School Observation Experience Essay

Classroom Observation Report

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The school that I visited was new. It was the first year of the school opening. The school board had combined two schools into one, so the students had to adjust to their new environments and new individuals. They seemed to be getting along well with each other. Since the school is new the teacher has to adjust to new problems that araise. Times for the subjects and times for using the computer labs change. So the teacher must always be fixable for anything. In this observation of this classroom I learned about the enjoyment of teaching. How you have to adapt to each of the students.

The teacher was happy and cheerful to all the students. She never had to yell at the students for doing wrong or doing badly on work. She gave praise to the students for doing well. Even when the students got off track from the question she ask. She would just say that was interesting and go back to the question she started with. All the students were exited to answer question with their hands swing in the air. When I first got to the classroom the desks were in groups and later were moved into rows. To cut down on some of the talking between the students. All eyes were on the teacher when she talked waiting in anticipation. The class was well organized and everything was in placed. The students had their own lockers in the classroom. They had time before class started and before lunch to get out what they might need for the day. The teacher keeps control of the classroom. They also had a set time for the subjects everyday. The main emphases of the classroom were on reading, writing, and math. All homework assignments were written on the board for all the students know what is do the next day. Students had homework folders to take home, so their parents know how their child was doing in school and had to sign the folder and return it.

When I first got to the classroom the students were doing a listening exercise and had to answer same question the teacher wrote on the board. At a certain time they all were allowed to go to the bathroom. Each student was given a responsibility in the classroom.

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Some were bathroom monitors, some passing papers out, and others organizers. If there was trouble in the bathroom the teacher ask the students to be honest. Tell her the truth about what had happen. If the students did not finish their homework they would have to stay in for recess.

One of the days that I did my observation the school had a dedication ceremony. Which had the mayor, senators, school board members, and parents there attending. The students were happier to see the mayor than anyone else. More than eighty percent of the class was involved with the choir. After the dedication ceremony the students were a back to their listening lesson.

Each day was a new experience for me. I don’t know how I would react to the children in the class or how open they would be to me. I found that the whole class was open and asking for my help. I ethereally enjoyed each and every one of them. I was able to interact with students by reading to them, helping with work, and sitting with them for lunch. There were three of the students that were always around me. Asking me question and asking for help. There was a Hispanic girl that had a difficult time with English. I could relate to her, because I know little English when I first got here. It didn’t stop her in any of her work. Which she did great work on. I saw myself when I was her age.



 

Schools of today hold a variety of challenges. First and foremost, schools should be learning communities where teacher improvement comes from a plethora of sources. Generally speaking, teachers often focus on the content, materials needed, and the activities necessary for the lesson (Roberts & Pruitt, 2003). Teachers, who plan usually plan in isolation, often worry more about covering a list of required content rather than focusing on true student learning. This type of teaching, in my opinion, is a one of the most tremendous challenges facing education today. Many of the teachers in the elementary grades at my school feel this pressure. Although we are to be teaching the same material at the same time as the other in our grade level, there is little planning time to help us focus on this. This fact, along with the adoption of Performance Standards, led me to see the need to introduce teachers to the idea of sharing ideas for lessons, reviewing student work samples, and planning cooperatively on a regular basis that focus walks and peer observations of classrooms.

     In contrast, schools operating under a community learning approach to planning for student achievement use teacher discussion as a springboard for improve teaching strategies. Along with this discussion brings about the need for observation of classroom teaching practices. Within my school’s context, most teachers only are observed by the principal for their state mandated “official” observations. Knowing this fact, I first chose to come up with a list of reasons for encouraging teachers within my school to become open to the idea of teacher observations within their classrooms. This list includes the following reasons for teacher observations.

 

  • Teacher observation nurtures a culture in which we can work in partnership and learn from one another.

  • By working together, we have a greater knowledge base and this fact strengthens our pedagogical beliefs.

  •  Teacher observation builds community and a sense of caring in our school.

  • Teacher observation increases common shared beliefs and gives teachers an understanding of what effective instructional practice looks like.   

     

     

     Roberts and Pruitt (2003) have stated that observation is a strategy that promotes learning by all those involved. From this process I have learned to encourage reflection and growth among others at my school and thus impacted the learning enviroment of my classroom, as well as that of others. It is important to note that I used the method of clinical supervision my method of observation. All parts, from the pre-conference, to the observation, and the post-conference were pertinent to the process of success of foster collegial relationships and collaboration. Being in this process of classroom observation has been an eye opening and rewarding experience for me. I think that I have found, as have the teacher that I observed, that our school needs to revisit the experiences we provide our students in summer school. Because of our school, which happens to be a Pre-K through 12th grade, is so small, we are limited in how many teachers we can afford to hire to teach students throughout summer school. I understand the limitation of money and having to group several students together. However, we really need to focus the learning on the weaknesses we see in our test scores. This is of the utmost importance if we are to help these students gain the few points that the need in order to be successful on the test.  

     I also have found that our school has very good teachers that want to grow and share ideas professionally. One of the best ways we can do this is to visit each others classrooms on a regular basis. Just something as simple as an observation or just looking at student work posted in and outside of the classroom is a way for each of us to learn from each other. I feel that the movement in education is to allow us to learn from each other so that we are a community of learners. I have even found that our high school, which has posted little student work in the past, is now displaying some student work with pride. Because of our K-12 status in the building that I teach in, we can all have an understanding of what is necessary for success at the next grade level and beyond.

   One thing that I take from this process that I intend on sharing with others is the fact that reflection is a positive thing. We can only move forward if we see that everything we do is not always the best way to do it. Many years ago during my first year of teaching, my principal told me that we need to take time at the end of each day to think about what worked, what did not work, and what changes might be effective. It took me several years to see the importance of this idea, but this only solidifies my understanding of this. While my skills of suggestion have always played a part in my guidance as a mentor teacher, I had to improve my listening skills for this activity. I would like to see others, as well as myself, use teacher observation as a learning tool to improve instructional practices and impact student achievement.     

References

Roberts, S. & Pruitt, E. (2003). Schools as Professional Learning Communities: Collaborative Activities and Strategies for Professional Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

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