I had my first classroom observation today. The first. Ever.
I'm in my fourth year of teaching, but I didn't take a normal route to the classroom. I took one education class at my community college; I decided then that I didn't want to be a teacher. In my second year at NC, my then-boss asked me to start a writing class for our international seniors. The next year, I began teaching ESL. I've worked my way up to two ESL classes, yearbook, speech, and a study hall that may as well be biology. (Trust me, I'm not too effective as a biology teacher!)
Since I never had any formal teacher training, I missed out on the whole student teaching experience. I don't know why I was never observed in the past three years, but I wasn't.
This year, my boss decided to be more intentional about getting into the classroom--and today, it was my turn to be observed. While I wasn't overly nervous about it, it had been on my mind all week. We're in the middle of a parts of speech overview in my Intermediate ESL class, and at the end of last week, I realized that today would be the day we'd get to articles. I love teaching articles, as I've taught them for the past four years, and I really feel confident in my lesson.
So yesterday, I gave a pronoun quiz . . . and when I graded the quiz, I realized that my class didn't understand pronouns as well as I thought they did. I thought about spending today's class fully explaining pronouns--but then I would have had to go into subjective and objective case, and they don't have a clue about objects or predicate nouns or anything like that yet. At midnight, I still didn't know what I was going to do today.
I finally decided to go over pronouns a little bit, then introduce articles. Today was also the day for the weekly vocab quiz and journaling, so I figured I'd have enough material for the 50 minutes. I got everything laid out on my desk in the order I'd need it--much more organized than normal!
Then my boss walked into the room. I still didn't have butterflies, but my hands started shaking! The opening, quiz, and pronoun lesson went well. Then I went to start on articles and couldn't find my notes! My heart seriously stopped. Inside, I was totally panicking, although I think I covered pretty well by moving on to the journal assignment. As the students wrote down the assignment, I found my notes . . . exactly where they were supposed to be. The articles lesson went pretty well, but we still had about 10 minutes left, so I gave them study time. I hope that was OK . . .
My boss left with a couple minutes of class time remaining, and I felt like a giant weight had been lifted. After class, I ran into another teacher in the hall, and she asked if the boss had been observing me. When I told her he had, she said she always feels sick when he walks into her classroom--and she's been teaching for 20-some years!
I'm SO glad it's over, though I'm not too excited about reading the evaluation. (He has plenty of material--he brought his laptop in, and he was typing the entire time he was in the room.)
I hope this observation thing doesn't happen very often!
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