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busybeing busybeing is offline
 
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Classroom observations
Old 12-12-2017, 05:45 AM
 
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Hello -

I had my first (ever) progress conference with parents yesterday, based on the advice of their advocate. Initially they wanted progress conferences every month, but my chairperson was able to negotiate every trimester.

Overall, the meeting went well and they claim they are happy with me as a teacher, but they want to spend a day observing my classroom.

Has anyone else had this experience? I find this extremely odd. Before becoming a teacher, I had a very successful career in financial services. The thought of one of my clients observing me at my desk doing my job all day is absurd to say the least lol!!! I'm struggling with feeling like I'm not being respected as a professional here and being scrutinized....

Is this normal? Am I just personalizing this too much?


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Old 12-12-2017, 05:52 AM
 
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You are personalizing too much. We are charged with interacting 7 hours a day with someone's most prized possession. I think parents should be interested in what their child is doing, how those interactions look like, and what they can do to support it.

That said, I certainly don't want parents in my room 24 hours a day. I am human, and being "on" all day is tough. Can you find out what they are most interested in seeing and having them come in during a specific time? Ask them if they can fill a role while they are there? Put them in charge of a small group or something so they are actively engaged and see first hand what you are doing.

I think it is important to have parents on our side. That makes communicating difficult things much easier.
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Old 12-12-2017, 10:59 AM
 
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Check your state law regarding parents observing in a special education classroom. In my state it would be considered a violation of FERPA

Last edited by misscurlyj; 12-12-2017 at 01:18 PM..
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:21 PM
 
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Yes, you are personalizing this too much. This is not about you.

I frequently have people observe - sometimes parents, sometimes student's social workers or guardians, therapists, sometimes district representatives. It's not about me. They want to know how the student is doing and how I structure their learning for success. In our school an administrator also has to be present when a parent or non-licensed visitor observes. No administrator has a whole day - one hour tops. My students would also not know what to do with someone who is there all day but does not work or interact with them.

I would check with the principal on school policy, explain to the parents that someone staying all day is too disruptive for other students, and offer a few time options for them to come for an hour.
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Old 12-12-2017, 05:58 PM
 
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Definitely ask your admin and/or sped director first. I had a parent request to watch her child in my class a few years ago. I checked with my P because I wasn't sure about privacy laws. My P called the parent and told her that she was welcome to come in for a reading lesson, but she needed to be aware that she was there to observe her own child only, and she was not allowed to discuss anything related to the other children in the room. Mom ended up not going through with the observation.

I suspected that it would have lead to complaints (that child was lower than my others and I'm sure mom would have blamed it on me), because that mom is only worried about her one child while we have to be worried about all of the kids and meeting all of their needs, not just the needs of special snowflake. I know my P would have backed me up had mom come in and complained. Since this is a really high maintenance parent, it might be a good idea to see if your P could also sit in on the observation. That way, there is a witness if mom tries to say things happened differently than they really did.


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Old 12-13-2017, 12:03 PM
 
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Thanks everyone. Yes, in my state apparently you can observe the classroom, you just have to fill out a confidentiality agreement...my chairperson will be there as well as both the parents. Thanks again for your input !
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Observation
Old 12-13-2017, 06:19 PM
 
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Sorry you have to go through this. It seems like the privacy of others should be considered too. If parents are going to be in the room, they have to have a background check done first in the districts where I have worked. I hope it goes well.
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Old 12-13-2017, 08:06 PM
 
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Thanks Tounces. I completely agree. Even with a background check, etc... still not feeling comfortable, for the privacy of the other students.
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Old 12-16-2017, 07:38 AM
 
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I totally understand where you are coming from. Awkward! I think you should limit the visit to an hour or two if you can. Anything longer than that, and yes, the parents should be put to work! Perhaps they could help the class with a craft or other special activity? Not sure about privacy laws, but maybe they could observe via video monitor? I have a very high needs student in my class, and his mother wanted to come in and observe (lots of aggressive behaviour problems that were spiralling out of control for a while). We were very reluctant, as the change in routine would likely have disrupted everyone in the room and caused utter chaos. We quite seriously considered having her watch the room over a video baby monitor or webcam! Ultimately, she decided it wasn't worth the hassle after all. Phew!
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:39 PM
 
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Thanks for your suggestion! I checked into that, and it is illegal in my state

She is looking to observe for three hours - so she can see all of my math and reading blocks.


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