Accessibility Links

How To Prepare For An Observation

14/10/15

Observations are a fact of life for teachers and it can be a stressful time. Sam, an experienced teacher, has put together some tips to help you prepare.

With our delightful paperwork trail in education at the minute, there are many ways an observation can take place. Formal observations conducted by a line manager can take place 3 times a year. Some observations last 20 miutes or a full less and can be used in performance management reviews. Learning walks and drop-ins are often carried out by senior management and require no formal feedback. Of course, there is the dreaded OFSTED that we have no influence over. There is also the informal peer observations, which focuses more on colleagues helping each other. In fact, I find these informal ones quite useful as you the experience of other people in the room without it being a formal event. It helps build confidence.

Whichever the observation may be, the key to success is not to try anything vastly different. I’ve taught in a failing school, rural schools, outer London schools and an academy with a strict focus on learning walks. So in my time as a teacher, I've had a lot of formal and informal observations.

When I was a new teacher, I often wanted to show off all my skills in one lesson, plan far too much and then it all goes a bit ‘Pete Tong’. My advice; do what you do normally. You’ll be more comfortable and what you’re pupils will be used to. Many teachers get upset that in the 20 minute observation, their best planning weren’t seen, so I usually have my plan available in full so it can be read. Other than that, the following should be available or planned every lesson, so this shouldn’t be extra work when you get an observation.

• Register with pupil data
• Seating plan with pupil data
• Objective on the board
• Optional lesson plan
• Any school policies you have such as student leaders/gifted and talented/levelling/Red-amber-green knowledge cards, in use in the lesson, and not just as a bolt on for the observation. These should be used regularly so pupils are used to them.

In short, an observation isn’t a showcase of a one off lesson. Be confident on your usual teaching ability and continue as normal. Don’t spend hours trying to plan, prepare and therefore get tired and stressed. My best observations have been when I’m relaxed.

Did you find these tips useful? Do you have any to share? Share them with us via Twitter and Facebook

Add new comment
*
*
*
Autism Awareness Week: Raising Money Through Art
Autism Awareness Week: Raising Money Through Art
The Key Stage Two and Three students at NAS’s Thames Valley School have collaborated artistically to create a vibrant installation which displays their favourite b
Read blog
02/04/19
What's The Point Of Poetry: World Poetry Day Special
What's The Point Of Poetry: World Poetry Day Special
“What’s the point of poetry?” said the starling to the bat.” - Michael Palin That line is taken from a poem from the very first poetry book I bo
Read blog
20/03/19
World Book Day Activities For Your School And Classroom
World Book Day Activities For Your School And Classroom
Tomorrow is World Book Day and this is a great opportunity to celebrate reading and books, beyond dressing up for the day… bring a taste of literature and the pl
Read blog
06/03/19

CPD REC Investors in People UKAS