I must admit, today's question had me confused. Discuss one "observation" area you'd like to improve on for your teacher evaluation? Huh? What's an "observation" area?
After a bit more thought, it dawned on me that perhaps I was confused because this is not my evaluation year. And that, perhaps, in other jurisdictions, teacher evaluations happen yearly, making this a logical question for some teachers, but not for me. And maybe, in those jurisdictions, there are specific areas of observation that must be checked off by admin. This is not how our district works. In fact, I have not been formally evaluated since my second year of teaching. You see, our union negotiated a clause that allows teachers to choose between a formal evaluation and a Professional Growth Plan, which is essentially a year-long learning project in a teacher's area of interest (that they aren't really the same thing doesn't seem to be a major issue around here). Last year, the Lit Pit was my project and this blog the record of what I learned. Turns out, I'm still learning!
So, in response to this question I would like to share one of my deeply held beliefs about teaching and evaluating - if you're doing it for the evaluation, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. This particular belief actually got me in to trouble - ! - during my practicum because I told my instructor that I didn't need to make an "appointment" to be evaluated, he was welcome in my classroom anytime. Apparently this was a new concept to him. But fundamentally I believe that if you aren't doing your best, if you aren't trying to be the best teacher you can be every minute of every day then you are doing your students (and yourself) a disservice. Sure, there a times - lots of times! - when it will be less than perfect, but aren't those the best times to get feedback? Aren't those the best times to have a second set of eyes and ears to say "Ummm, about that..."? Granted, this can be nerve-wracking if your position/salary/seniority is riding on the evaluation but, trust me, if you're the type of teacher that subscribes to this belief, your worst lesson is miles ahead of many others. If you hold this belief, you are always reading new things, always evaluating how that last lesson went, always tweaking, always reflecting. You will fly through your evaluation because you will know exactly where that lesson went sideways and what you would change for next time.
So, if I were to be evaluated this year, what area would I focus on? None of them and all of them. I would constantly be trying new teaching methods, reflecting on my lessons, reflecting on my practice, trying to be the teacher that creates those aha! moments for kids, that lights a fire in their little souls, a passion for learning that (hopefully) will never leave them. I sure as heck won't be worried about my evaluation.
Get out there and kill it today, friends.
I'm Bryn, teacher, mom, book lover, athlete. I am passionate about literacy, collaborative teaching and finding new and innovative ways to engage & motivate all kids. I hope you find something that speaks to you here on my blog and would love to hear from you too!