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Sunday, April 16, 2006

0bserving has never made me feel uncomfortable before, but...

Upon leaving a classroom we were 0bserving for my education class, my professor commented, "this classroom is run...very differently than what we have been reading about."  And it certainly was.  It was, in many ways, the polar opposite of what we have been reading about.

But as I was writing up my comments on the 0bservation, I began to think how very easy it is to criticize from my vantage point.  After all, I'm in the class for an hour, watch one lesson, and leave.  While I'm there I sit in the corner with my little notebook, writing down what I see and hear.  I don't have to respond to anything (at this point, at least), I don't have to really think.  I just have to sit there and be.  What right do I really have to criticize the teacher?  She's been teaching for what, 20 years?  I'm still a few years away from the possibility of having my own classroom.  And yet, that is what I have been assigned to do.  Not to criticize exactly, but to sit in the corner and and write down what I see, and then later make judgements on what I think it all means.

In all the 0bserving I have done before, the act of judging the way I am has never felt particularly uncomfortable to me.  But now it does.  Perhaps part of the reason is, in all of the classes I have 0bserved in the past I have found at least some, if not mostly, good things to say.  In this class though I am struggling to find one positive thing to say.  I guess some good things are: the students follow directions, there is not mass chaos, the classroom looks pretty.

I want to find more positive things to say in my notes, so that I don't feel as guilty when I say negative things.  But I can't find other positive things to say about the way the teacher runs the class.  I want to, but I can't. 

I guess I will do the best I can, giving some attention to any positives I come up with, while still pointing out the methods I don't agree with.  And I will try not to feel too guilty for judging in an area I don't really feel justified judging, since it is an assignment and I have to do it.


Blogger NYC Educator said...

Your post makes me very curious as to what was wrong with the class. But it's not your job to say good things beyond what you observed, and it's not your fault if the class wasn't good.

You have every right to your opinion, and kids will benefit from a teacher with positive ideas about what makes a classroom work. I always hope my kid has teachers like that.

6:42 AM  
Blogger Not Quite Grown Up... said...

The class was just very much...you could tell the teacher had been trained at least 20 years ago, and was still using many of the same methods she was taught with. And she seemed to value "testing" in it's various forms way too much (coming from my liberal perspective).

2:27 PM  
Blogger nick said...


6:14 AM  

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