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Career Questions: Supervision in June

Q:  Can you stand one more question about supervision?  Here’s my pet peeve:  Not visiting my classroom (or anybody’s classroom) until May or June.  I’d like to see the principal in my classroom anytime during the first half of the year.  And I’d like to see him in other teacher’s classrooms, particularly those who aren’t doing the best job they could.  When he waits until the spring, it’s pointless – the whole year is over!

A:  I completely agree with you.  Your principal should be doing “walkarounds” just about every day of the year.  It’s the only way he or she can have a good handle on what’s happening in the classrooms and in the building in general.  A principal who makes himself accessible to teachers can learn a lot about issues that may need to be addressed.  In addition, teachers want a “visible” administrator so that students are aware of who he or she is.

June 2011  In regard to scheduling formal observations, waiting until the last couple of months leaves no time for teacher improvement and is a disservice especially to new teachers trying to learn their job.  A principal cannot be an “instructional leader” if he or she rarely witnesses instruction!

Perhaps you and other teachers can work with your principal to establish a supervision schedule that begins in late September, allowing teachers to get their feet on the ground and the bugs worked out before a formal evaluation.  Many principals have found that a written schedule of two or three formal observations a week (as well as walkarounds) makes supervision more meaningful and avoids the year –end crunch.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in Practical Leadership are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic, Inc.