Sitting in my mailbox this afternoon was a big white envelope. Inside was my “First Year Faculty Class Observation.” The head of the upper school observed me in late October and this was the fruits of that labor.
Part I of the document was a brief description of the lesson or class.
Part II of the document were commendations and areas of strength.
Part III of the document were recommendations and areas of growth.
I won’t bore you with Part I. And honestly, Part III is interesting only to a certain degree. It does have some very helpful suggestions (e.g. have a good method to close up class to tie everything together) but most were things like “you had students use the calculator in class… how were you making sure they could use it at home without you there” (the implication is that I didn’t have a way to do this, but in fact, I post very explicit instructions for them online so they can refer to them).
So I’m posting Part II below. It doesn’t really scream “you’re wonderful,” but hey, I’ll take the good in whatever form I can get it.
Part II: Commendations/Areas of Strength
Throughout the class you maintained a positive tone that encouraged students to participate in the work you had laid out.
Your carefully planned PowerPoint reinforced different learning styles and helped the students remain focused as new material and tools were being introduced.
You comfortably moved around the room to monitor student progress as they began to work with the graphing calculator and you offered helpful feedback along the way.
You used simple hand gestures to tell a student to hold her question as you finished giving instructions to the whole class and then you returned to listen to the question once the class had begun to work independently.
You demonstrated your understanding of the material and supported your students in their own burgeoning understanding by reinforcing prior learning and connecting it to the new topic. For example, asking students to describe what they had already learned about [the] zero and then making the connection to [the] zero as a function, or drawing a graph and asking “what would be the zero of this function?” When [student name redacted] was unable to answer the question, you reminded her about what she already knew, so she could regain her confidence and telling her “don’t apologize” [for not remembering].
You have already taken time to meet with [the US Learning Specialist] in the learning skills deparment to review the educational testing and instructional needs of various students. Your interest in reviewing this important information is an excellent habit to develop in what I hope will be a long and successful teaching career.