I have been on both sides of the observation process. I have studied the Danielson rubric in great detail. I even went to a workshop that Danelison led. I have filmed and been filmed. I have taken narratives, created participation charts, written down questions asked, and responded to every other request a teacher could ask. I’ve had pre-conferences, post-conferences, submitted and reviewed lesson plans, reflected and invited relection, written follow-up notes, emails and evaluations. What helps?

There are not too many aspects of this that I am certain about. I know it takes time. I always sought to observe several times and for good amounts of time before I did anything resembling an official observation. And I always wanted time. I want to feel seen. I want an opportunity to say I didn’t ask that student for a late pass because if I turned her around, I never would have seen her again.

I want focus. It’s hard to watch everything and it’s hard to prepare for everything. What is the goal of the observation – from both sides? And how do you make it so it doesn’t feel like sides with the confrontation connotation of that word?

What about you? Observer or observed: what makes this process worthwhile?