Monday, November 28, 2011


photo   © 2008   bottled_void , Flickr
 My stomach is in a knot, my legs won't stop bouncing, and my fingers have been gnawed to a stub status. I have graded papers, check assessments to make sure that I'm managing appropriate intervention groups, and I've analyzed data to make sure that my students are making growth. I have given thanks for the amazing blessings in my life, filled my tummy with turkey and dressing, and have surrounded myself with loved ones. The stress and nerves are still there.

Report cards? Yes, those loom in the near future but they are only a loud blip on my radar.

Holiday craziness? Well, that's a given this time of year but my students are fairly focused.

No....I am being observed.

Bum...Bum my peers.

Not once, not twice, but three times tomorrow. I know that I should think of it as a compliment but I can't help but worry that I won't live up to expectations. What if my year off left me in the dust on new teaching techniques. Will they find something useful and helpful in what I do? I have analyzed my lesson plans and have given thought to all the possible things that could happen during each lesson.

Then, I took a step and realized that nothing goes according to plan in the classroom. That's how those teachable moments happen right? We are all very supportive in my building and we all learn and grow from each other. Maybe it's the perfectionist and overachiever in me...but I want everything to run smoothly and to feel like I contribute to others learning because I gleam so much from watching all of them.

I have an amazing principal who works a day into each month for teachers within the building to observe their peers. She calls it Collegial Learning and I have grown as a teacher because of it. I enjoy seeing how other teachers approach their craft, how they set up their rooms, and how they interact with their students. I scribble notes on my note pad, eager to pull every ounce of knowledge from the masters that surround me. But, when it's my nerves act up and I begin to question how and why I approach things the way I do. The people observing me may learn something, but I am definitely doing some reflecting of my own before and after my lessons.

Tomorrow will be a growing experience for me in many ways. When it is done, I will take a breathe....gather feedback from my peers...reflect...and then begin to stress about report cards. It never ends does it? Thankfully, I love what I do and wouldn't change it for the world. Happy Report Card Season and good luck!


  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    I agree that having other people observe your classroom can be a stressful thing, but I think it's awesome that your principal allows teachers to to do that once a month! I know I always learn so much when I observe other teachers. I wish I got more of a chance to do that at my school! I'm sure you'll do an awesome job! :)

    Jee Young

  2. Stay focused on your students and you will show your peers why students love learning in your class. Nerves are always there but once the lesson starts I always forget the observers are there. I say, "Good luck tomorrow," but you don't need luck, you will be great and they will learn so much. I love reading your posts and studying the craft you put into each and everyone. Have a GREAT day!

  3. Thank you for letting us peek into your head. I can relate to what you are feeling. No matter how well I am prepared I still get nervous. I wonder if it happens regularly it would become less stressful. Your school has taken super positive approach to PD by allowing teachers to observe each other. What a great way to learn and then have meaningful discussions.
    Tomorrow will be a great day,

  4. You captured those nerves so well in this piece. I totally understand where you are coming from. But as you have described how much you enjoy observing your fellow teachers and learning from them, I'm sure they feel the same observing you! And what a forward thinking principal you have--scheduling time for observing each other. I love that!

    Enjoy your time tomorrow--you have reflected on your own teaching--which I'm sure is part of the plan. Now, do what you love and all will be well.

  5. It's so difficult for teachers to find time to watch each other & that's when the best learning takes place! What a great principal you have, & what collegiality it must bring. You seemed to work your way through the nerves in your writing & come to the happy conclusion that you can do this, & do it well. The fact that you're scribbling notes & are so worried that it won't be okay is exactly why it will be great. I suspect that's why you're a terrific teacher, too! Best wishes for having fun with visitors. Don't you think your students will enjoy it too?

  6. Now I'm nervous too...but I know there's no reason to be. You will be fabulous. Breathe and eat a treat tonight. It will be fine. :)
    Happy teaching,

  7. You really captured how teachers feel when they are being observed. It still gets my heart pumping. Trust yourself.:)

  8. Wow, what a wonderful opportunity for your building! I wish I had such a chance to observe some of the great teachers I know are all around me! I agree with elsie -- focus on your kids and you'll forget anyone's even watching! (I totally feel your nervousness though!)

  9. I love that your principal finds this is important and sets aside time for that. Having said that, I am always super nervous when I'm observed by other teachers. I'm sure you will do well but totally get the nerves. Good luck!

  10. The fact that you care so much is precisely why you are a good teacher--you are truly reflective. I have no doubts that you will blow them away (whether they admit it to you or not).

  11. I've always loved that open lab classroom concept -- observing peers to learn from each other, even though we know that judgmental jab is always there to get us. Once you get going with your routines in your class, everything will just flow the way it does every day. Sure there are curve balls and you'll need to be the nurse, then psychologist, and then the shoe lace knot fixer . . . but that's every day life in a classroom! The other teachers get that because they live it every day. Most important, be reflective. Learn from the experience. Sounds like you already will -- best of luck anyways. :)

  12. So how did it go? I bet they loved it and I bet you ended up loving having someone to share the process (and product of your hard work) with. It is nerve racking to anticipate, but is always better than you think... did you find this to be true?

  13. Hoping it was a good experience and worth the nerves! Those who are so conscientious usually meet expectations, even if they are not their own!

  14. Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I work with amazing peers who were supportive and encouraging with their feedback. They even took some gems along with them....who would have guessed it? Next time I'll hopefully be the one observing.

  15. I hope your day felt good to you - what a gift to teaching, to your students and colleagues.