This week included me taking over classes as well as my first observation.  Having a formal observation can seem like a daunting thing for some, but I try to look at the positive side of it.  With someone in the classroom, able to see the interaction between teacher and students from a different vantage point, it allows for great discussions on new tips and best practices for the classroom.  In my case, it served as a nice reminder of some activities that I can use in the classroom to keep the students engaged.

I think its important though that we include some form of classroom observations from time to time as it is a great way to stay accountable for our strategies in the class.  Adapting to new students can be difficult, but communicating with other teachers about them is imperative in order to understand the various personalities.

So I’ve realized that observations are an essential way to keep the conversation open.  After doing the observations, it might be good to create some sort of document or list with best practices used by other educators in the building.  By doing this, teachers can possibly have some level of uniformity with their classrooms, which will help students out in the long run.  When students don’t have a clear set of expectations, then they start to go astray.  This makes an open line of communication among those in a school even more important.

About Pat

Pat Riley is student teaching at Amundsen High School in Chicago's Lincoln Square neighborhood for the fall of 2010. He will be teaching Contemporary American History, starting just before the Civil War, as he works towards his Type 9 certificate with an endorsement in History and hopefully Business. Previously, he worked in public relations and business development for a law firm in Chicago, but decided his passion was education. Prior to working in public relations and business development, Mr. Riley received a B.S. in Kinesiology with a focus in Sports Marketing from Indiana University. Follow his blog at Musings on Apples and Education.
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