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Observing BEFORE Accepting a Position?
Old 10-07-2018, 06:30 AM
 
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Throughout the years of being a part of this discussion board, I've seen various teachers from time to time want to resign very early during their first year (or two) of having their new position. I know it happens...circumstances end up being different from what we expected or hoped. I'm just curious, but how many of you have asked to observe the classroom you'll be in BEFORE accepting the position?

Can prospective teachers NOT do that?
Are they afraid it might look bad to the admin?

Now I've personally never been a general classroom teacher but had a couple of specialized positions within the schools (for example, special ed, reading recovery, SLP, etc.). I've learned that BEFORE accepting a position, to make sure they know that I'd like to observe the classroom I'll be working in. Now it may not be exactly all the same kids, but it's better to observe and see what you can try to see to help determine whether to accept the job if offered to you. The chances are probably at least 50% that you can observe something that may have nothing to do with the kids themselves, but possibly just how they run things, how the aide is, etc.


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Old 10-07-2018, 07:08 AM
 
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Iíve always interviewed in the summer when observing wasnít possible.
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Old 10-07-2018, 07:40 AM
 
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I've never heard of that before. Most times you are interviewing for a position in the upcoming year and class lists aren't even finalized yet. Ed assistants also change based on student needs etc.
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Old 10-07-2018, 10:38 AM
 
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Of the three teaching jobs I've held, I was hired for two of them in the summer. Ironically, the one that ended up being awful I was hired for in the spring, and did observe a little bit. Unfortunately, the P who hired me ended up getting a higher up position in another district, and she was replaced by a nutcase. I didn't meet the nutcase until school started, and long story short, she ran the school into the ground.

I've always wondered if I would have been able to tell through the interview process that she was a nutcase, had I been able to interview with her. I feel like she wasn't able to hide it at all, but presumably would be trying really hard to be nice and friendly during an interview.

My current P (who didn't hire me either- I was hired in the summer by the former P many years ago) makes prospective candidates do demo lessons. I know there are mixed feelings about demos, but I personally liked them as a candidate. One, it helped me see one of the classes in the building and get a closer look at what goes on behind the interview room, two, it gave me a chance to see how the admin gave feedback, and three, it gave them a chance to see how I teach. If they don't like the way I teach, I'd certainly rather not get the job up front over being hired and then getting bad evaluations.

I've posted before that my teammate is a crazy workaholic. New P worked with her in their previous school and wanted to bring her over when she was hired. New P managed to convince her that due to some district policies, my school would be less work than her previous school (spoiler alert, a workaholic will find a way to be a workaholic anywhere).

P offered to let new teammate come observe and spend time with our team for as long as she wanted prior to accepting. Teammate didn't take her up on it and I wish she would have. When she started the job, she's misunderstood some things P said about the work load and was already super upset and stressed. I wonder if she would have never taken the position if she'd observed and talked to us more first.

I will also add that it's most likely difficult to tell what's going on from just one or two observations. You might see some behaviors, but it's easy to assume as an observer that those behaviors are few and far between or that maybe the teacher doesn't have that good of management. Or maybe you see a kid leave for the office, but don't realize that after you leave said kid is going to come back with a treat. You can't see all of the behind the scenes mandates or craziness required by the district/P just sitting and observing a class either.

Last edited by Haley23; 10-07-2018 at 12:01 PM..
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Old 10-07-2018, 11:59 AM
 
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I've never observed. I'm usually interviewed/offered right at the end of the school year or in early summer and observation isn't possible then. As Haley mentioned, sometimes an observation doesn't really help.

Thinking about it, I'm not sure how much an observation would help anyway, unless absolutely everything about the position would remain the same (kids, staff, school systems, etc). Generally, things aren't exactly the same.


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Old 10-10-2018, 03:53 PM
 
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I think this is a good idea if you are able to pull it off.

I didn't get a chance to observe the actual classroom I'd be teaching in because it was the spring and I was interviewing for a fall position, but I did get a chance to tour a school after an interview and before accepting a position. It was an urban school and the tour told me a lot. The principal was my tour guide and I was pretty horrified by what I saw.

I remember going into a computer lab where some kids were working on projects, and one was watching a video online of something extremely inappropriate, and the principal told the kid to stop the video and to do his work, and he refused, talking back to her, arguing with her. In the end we left the computer lab without him having turned off the video. It was eye opening and showed me how she handled (or rather didn't handle) behavior issues. I saw a lot of other behavior issues in other classes, as well.

Anyway, I got a lot of info about what the general vibe of the school was just from the tour (such a bad vibe that I declined the position) So, I'd recommend asking for a tour of the school prior to accepting, if you are interviewing in spring for a fall position.
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Old 10-14-2018, 03:37 PM
 
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I recently resigned from a position due to the fact that student behavior was abominable. My health was suffering from the stress. I was hired over the summer, but even if I have been able to observe the class beforehand, it would not have mattered. Several new students had enrolled, which completely changed the dynamics of the class. One of them had been expelled from his previous school because of his behavior. Another would let out loud screams for no reason. As GraceKrispy said, unless everything stays the same, observing does not help.
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Old 10-14-2018, 06:37 PM
 
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Yes, I know it's hard and conditions aren't the same when it's interviewing time as it is when school actually starts. I still think if anyone has a chance to observe or can ask to do so, to go ahead. Would you rather not observe at all or try to see even 25% of your prospective position?
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Good idea but not always helpful
Old 11-03-2018, 09:52 AM
 
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I did it once when feeling hesitant to take a job Ina roughschool district. But it didn’t give me an accurate picture of the school. They didn’t seem to reveal how roughthe school was(staff). Also the staff seemed a bit unhappy to me & I found that odd especially cuz it was end of year! I saw 2 classrooms but the kids were extremely well behaved. I accepted the job. It was so horrible and rough that I resigned after 12 days and only 8 school days! I couldn’t have been out of there fast enough! I also wasn’t told the discipline procedures there as I would’ve never takena job there if I had known you had to tolerate so much!
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I have never known
Old 11-03-2018, 10:03 AM
 
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anyone who has done this. However, during our really bad year last year, when the assistant superintendent came to visit for an administration evaluation, she said as soon as she stepped into the building she could feel the bad energy at school. I wonder if a prospective teacher would feel it? The prospective families don't seem to.


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Old 11-03-2018, 11:29 AM
 
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Quote:
However, during our really bad year last year, when the assistant superintendent came to visit for an administration evaluation, she said as soon as she stepped into the building she could feel the bad energy at school. I wonder if a prospective teacher would feel it?
I'm not someone who can really "trust my gut." My first impressions are often wrong. However, I did interview at another school in my district prior to be hired at my current school. I felt what I can only describe as a "weird vibe" from the P and interview team. I felt very uncomfortable there. I remember just kind of quietly answering the questions and not really putting a lot of effort into the interview because I wanted to get out of there. Not surprisingly, I didn't get the job.

My district is small and everyone knows each other. When I got hired at my current school, I started hearing some things about the other school who had turned me down. I told my teammates I interviewed there and they immediately went on and on about how I'd "dodged a bullet." Two of my teammates had started there but transferred to my current school to get away from that P. Apparently she was a former PE teacher who knew nothing about most other positions in the building and she was awful to work for.

I guess sometimes it is really obvious!
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:34 PM
 
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If you do a demo lesson you can get a good vibe of the school.

Iíve done this before. It helped.
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