Recently, I conducted a peer observation on a member of the Staff at my school. It was an interesting process, and one that was valuable to me as a new administrator. As part of the evaluation, we were required to record our post observation conference. Due to some district rules, I was only allowed to audio tape the meeting. With the assignment, I will be answering some basic questions about how the observation conference went and what I saw.
What strengths and/or improvement areas did you notice about the environment and tone of the post-observation?
In my district and school, observation conferences are almost unheard of. Throughout my tenure at this school, I have not been given the opportunity to have either a pre-observation or post-observation conference with my administrative team. Within that same framework, observations are often very short (less than 10 minutes) and conferences only occur if their is some disciplinary action attached to the observation. My observation was somewhat set at opposition to these established norms. In order to accommodate our varying teaching schedules, I scheduled the post-observation conference as a lunch meeting. Over lunch, our meeting was less formal than traditional observation meetings.
What strengths and/or improvement areas did you notice in the conference about strategies to improve instruction?
The major issue that I noticed was my inability to carefully articulate what I saw in the classroom. This is something that I need to work on in the coming days and months. As I was debriefing with the teacher, I realized that in order to suggest areas for improvement and growth, you have to be able to explain what you saw and what you would like to see in terms of the strategies that you list. Without the two visuals, it is difficult to examine what is going on in the classroom and how to grow from it. The teacher that I observed did a great job of working through a number of strategies as we talked and settled on a couple of simple fixes to meet her needs.
In the conference, which behavior did you seem to predominantly use? Do you think this was an appropriate approach given the developmental level of the teacher? Briefly explain. Consider the Continuum of Behaviors (Directive, Non-directive, Collaborative).
This observation and conference was setup to be done in a Collaborative set of behaviors. Partially setup by my role in the administration, the feeling when I enter the room is that I am there to help teachers to develop in their practice (which is considerably different from the mentality when administrators enter the room). I think that the collaborative approach was great for the teacher that I was observing. This teacher has had a lot of training in the past an has a number of tools to draw from. The collaborative approach allows us to work together with the knowledge and skills that the teacher already brings.
Overall, I think that the observation was productive and I am looking forward to completing more as my training continues.