This week is observation week. As a teacher who generally had children who made good progress across a year the word struck terror in my heart. It stopped my brain, I could not think of how to teach, I just seemed to go blank. I knew that the people coming to observe just wanted to see my normal lessons and only wanted to confirm that I was doing OK. However much they said, “Don’t do anything special. Just carry on as normal. Pretend we’re not here,” my heart raced, my hands went sweaty and I panicked.
Over the years I have had student teachers in my class, I have carried out lots of observations. I have looked for the positive, I have tried to offer constructive criticism. I have seen some lessons that have not worked and been able to console and sympathise and encourage as students have reflected on how they would do things differently next time.
Tomorrow is different. I am observing my colleagues. I have said the same platitudes that were said to me; I mean them as no doubt they were meant when they were said to me. I expect that some of them are still dreading me walking into their classroom. To them, I’m sorry. I know how well you teach whilst assessing and managing any behaviour issues. Tomorrow is just another day. I am still the same person who often wanders in whilst you are teaching; it’s just that this time you know I’m coming.
If it’s any consolation I’m slightly nervous too; I know how hard you work and how brilliantly you teach and run your classrooms and I don’t want my presence to upset that. Please carry on as normal, don’t do anything different, there is no need to pretend I’m not there – use me.
Perhaps I should take in chocolate biscuits and offer to make the tea.