Observing Experienced Teachers by @MrTRoach

Name: Tim Roach
Twitter name: @MrTRoach
Sector: Primary
Subject taught (if applicable):
Position: Year 6 teacher and English lead
What is your advice about? Observing experienced teachers

1: Give a week’s notice before asking to observe a teacher. Some will welcome you at short notice, but it’s an etiquette thing.

2: Talk to the teacher about the lesson objective and any significant areas of note. Consider one area to focus on: behaviour management, teacher modelling, AfL, questioning etc.

3: Take a pen and notepad or tablet to make notes. You will not be able to remember everything useful you observe.

4: Get involved. When the pupils are practising, go and sit with them and talk to them about their learning.

5: After the lesson, talk to the teacher about how they thought it went, ask questions and look at the children’s work. And remember to thank them!

Observations by @theprimaryhead

Name: None given
Twitter: @theprimaryhead
Sector:  Primary
Subject: All subjects
Position: Headteacher
5 Bits of Advice About: Observations

  1. Welcome them. Relish the opportunity to have an extra pair of eyes in the room to help you analyse the effectiveness of your teaching.
  2. Ask questions. Make sure that during feedback you contribute. Ask questions about things you tried out or elements that you want to improve.
  3. Ask more questions. Make sure your observer tells you how their ‘suggestions’ will improve your teaching. Ask what would doing x look like over time.
  4. Make them count. If, after the observation, there are things to develop, work out how you’re going to put them into action. Ask the observer to help and come back later.
  5. Observe. Ask to get out of your class and see others teach too. Try to visit other teachers in different schools as well.

Observations by @MrLearnwell

Name: MrLearnwell
Twitter: @MrLearnwell
Sector:  Primary
Subject: All subjects
Position: Deputy Head
5 Bits of Advice About: Observations

  1. Pay little attention to cynical older teachers, observations are a chance to move forward with your teaching.
  2. Prepare well, but teach as you would normally. Don’t stress yourself out, you are meant to be making mistakes
  3. Attitude is often more important than aptitude so be humble. You will have development points, a good observer will try and lead you to realising these.
  4. Ask questions. You are learning to do a difficult thing.
  5. Make whatever your development points are the focus of your efforts for the next term. Your observer will want to see them improving in the next observation.

Observations by Anonymous

Name: Anonymous
Twitter: None given
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: None given
Position: Head of Department
5 Bits of Advice About:  Observations

  1. Remember the observer is ticking boxes on a form: get a blank copy in advance to help you plan what they can tick!
  2. Ensure classes are aware of your routines eg where and when to find MWBs / glue etc. Transitions between activities are tricky to manage without clear routines.
  3. Try to smile and come across as relaxed. This could involve Oscar-worthy acting, but do it!
  4. Are there school-wide expectations for lessons, eg obs displayed throughout; silent writing; No Hands Up etc? If so, build them in so you’re not criticised for not doing them.
  5. When given feedback, ask, ‘How would you have done that differently?’ – both for your development and to give the observer a box to tick next time (acts on advice).

Observations by @Bigkid4

Name: Bigkid
Twitter: @Bigkid4
Sector:  Secondary
Subject: Maths
Position: Teacher
5 Bits of Advice About:  Observations

  1. Find out what the observers are looking for.
  2. Give them what they want.
  3. Don’t confuse a great observation with great teaching. All too often they’re not the same thing at all.
  4. A great observation is one after which the outcome is you being left alone to get on with the job of teaching.
  5. A bad observation is one that necessitates further observations.