Beginning Teacher - Week 18 - Being observed!

I think nothing really unnerves a teacher more - whether they are new or been at this game for years - than having someone in to observe you - especially when you don't know it's happening!!

That was me this last week.  Education Specialist walked into the room to spend an hour or two to observe one of my kiddo's (I will call him M) that has a few issues! M was born premature, one ear is miss-formed meaning he is deaf in that ear and he has hearing lost in the other ear.  He has behavior issues and will do anything for attention regardless of whether or not it is positive or negative and some days it seems like he wants negative attention only.  He has trouble retaining information, to the extent he is about to turn 7 but is still in a first year class, in saying that I have been making some amazing progress lately (if I do say so myself).  He is also has the most amazing mind when it comes to Lego and building and the cutest smile out there.  As much as he drives me up the wall some days and tests every nerve in my body, I have a real soft spot for him.

So having someone in to observe a child and how they act etc is a good thing when you are trying to get help for that child - but the problem is, is that they are observing you to!

After all is it the child that is the problem or is it you the teacher?!?

It was guided reading time, and for a change I had a fairly full class (okay full for me, I only have 18 on my class roll and for the whole year I have only had them all there once - yup you read that right once in 6 months), today I had 12.

So to set the scene - during guided reading at my school we set up centers and the students just rotate through the centers at their own pace and when they have finished and checked with me they are allowed free play.

The first thing that happened as soon as I had explained the centers is that M and another had a gentle fight over who got to sit on the last chair at one of the centers and neither were budging.   Tried to see if one of them would give up the seat - no luck so I took the seat away and they both lost.

Grit teeth and thought good M is going to play up today, and moved on with my reading groups prepared to have to deal with M throughout.

But the rest of the morning went great, M didn't act up, didn't misbehave and worked so well - the little stinker :) Honestly I did want him to act up, I did want him to be the child who drove me to distraction the day before, we are trying to get him additional funding so he can get extra one on one, help and if he is an angel when he is being observed....IT WONT HAPPEN!!!

This was the third observation M had had, two was when he was an angel and one where he just played up something wicked (thankfully).

Today I called into a meeting with the Education Specialist, the principal, a lady from the hearing association, an RTLB (teacher support for difficult children), and the parents of M.  I didn't know it was happening - they forgot to tell me.  I was so nervous about what the outcome was going to be and totally unsure how honest to be.

I decided to go with honest.

I framed that M can be like two different children.  There is M who comes into my class bouncy and ready to learn and has a great day, then there is M who just acts up all day, disturbs everyone else, is destructive of my, school and other students property/work and is hard to deal with.  I told them how M will come up to me and say 'I had a good day today ahy' and that I am honest with him and I will say 'No not today' or 'Yes you have been amazing today'.  His parents told me he comes home and owns up to that (which I thought was cute).

The outcome of the hour long meeting, I am unsure.  Will we get any funding? We find out in a week but I'm not holding my breath.

Will things change with M?  No I don't think so, there is more going on in his head than we know, I just hope he doesn't fall through the cracks.  In the mean time I will keep trying with him and hope for more good days than bad (for both our sake).

There was one personal positive that came out of the meeting was the huge compliment the Education Specialist gave about me and how I run my class, how the students act in class towards each other and me, the environment, everything, she told the parents M was lucky to be in my class!

I needed to hear that.

She said it in various forms throughout the meeting and then came and spoke to me afterwards to re confirm what she said and add a bit more - then she found out I was a BT and was gobsmacked.

I often think I am failing as a teacher - I am so quick to judge myself harshly - and to have someone in the business rave about me like that was so sole affirming.  It will make it easier to get out of bed tomorrow and face the day, regardless of how M acts.  I know I am making a difference, (even his parents said they have seen it in recent months), and maybe just maybe some good will come out of being observed and he will get the extra funding.


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