A principal and five asistant principals walk into a classroom to observe a poor, unsuspecting teacher. Do they expect the class to be normal? Do they expect that the teacher will not be unnerved and and still do a very good job? Do they think it will be business as usual as far as the students are concerned? Or, are they looking to play gotcha?
Things are different at the college level. J is teaching at the community college I where I teach. The school was desperate for math teachers in September and when the chairman called and asked if I knew anyone who wanted to work, I thought of J immediately.
J retired from Packemin HS for a number of reasons. Here I'll just say it was her age. She was tired of working full time. J was not ready to sit home and jumped at a chance to teach in the college.
Last week J had her first observation there. As much as I tried to reassure her that things would be fine, she was nervous. She loves working there and wanted to make a good impression.
J's observation went great. The person observing her loved the lesson and loved everything she did. She praised J up the kazoo when the lesson was over. J was shocked. She taught for over 30 years and never received an observation that was not full of criticisms.
The person who can do no right in a high school setting does no wrong in a college setting. Life is stranger than fiction. The college would never subject a teacher to the scenerio described in the first paragraph. The college does not play gotcha. In NYC public schools, this happens all the time.