Monday morning came round. I strolled into work at 7:55, foolishly believing I didn’t have a care in the world. Oh how wrong I was! Before long, the usual hustle and bustle of breakfast club began to unfold, and the noise levels rose to the point where I didn’t even notice the deputy head walking towards me. Her smiling face and friendly demeanour gave me no clue, no forewarning as to what was about to happen…
I was being observed.
Yes I know, maybe a little over dramatic? However for about 20 minutes of the news sinking in, I was extremely nervous. I’m a teaching assistant (a new one at that) and I usually work with a small group of pupils who need extra support with maths and phonics. That day all TAs had been scheduled in for a short observation during their one on one phonics sessions. My first ever observation! Of course I immediately started doubting myself with the usual “Do I know what I’m doing?” and “What if they tell me I’m not good enough”. Of course, with my limited teaching experience, I was surely right to question myself.
The time came. I wasn’t given a specific time slot and as a result they ended up joining me when I was working with one of my most challenging pupils. Thankfully she was an angel and did nothing but concentrate and ask fantastic questions about the meaning of different words. Result!
So why am I telling you this? Well, however painless those 10 minutes turned out to be, this felt like a milestone. I’m yet to receive feedback, but I feel very lucky to be able to receive any criticism at all, even before I’ve started my PGCE. I want to remember this moment, and look back on it when I start doubting myself again. Questioning whether your good enough gets your no where and I don’t want self doubt to get in the way of me progressing or accepting criticism with open arms. I’m also well aware I will soon be very used to endless observations, and the sooner I get over that feeling of impending doom…the better!
I’m usually confident, always the one leading the presentation or joining in the debate, but teaching is complex and I still have so much to learn. Naturally I’m going to be nervous! None the less I thought having survived my first ever observation I should mark the occasion. Here’s to many more (no time soon though I hope!)
So, what have you achieved or overcome this week? Do you have any advice for how to deal with observations? If so I’d love to hear it 🙂 I’m now off to enjoy a few chapters of ‘Tom’s midnight garden’…oh the fun never ends.