Thursday, March 20, 2014

Teacher Observation and Interview

This week, we were asked to explain how the topics in this week's readings relate to the teacher observation and interview that we were asked to complete.

I observed an 8th grade ELA teacher at my school. She is an incredible teacher who was working hard to review difficult concepts with a smaller group of students during an intervention/enrichment period and then trying to inspire her full class to work hard and complete difficult assignments on time.

During the intervention/enrichment period, she clearly set a purpose for the review/readings that the students were doing: They were reading for information (discussed in chapter 9 of Donham). Students were reading articles that were related to astronomy and taking the information gained from the articles to answer questions. Students would read, look for a particular piece of textual evidence, and then use that evidence to support an answer choice.

During the regular class period, the teacher first gave a small speech about responsibility, effort, and completing assignments. She then assigned a difficult fiction piece for the students to read and complete an assignment on point of view. When we discussed why she chose that particular piece for the students to read, she told me that she had looked at various measures of complexity before deciding to use this specific play.. She said that while the lexile level of the play was easier than the suggested lexile level for 8th grade, the qualitative dimensions of the text made it more complex and therefore, made it appropriate for her students. This was also discussed in chapter 9 of Donham.

The teacher that I interviewed admitted to not working collaboratively with the media coordinator. I wonder if, had the media coordinator gone to her planning meetings and made suggestions to the teacher, she would have been more receptive to working together. Collaboration wasn't the particular focus of this week's reading assignment, but it has been the focus in the past. This is not just common for this particular teacher. There is a lack of collaborative planning with the teacher and the media coordinator in a lot of the schools that I have worked in previously.