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Classroom Observations by the Principal

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What to expect when the Principal does a walk-through to observe your classroom
Walk Throughs and Observations
Posted by:TexTeacher #129710

We get 6 "formal" walk-throughs a year. They walk in all the time, but for the six formal they actually fill out a form about their observations.

We get one 45 minute observation every year. They give us a three week window of when they will be coming in, and then they just pop in.

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Posted by:Fred #118163

I work in a district where we have walkthroughs by administrators. The number of walkthroughs varies from principal to principal, depending upon their philosophy. Last year, our principal required a LOT of walkthroughs by all five assistant principals. Sometimes, I would look up, and more than one person would be in my class at a time. At first, it bugged me, but then I realized that it gave them an opportunity to know what a good job I was doing. Years ago, when I became a department chair, I realized that not everyone works as hard as I do. Therefore, the walkthroughs gave me a chance to shine. Eventually, once they knew I was doing my job, they quit coming to see me and focused on other teachers (who needed more attention, I guess). In my district, if you have tenure, you can...

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Posted by:luvnjesus #131792

Our principal does walk-thrus. When he comes in, I say, "Hi! Boys and girls say hi to _____." At 1st, I think it surprised him but now, it breaks the ice and helps me to not feel intimidated. He always responds to them and has a quick informal "good morning-ish" chat with us. That way, he can check "walk-thru" off of his to do list and I don't feel frazzled. ;)

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Posted by:cvt #131793

We have had walk-throughs for the last 4 years. It's part of "Best Practices." Sometimes it is just the principal, other times there are two or more people. We were informed of the WTs when they first started, and we also had the opportunity to do some ourselves. The principal makes at least one WT per week. Sometimes it is a two minute WT, sometimes 5 minutes, and last week he was in my classroom with the assistant superintendent for 10 minutes. My students are so used to it that they continue with their work as if there is no one there.

There is often a focus to the WT, for example, writing. The idea is to see how writing is done at the different grade levels, and whether it is consistent all across. During our weekly staff development the WTs are often discussed with a general list of good...

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No title
Posted by:AD #131794

My previous principal did walk-throughs too. When he would come in I would carry on with my lesson as if he weren't there.

My current principal does the same according to a few of the other teachers, but he's only been in my room once.

I don't think you should think too much about it. I think it's good that principals walk into classrooms unannounced. They need to know/see what's going on at any given time during the day.

If I were you, I'd carry on with the lesson as planned and not worry too much about it. As a pp said, you may want to ask the other teachers if she comes into their rooms too.

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No title
Posted by:dlcurry #131795

I've had two principals in a row who do this. At first, I'd say, "Yes?", and wonder what they needed. After a while I realized it was to stay familiar with my class (special ed) and to show a presence in the building. It's very non-threatening. As a matter of fact, now I don't even look at my principal when she comes in unless she asks me something. Personally, I like this process. It lets them know what my class is about and how hard I work each day.

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about surprise visits
Posted by:JMHO #89181

I am amazed that so many people are uptight about these surprise visits. As teachers we get them all the time. My pricipal calls them walk-throughs, informal observations, just plain doing his job by checking to see that we are doing ours... As a ST my college did as many unannounced visits as announced ones and they often brought someone else around too! I actually think it was a good thing. By the time all those people were done watching me student teach I had totally lost all fear of being observed. My principal could come in on my worst day, stay all day, and I would not be bothered by it. (I must add that he is a jewel, anyway.) Being in the spotlight is part of what we do. Supervising teachers need to see the "real deal" not just the put-on show.

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Posted by:Melissa #21234

My principal "pops" into my classroom about 2 or 3 times a week. Depending on what we are doing at the time, she will talk with me or some of my students, add a comment about the topic of discussion, or simply listen. Her visits are always welcome, because, as stated above, it helps to add a sense of community to the school.

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Daily Visits
Posted by:Jackie #21202

Our principal also stops in daily. She usually walks around and and checks out what we're doing. It's so common that we (the students and myself)don't even pause/stop when she walks in anymore. We usually say hi and keep on working. It's a great sense of community at our school and I think her presence has a lot to do with that. Last year, we only saw our principal for a scheduled observation or when a studnet was needed for discipline. I count my blessings this year!

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Administrator visits
Posted by:Kathy #21258

Be thankful for your principals. This is my second year at my school. My principal came in and looked at my bulletin boards the first day of school last year. She hasn't been back since. She walked past when I was working outside with a small group last year -- not stopped, just looked as she went by. That's what my evaluation was based on. She didn't even come in when I asked for help with a problem -- she just made me ride it out for the rest of the year even though a minor schedule adjustment would have taken care of it. I really miss having a supportive administrator.

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Posted by:benteach #120128

One walk-through is supposed to occur a week - however, there have been 4 official ones done this entire year by my principal and I think 3 by my ap.....there is a form that is filled out and placed in our box when a walk-thru has taken place...we were given information as to what the various codes mean....the principal is to look at the academic focus...type of engagement...level of questioning (higher order on Bloom's taxnomy- analysis versus knowledge or comprehension) - what makes it difficult is you never know when one will happen - so I work to prepare a bank of questions as well as having lesson objectives posted daily as part of my scedule written on the board.....that way when one of the 2 walk in they just need to glance at the board, the clock and see if that is where we are at the time they...

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walk throughs
Posted by:Tounces #118164

We've had them too. They have been informal and nothing has been left on my desk afterwards. I don't like them even though I'm doing great. I have formal observations because I'm in a different state. I've been teaching around 15 years now. I don't think I'll ever like them or get used to them. I'm such a perfectionist, I spend the time getting nervous or worry about little things when they're in instead of staying focused on what I was doing. They distract me a lot, probably more than my kids.
Now, they have deleoped a more formal walk through. They have checklists for every subject, like what should be up in the room, how I ask questions, how my objectives are written and posted, etc. They are even training parents to do walk throughs. After training, they will come through rooms with the...

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