Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SOLSC #19 Observation time

Two Writing TeachersSlice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC)

Isn't it the strangest thing to be observed, as a teacher?

It is, for me, an "out of body" experience.
I see myself moving, I watch myself speak and gesture.
I hear the questions that I ask and
I simultaneously reflect,
making myself tongue-tied,
wanting to take back the words,
wanting to rephrase,
wanting a re-do.
I hear the children's responses and
I attend to them,
trying to dialogue,
trying to extend the discussion,
trying to instigate thought,
but I am haunted by that hope of
wanting a re-do.
My thoughts accelerate.
I am everywhere at once.
Oh, let's back this up!
Let's begin again!
I feel hyper-sensitive to the children's interactions...
Have they ever been this off-task before? 
this unengaged? 
this rambunctious?
this loud? 
Yikes, what is going on?
Am I making any sense?
Am I being engaging?
Am I being joyful?
or do I look as ill-at-ease as I feel?
Yikes, what is going on?
Is time standing still?
Is this the longest forty minutes of my life?

Finally, her computer closes and she slips out of the room.
The observation is over.

But the day stretches out painfully in front of me still.
I just want to burrow,
to think about it,
to write some notes.

To no avail.

My colleague assures me,
it's never as bad as it seems.


  1. Being observed is an odd feeling, isn't it. Our students observe us every day, but when another adult--especially a supervisor sitting there to evaluate and judge--comes in with a computer or clipboard, it's a different story. I hope you hear many good comments from your observation today.

  2. The observation is a totally awkward situation that you captured through this poem. I cannot believe that we now have to endure the "pop-in" observation as well.

  3. Observations cause anxiety because they lack context, and of course because you feel micro-judged. Not a pleasant or even productive experience, because it is usually quite contrived and artificial, even as we're trying to behave as naturally as we can! I'm sure it went well -- it is truly never as bad as it seems!

  4. I had my obseration today, too. I know how you feel. I'e been thinking, well, at least there's probably a lot to learn from the way the lesson went...

  5. I was observed today too. You have captured that out-ot-body aspect of it so well. It is so odd to feel myself hovering over my shoulder seeing everything as a third person.

  6. Feel for you, Maureen. I imagine you do beautifully, and even so, I used to be very nervous, too. We don't have those formal/type evaluations, but I observe others and they observe me. It was a little nerve-wracking at first, but then I began to enjoy the feedback. Not to worry!!!