Observations

So the other day, one of my co-teachers told me that the next day we would be observed by the principal. She informed me we were going to ‘back up’ in the curriculum and do a lesson from there.  (For you non-teachers, that basically means to teach a lesson the kids already know so they and teacher looks good.)

I was speechless. I had heard stories of coaching the students from other volunteers at other schools, but never here. My teachers even alluded to it before, but said they rejected the very idea.

We got an email at the beginning of the month from TLG saying they were going to observe all of us in school and interview our host homes in February. This announcement caused a lot of anxiety in the program because, well, no one likes to be observed or critiqued.

So my host mom cleaned the house like never before.  Either I’m getting used to the bathroom or it was cleaned and straightened up to American bathroom standards.

Having taught for several years before, observations are not that big a deal for me… usually. My worry now is which teacher they will observe me with. One is awesome. She integrates me in the lessons; she lets me do what I do best. Another seems to teach to me to try to impress me (or practice) with her English ability.  Yet another is trying really hard, but gets so frustrated with the overwhelming pressure to not only teach them English, but to do so at a very rapid pace. And the fourth, oh the fourth. Her classes are a shit show. It’s as if at times she is oblivious to students even being in the room. Zero classroom management…ZERO.  Once we walked in to a full-scale brawl in the room. They separated them, turned their backs and the kids started fighting again! It was bananas! And worst of all, she doesn’t use me. I feel like a very expensive, shiny, unused toy in her classes. So bottom line, if TLG observes me in her class, I’m screwed.

Which could have greater implications for my long-term plans. TLG just recently announced that current volunteers could request to stay an additional semester. Okay. I need more, but baby steps. However, if this observation goes poorly, it could potentially affect my extension status. Which would mean I would have to rethink my entire strategy (more on that in the next post).

I don’t mind the theory of observations, but in these instances, there is no standard method of observations. For example, just using the TLG observations, we don’t know what we are being ‘observed’ on. They aren’t observing us according the same age group. So since the objectives are unclear, it could be a skewed or biased observation, that for some (me) could have profound consequences.

***

He’s watching me watching you watching him
watching me.
I’m watching you watching him watching me
watching Stares.
He’s watching me watching you watching him
watching me.
He’s watching me watching you watching
the trains go by.
He’s watching me watching you watching him
watching me.
He’s watching me watching you watching him watching me.
He’s watching me watching you watching him watching me watching him watching.

Watching Me Watching You, Jethro Tull

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