Saturday, November 6, 2010

Teacher observation and post conference write up

Enthalpy profile of an endothermic reactionImage via WikipediaA two-piece post. Look for the second part at my other site

I observed an 8th grade Science class. This specific class was a lab to determine if temperature changes increase chemical reactions and whether a reaction is endothermic or exothermic.
For the post-observation conference I pulled the teacher out of her lunch period, because we had had so many scheduling conflicts it wasn’t funny. She was very good-natured about it.  She choose to sit next to me instead of across the table, but that may have been just so her back wasn’t to the camera.
We both share space in the “new teacher” office, so we know each other fairly well. She is normally a very reserved and quiet person. During the conference she was also trying to eat lunch.  Halfway through the discussion as I was asking her questions such as “why did you choose that method”, and “how could you have done it differently” she became noticeably more animated. She stopped eating, made direct eye contact, and leaned into her words. She spoke confidently, using sound supporting arguments for what and how she taught, yet still seemed open to the idea that her choices were just that, choices. That another teacher could have taught the lesson differently and have been just as effective.
Though this teacher is only in her third year, I would probably consider her, as Glickman termed it, a “solid” teacher.  She has an excellent grasp of her content and teaches a strong lesson.  She is happy to be observed and I think willing to examine her own teaching style and look for improvements.
During the post observation interview I found it very productive to point out her strengths. (She seemed genuinely surprised) Then I asked her how she thought the lesson went. I asked a few clarifying questions to get her thinking. There weren’t any problems to fix, but if I were her supervisor I might have asked her what areas she thought she could or would work on and how she could do so before our next observation.
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