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Tool: Process for supporting beginning teachers in the classroom

Purpose of this tool: This tool provides a step-by-step method for observing a beginning teachers' class and then following up on the results. A sample worksheet for analysis and interpretation is presented as well.

Step 1: Before you make your scheduled observation—after several informal ones—sit with the teacher and discuss the purposes of the observation, time of the observation and the time of the post-conference. Explain that you will leave the data that you collected with the teacher. Ask that s/he make a copy for you. Explain the importance of both of you reviewing it before the post-conference using the Worksheet for analysis and interpretation.

Step 2: Use the tool that you and the teacher agreed upon. See Sample observation techniques to review possible tools. Keep in mind the difference between descriptions of events and interpretations. Interpretations should follow descriptions.

Step 3: You and the teacher independently review the data and prepare for the post-conference. Use the sample worksheet for analysis and interpretation.

Step 4: Post-conference—Every post conference should begin with the teacher's overall comments regarding the lesson and any particular points that might not have been visible or understood by the observer. Share and discuss the analysis and interpretation form, making sure that the teacher's voice is valued. Open-ended questions usually produce the best results.

Toward the end of the conference, you and the teacher need to decide if the standard was sufficiently met and if new one(s) should be identified—or if more time needs to be spent on the existing one.