When observing a class, I take notes. Not just the observation notes that comprise what I see and here the students and the teacher(s) saying and doing, the atmosphere of the class, the perceived hierarchy of needs, but also notes on what I am thinking/noticing in the bigger picture. They are more like comments for later followup during feedback or 1-1 discussion, or things for me to think about in my preparations to teach. Today, following a path to find something else I ran into a folder of these notes on my laptop, so I took a few minutes to look through them—two years of notes taken during observations. I found a fascinating collection of Recurring Themes across the days that I didn’t really notice in the moment. Categorizing the most common comments I made, and titling them, it looks like this:
- Working with a Trio or Odd Student In!
- Don’t Do for the Student What They Can Do for Themselves
- Students Can’t Read Minds, Share Your Thinking Process
- “Walking Around the Room” is not Monitoring
- How Often Do You “Read for One Minute”?
- Is the Statement “Anything is OK” Really Helpful?
- “Do You Understand?” Is Rarely Effective
- One Round of “Q and A” Does Not a Conversation Make
- Preferences and Interests: I am Not My Students
I value now, at a time removed, the taking of these notes. What a wonderful resource they are as I continue in the field of teacher training and curriculum design and development. As I continue to reflect on these themes, I wonder: How many of these themes occur due to lack of awareness on the part of the teacher versus not knowing how to do something? What are the beliefs behind the choices that the teachers are making? How can I address these issues more clearly in future training sessions?
This post was written by Tana.