I recently went to a lecture on “data dysentery”, the countless reams of data we educators collect for, well, for what?
To this data, I would like to add the following, a record of the sheer number of observations I’ve had in one semester only, this last semester. These observations were done by three administrators and a consultant.
I hasten to add that these reports all say the same thing — they all say I’m a good teacher — and are done largely because the administrators need the sheer poundage of data. Since we have several administrators, I sometimes record various times I’ve been inspected on the same day. That said, the dates and times that I have been observed are:
9/11, 10:20 AM, 11:10 AM, 1:30 PM; 9/12; 9/15, 9:30 AM,
10:20 AM, 11:10 AM, 1:30 PM, and one with no time recorded;
9/16; 9/22; 9/28; 10/7; 10/8; 10/21; 10/27, 1:10 PM and
1:25 PM; 10/29; 11/5; 11/10; 11/13; 11/24; 12/3; 12/8 and
It should be repeated that throughout the department, from one teacher to another, these observations differ little in content. They are given in either an indifferent or occasionally complimentary manner. There is no real expectation that they will be read or acted upon.
Last year, one observer regularly fell asleep in my class.
One vice-principal used to observe us as she walked down the hall. I mean she walked down the hall while she was writing the reports. We used to call these “drive-bys”. Once she did, in fact, look into my room, observe, and write a report. I don’t think she was there thirty seconds. The report was most satisfactory. The whole time, I was tying my shoe.