that he recorded on a template. This is what all two pages of the template look like:

The organization of the template is pretty simple. The substance of this document is in the 'Applicable TPE(s)' section and the 'Comments' section. TPE stands for Teacher Performance Expectation. The only reason why this is important is to know that you satisfy them. However, to be honest, I don't actually think of these when I teach. But, it would have been nice to have each of these backed up with examples as opposed to just having a single 'X' in a box.

In the 'comments' section, Peter states specifically what he saw in the lesson that he found effective. I notice that Peter always gives me positive feedback. I appreciate this because I want to continue the behaviors that are conducive to good teaching. However, I also like to be criticized. I want to know what I'm not doing well.

Although there is not nominally a section to describe what you are not doing well in, I think that it is implied in the 'Questions' and 'Ideas' section to some extent. Also, the 'Questions' and 'Ideas' section gives the supervisor an opportunity to make suggestions to you.

And then, finally, he provides a summary of his assessment of you at the end of the observation template (i.e. “Site Visitation Form”).

After I complete the implementation of my lesson and he finishes typing and printing his notes, he gives me a chance to read them. Then, we go over the observation form. He elaborates to the extent he feels necessary and gives me an opportunity to ask him about or respond to his comments, questions, and ideas. And, that's about it.

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