Tag Archives: dog and pony

The Art of Being Observed


Every year it happens…the official observation that one of your administrators must do so you can be evaluated about how good of a teacher you are.  There is always much discussion on this in teacher groups…no matter what subject you teach. Some teachers are all about the dog and pony show–changing lesson plans or adding in things that wouldn’t normally occur on that day.  Others take a more “I’m just gonna go about my business” type attitude.  This is how I teach, come and get it.  This latter camp is where I fall.

Yes, I choose the day based on what we are doing.  And yes, I try to have my observer come in during my best class.  But other than that, I don’t change a thing.  I try to ask for a date where we might be doing something other than just a complete work day, but if I don’t have one of those, I let the observer know and I roll with it.

I don’t agree with the dog and pony show.  I don’t understand stopping what you are doing to show some “home run” lesson. It doesn’t seem honest and authentic to me.  Why would I want an evaluation that isn’t really based on how I am as a teacher?  If it is not something I do everyday, then it’s not me.  I want to show what it is like in my classroom, every day.  I want to know if there are practices I am doing well or practices that need improvement.

I’ve heard some teachers say they show the admin what they want to see so that admin will just leave the teacher alone the rest of the time to do what they (teacher) thinks is good and what they want to do.  This doesn’t make sense to me either. Why would you want others to think you’re something you aren’t?  If you feel you have to change for an evaluation, why is that?  Are you not comfortable with how you run your classroom?

I had my formal observation last week.  I finally received the evaluation on it today.  It confirmed what I had known, that I was doing good things in my classroom.  She saw the learning and creativity that happens every day in room because we ran the room like we did every day.  Nothing changed.  My students did exactly what I thought they would–the participated, they talked, they joked around, they learned, they made art.  They did that the day before my observation.  And, they did it the day after.