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Lesson Plans

Re: My First Official Observation (long)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Jasmine Preston (jdp30)
Thu, 21 Oct 1999 19:53:04 -0500

My first year of teaching elementary school, the principal came by when I
was teaching a lesson on Matisse. I had a class of 4th graders making
cut-outs and putting them on the bulletin board. They were working as a
group, discussing their composition, moving around, stapling, cutting, etc.
It was a great lesson. She called me in to her office the next day and
told me about all the mistakes I was making. The students were out of
control. In a well-run classroom all student movement should be
"teacher-directed." Teacher-directed in an ART class? I was flabbergasted.
I tried to explain to her but she had her mind made up. She had made
arrangements for me to go to another school to watch another art
teacher--one she had a lot of respect for, so I could see how it "should"
be done. I was very upset but, went because I had no choice. It turned
out to be a great time. The teacher had a lot of great ideas but I didn't
think she had very good control. Certainty not all activities were
"teacher-directed." As a matter of fact, she agreed that the principal,
her was her friend and neighbor, didn't know what she was talking about.
After my visit, she talked with the principal. I don't know what she said
but, all of the sudden I knew what I was doing. My lessons were never
questioned again.

The point of this long message is, endure and compromise when you have to
but, keep an eye out for an advocate. Not some one to complain to, but
someone who thinks like you do and already has the respect of the
principal. You may, over time, get to do things the way you think they
should be done.

Good luck.


> From: SBWellman
> To:
> Subject: My First Official Observation
> Date: Thursday, October 21, 1999 7:27 PM
> Hi everyone!
> Today I had my first real observation as a first year full-time art
> I travel to 4 schools during the week grades 1 - 8. I'd like to share
> my vice-principal had to say. I get observed at my home-base school
> Let me set the scene. I was teaching my most difficult class. A first
> grade. We did skeletons out of paper strips for El Dia de los Muertos.

> Everything went pretty well until I had them draw half an oval onto a
> piece of paper for the skull. They did them but just not big enough so
> all tried a second time. Eventually we got everyone on track and went on
> do the shoulders and rib cage before the class ended. We have 30 minutes
> art, counting set up and clean up.
> When I talked to him later this is what he had to say:
> 1. I needed more sharpened pencils on my cart. (3 kids got up to sharpen

> their
> pencils. Big Deal!!)
> 2. I need to finish a project per week. (It is the view of the parents
> staff that art is for homeroom teachers to decorate their rooms and that
> parents demand to see art brought home every week to put on the
> I was told this by the VP and the full-time art teacher at that school.)
> 3. That only 3 kids should be allowed to help cleanup at the end of
class so
> that
> there aren't too many out their seats. (I had them take one last look
> for scraps on the floor at the very end before I left.)
> Basically, I'm stuck because I don't have professional status and my job
> therefore on the line. I must conform. But I desperately need ideas for

> quick projects or projects that can be simplified but still have some
> intelligence to them. The other art teacher just got done 4 Halloween
> projects each for grades 1 - 4. I'm about to puke from seeing those
> cats lined up like soldiers in the hall.
> HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!