As a teacher, it is important to always push your own personal development. Each group of students you teach is unique and challenges you in new ways. That is why targeted teacher observations are so valuable. They can provide you with insight into how to adjust your teaching practices to best serve the students you are working with this year. Here are three ways your practice can benefit from outside teacher observation.
#1 Insight Into Student Behavior
When you are teaching, your focus is on delivering the lessons and ensuring that the majority of students are engaged with the lesson. Over time, as you get to know your students, your observations of them are naturally colored by your relationships with them.
When you have an outside observer watch a lesson, they don't have a personal connection to your students in the same way that you do. This allows them to often spot trends in student behavior that may be difficult for you to spot on your own.
An outside observer may be able to give you strategies on how to engage a particularly challenging student. They may be able to spot and determine why certain students are not engaged in your lesson. For example, perhaps your students are engaged for the first ten minutes of your lesson, but lose their interest after that. You just need to shorten your side of your lessons in order to keep all students engaged.
#2 Insight into Expectations
Second, when you have someone else come into your classroom, they can help evaluate your expectations for your students. They can let you know if your expectations are too low or too high.
Perhaps your standards for students sitting still are too long for their age level. Or maybe you are letting your students get away with too much wiggling and movement during formal lesson time. Or perhaps your educational expectations for your students could be a little higher and you could push them a little more.
An outside observer can observe your expectations and then engage in a conversation with you about how your students are meeting those expectations. They can help you adjust behavioral and educational expectations to achieve greater results in the classroom.
#3 Insight into Goals
Finally, an outside observer can focus on particular goals that you have. Perhaps you are trying to increase student engagement or perhaps you are focusing on keeping your lectures shorter.
It is important to let your observer know what personal goals you are working on. They can let you know if you are meeting your education goals for yourself and provide you with insight and advice on how to further your professional growth and development.