The other day the Principal and a Vice Principal came into my room un-announced. Why? To do “informal observations”.
I was given no notice, no inkling — didn’t even know they were in this wing of our school.
And still during the middle of 6th period they popped in, each took a position on one side of the room — checksheet in hand — and they observed.
I was at the front of the room at the time just having finished up giving a cloze quiz about the current book we are reading. My front board was kinda blank but that’s only because I needed the space for the next part of class where I’d be using the white board to draw a few things, jot down some of their own notes, and blah, blah… you know, I was just planning on using my board.
Thing was, at the time when they walked in, I wasn’t really using the board.
And the fact is, I can’t say, all that much was going on other than the fact that every kid was in their seat with their head down working.
The P and the VP didn’t say boo to me. And they were really only in my room for less than 7 minutes. They took notes but I never saw them. They “observed” things but I have no idea what they noted. Essentially, they did a fly-by, took a snapshot of my class and left.
Of course, the paranoid person in me thinks, “Hey wait! That’s just a snapshot. You gotta stick around to see this great stuff I have planned for later in the class. And then you have to see how it fits in with this really cool thing I am gonna do next Tuesday. And when you take it in context of what we did last Wednesday and you see how it relates to what I have planned in February, it really will add up to something.”
But alas, all they saw was the snapshot. And I gotta say, I feel a bit cheated by it. I mean on one hand, yes, give me 5 minutes in a class and I can tell a great deal. I do believe that is true. From the sense of classroom management and so on, 5 minutes can “tell” a little bit.
But does it really “inform”? Naw. And when they do this silent, stealthy drop-in, drop-outs, is there a teacher on staff that ever really feels good about it?
What did they see?
Do I need to go explain myself?
Will what they saw be “used against me” at a later date?
Maybe they loved it? If so, it would boost my morale if they let me know.
Maybe they hated it? Well, how might I improve?
But silence? That’s the worst!
Was I just caught with my pants down?