Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Reflections on classroom observations

So, I spent two days with an English teacher observing ninth and tenth grade students. I was not going into this process with rose colored glasses but I was truly surprised how bad things are. The administration in this particular high school is a mess. They are so unorganized. Neither teachers or students have concrete schedules and it is the middle of October. My attitude toward the AP from last week has completely changed. She gave me a schedule for one teacher yesterday (which was incorrect) and when I approached her this morning she told me I needed to work out whatever I needed with the teacher she gave me yesterday. Her part of this was done. Nice.

Thankfully I was able to track down the nice English teacher I was working with yesterday and she had no problem with me shadowing her for the rest of the year. I told her I would speak with my boss and see how I can arrange my schedule. She gave me her personal email and told me to keep in touch.

The day was hampered by various interruptions including the PSAT which was being given to the eleventh and twelfth graders. The bell schedule was completely disrupted because they held up the test to allow late students entry. Not a good idea. The principle made an announcement during fourth period that the bell was being extended and the class I was in grew extremely restless. At one point the teacher I am working with had to block the students from leaving the classroom and a fight almost broke out between the teacher and a student. The student was this little ninth grade pipsqueak with a mouth bigger than the grand canyon. It was bad. Thankfully the bell rang. The experience left both the teacher and me rattled. I left a little early because the rest of my teacher's classes were cancelled due to the testing schedule. Now I truly know how some teachers get burnt out.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Observations Soon

To say time is flying would be an understatement. I start my observations next week. I met with the A.P. of a local high school last Thursday. To be honest I was a little nervous. The school has a rough reputation. I realized just how true that was when I saw the metal detectors at the student entrance. We don't have many of those here in the suburbs. Regardless, I liked the A.P. She was very down to earth in a comforting and practical kind of way. That was my first impression. She took a small group (4) of us on a tour of the school. She inisisted our observing experience would be hands on- we would not be sitting in a corner taking notes. She wants us to particpate and help out our assigned teachers. Not in grading papers or creating lesson plans, but in classroom dialogue and instruction. I felt kind of motivated hearing that but to be honest it will be up to the teacher I am assigned to be with. They might not be open to classroom observers. I have read that some teachers are very territorial of their classrooms. In any even it should be interesting.