NQT Guide to Lesson Observations

It's something all teachers go through, some more than others, and it can be quite stressful and nerve-wracking as an NQT, who relies on good lesson observations to pass. I'd tell you not to worry but I'm sure you will, we all do! I had my fair share of ups and downs with lesson observations during my NQT year. Some were successful and I got great feedback (some improvements but that's how it'll always be). However I did have one lesson observation that I thought was okay, but my feedback meeting told me very differently and I left that in tears. It's now safe to say that those experiences didn't affect me negatively in the long run and fortunately I had a great team of teachers around me to boost my confidence.

tips and advice for teachers lesson observations


Overall, preparation is key. You know your class better than the person observing you and therefore you can justify your plans and intentions. My mentor always loved it when I did something ' a little different' in my lessons and enjoyed seeing my class so engaged and involved. When teaching instructions, I started the lesson asleep in the book corner in my dressing gown and slippers. I got my crocodile puppet out for an observation when we were starting more than and less than.

Not every lesson can be so creative because otherwise, you'll burn yourself out! Try as often as you can do have those magical teaching moments whether it is during an observation or not. If it's not, send a few of your pupils up to the SLT after the lesson to tell them what they've been up to with examples of their amazing work.

So alongside - DON'T PANIC - here are some tips to getting through a lesson observation.

KEY ADVICE FOR LESSON OBSERVATIONS


  • Have a clear lesson objective that the observer can see in action without needed to even look at the lesson plan.
  • Make sure class are aware of the success criteria - What do they need to do to be successful? Chances are your observer will be asking them that once you've set them a task.
  • Make it interactive - Pair Talk, don't sit them on the carpet too long just listening to your input. Get them investigating and discussing ideas.
  • Have a lesson plan written up - your observer may have already asked you to send this prior to the observation but if not, have a printed one spare alongside the week's overview so they can see how this lesson fits into the sequence.
  • Make sure your TA (if you have one) has a copy of the plan and you have explicitly gone through it with them so that they know their role. They need to be useful during the input - maybe have them go through the input with a small group who need more support and examples. They could either be with a group who are ahead of the current objective and need the next step or a group that are still focusing on another element. 
  • It's your choice and make what you do purposeful. Before giving your feedback, the observer may ask you what you thought of the lesson. Be reflective and explain why you thought certain parts went well and why you'd change others if you were to do it again (if it'll help and you have time, write down some points to take with you for that meeting). 
  • Feedback should be there to help you develop your teaching but try not to take any advice to improve as a personal attack on your teaching. The more observations and feedback you receive, the more you learn to take advice on board and let criticism fly over your head! If you're ever unhappy about the feedback you've been given as you deem it either incorrect or an attack on your character, ask a senior member of staff for their advice and possibly they could come into your class to observe or do some team teaching. 


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