Today I had a final lesson observation for the year. Thankfully I did better than my last one, but it's made me reflect a little on my teaching style.
Constructive criticisms from my last obs were that I didn't push the students enough, so that the more able students were challenged to go beyond the set exercises and tasks. Hmmm, as all our students work from work books I was concerned that if I digressed during an observed lesson I would be penalised for not sticking to the criteria. I was also criticised for helping too much - demonstrating or giving answers too readily when asked a question.
After that obs, I felt extremely deflated and yes, upset. I didn't want to be a satistfactory teacher, but a good, if not outstanding one. I told myself that the scoring system for the observation was flawed and demotivating.
But as a result, I did rethink my strategies. I noticed that with my children I too readily do things for them, instead of encouraging them to work things out for themselves. I started to hang back from giving information too freely, but rather encouraging both my students and my children to try that little bit harder to work it out for themselves. Reflecting on today's experience, I think that whilst I really dislike the grading system for observations, it has made me rethink my teaching strategies, and ultimately, I think it has made a better learning environment for my students.
My final thoughts then are that perhaps observations do serve a purpose and do have a place in developing better teachers, but that they need to go hand in hand with positive support and suggestions, and yes, encouragement for the teacher themselves. After all, a good teacher should still be learning, just at a different level to their students.