I got observed today and it totally freaked my students out. We were doing a new lab–a lab even I had never tried before–so my Supervisor just wandered around and talked with the students about what they were doing. I completely ignored her because I have to teach and make sure everything is going well so I don’t have time to think about the critical eye that is staring at my back.
Some of the students would come up and whisper to me things like:
“Did you see that there’s someone staring at you?”
“Are you getting evaluated right now? Are we screwing things up for you?”
When she left about an hour later, one of the students came up to me and asked why I would do something I have never done before when my Supervisor is in the room. I asked why he thought her presence would make any difference in what I do on a daily basis. He said that his “other teachers” [side note: that is one of my least favorite phrases] make these huge lessons, prep the class in advance for what their expected behavior is supposed to be, and is a totally different teacher during the block when they are being evaluated. I explained that nothing should change just because we have a visitor in the room. If I am doing something wrong, I want her to find it and help me correct it. I am in no way perfect, and am always striving to improve. I bring the awesome every day and I expect the same of my students.
The best advice I can give any new teacher is bring the awesome every day. Invite your administrators in when you are trying something new so you can get meaningful feedback. Invite your colleagues to come to. Share what you are doing often and incorporate the best practices you find around you.