Monday, May 13, 2013

Observation Report

Dear Ms. Whitman:

On May 9th, I observed your second period ESL class. Your aim was "How Can We Apologize For Our Mistakes?" 21 students were present as the class commenced.

You opened the class by asking who had to go to the bathroom, and listed the names of five students on the board. While you were writing the names, the student in front of me took two wet paper towels and threw them at the blackboard, where they stuck, making a very loud "plop" sound. You appeared not to hear this and continued to elicit names of students who needed to go to the bathroom. 

As I confronted the student who threw the papers and wrote a dean's referral, you proceeded to take attendance. Though the students alternately raised their hands or called out, "here," you insisted they stand and say "present." This resulted in several confrontations and two students actually walking out of the classroom. Both times, when I walked out and brought the students back to class, I found you still reading names of students. You did not appear to notice that the students or I had exited your class, or that we had entered again. However, as ten latecomers arrived, you saw them clearly and asked them individually whether or not they needed to go to the bathroom.

Twenty minutes into the period, you got into a loud argument with one student who did not wish to say "present." You then threatened to send the student to my office, which would not have proven an effective remedy, as I happened to be in your classroom at that very moment. I went over and spoke to the student, who finally stood up and said "present." You then demanded an apology from the student, who appeared not to understand what you meant.

At that point, one of your students returned from the bathroom, you crossed her name off your list on the board, and called on the next student on your list. That student replied he no longer needed to go to the bathroom, and you asked if there were any student who wished to take his place. Three students raised their hands, and you wrote their names in place of the student who no longer wished to go to the bathroom. This caused loud protests from the students whose names fell under that students name, and they demanded their names be placed above his name. There was much discussion until I stood up and told the students that there was now only ten minutes remaining in the class, that the bathrooms were now locked, and that there would be no more trips to the bathroom.

You then began your lesson, saying that when you did something wrong, it was a good idea to say, "I'm sorry."

Several students then called out loudly, "Sorry is garbage!"

You asked what they meant by that.

"Mr. Finch says sorry is garbage, and that we should just do our work without it."

"Mr. Finch must be joking with you," you replied.

Several students called out that Mr. Finch was a serious guy, that he didn't like jokes, and that he had repeatedly told them that. At this point the bell rang and your students ran from the room. This lesson was unsatisfactory.

Positive aspects of lesson:

It is certainly appropriate that students say they are sorry.

Suggestions for improvement:

In our post-observation conference, I suggested you give a DO NOW assignment, and take attendance while students were occupied with it. I also suggested you refrain from inviting students to the bathroom, that you wait for them to ask you.

I was going to discuss lesson planning and curriculum with you, but you pointed out that you stayed after school every day doing typing for Principal Suit, that he had made you Teacher of the Year last year, and that no one had criticized your practice over your 38-year career. You claimed that you had a VAM rating of 96% and were certainly the very best teacher in the school. You then walked out of my office, slammed the door, and the glass broke all over the floor.

I am requesting that you submit lesson plans to me every Friday so that we may discuss them, and so that I will be able to grant you a satisfactory rating at year's end.


Eleanor Sim, AP, English
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