If you're a teacher, you know that classroom observations are part of the routine. In most cases, you'll have at least one observation each school year. However, if your school administration utilizes classroom walkthrough software, you can expect more frequent observations. That's because the software makes observations easier to accomplish, which allows for increased classroom visits. While it's easy to prepare for scheduled observations, those random observations can throw you off your game, especially if you're not prepared. Here are four tips that will help you be prepared for each and every classroom observation.
Utilize Every Surface of the Room
When it comes to engaging your students, you want to utilize every surface in the room. Blank spaces, or spaces that aren't properly utilized for learning, encourage kids to zone out and lose focus. Unfortunately, when your students zone out and lose focus, you can lose control of the classroom observation. To reduce that risk, include items on your walls to help with your lessons. Post study guides and other vital information throughout your room. If you teach English, post vocabulary words or frequently misspelled words on the walls. If you teach math, post equations that you're currently working on. That way, when your students stare at the wall, they'll have something to learn from.
Prepare a Permanent Location
If you don't have a space in your room that's reserved for classroom observations, you should take care of that as soon as possible. That way, when your observer walks into the room, they have a permanent location to observe from. This space should include everything they'll need during their observation, including a copy of your current study plan. The reserved space also allows your students to prepare for the observations since the space becomes a normal part of the classroom environment.
Provide Classroom Documentation
During the observation, your administrator will be looking for key factors regarding your ability to engage your students. To make sure you're prepared, create a portfolio for your classroom documentation. This portfolio should include copies of previous lesson plans so that your observer can see what your students have been learning. If you have a classroom management plan — which you should have — place a copy of that with your documentation as well.
Keep Your Students Well-Informed
Students don't always behave at their best when the classroom environment changes. Unfortunately, that can translate into problems during observations, especially if you don't keep your students well-informed. To avoid those problems, discuss observations with your students so that they know what to expect during the meetings.
If your school uses classroom walkthrough software, use these tips to help you improve your observations and avoid becoming flustered.