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But ... I WAS Teaching!

  Posted by RC Lewis , 30 January 2012 · 83 views

Funny thing happened the other day. Less "funny-ha-ha" and more "funny-huh?"

My school has this thing where a collection of administrators and specialists rotate around, observing different classrooms each week. Some look at how we're using ASL, curriculum, or technology while others just look at the general classroom experience.

A few weeks ago, I had one such observation. I had a great little activity for my class. We briefly reviewed what we knew about three different types of functions, and I explained the activity. They'd be making predictions about a list of equations, checking those predictions, and then forming some generalizations. I circulated as they worked, dialoguing with them about what they were noticing. It all went really well.

I didn't think about it again until I got an email from the observer a while later. She apologized for not getting any notes to me sooner, but she'd had a hard time writing up anything because she "really had not observed a 'lesson' so to speak." She wanted to schedule another observation when I was teaching a new concept.

Excuse me, what?

I had taught a new concept. I'd taught my class how to recognize linear, quadratic, and exponential functions by their equations and without graphing them. The students were actively engaged in learning the whole time, doing something, rather than sitting there in a lecture-coma as I told them everything from the board.

Clearly, though, she wants to see something that looks more like a traditional "lesson." So she's coming back this week to observe a lesson in my physics class.

Le sigh. I don't mind being observed again. I do mind the fact that I'm trying to follow nationally recognized "best practices" is being discounted as "not a lesson." If it wasn't a lesson, what did she think it was—busy work? That, I definitely mind.

Is it just me? If you were back in math class, would you rather take notes on a lecture or work on an activity that helped you figure out a concept for yourself?


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