What to do when your observation didn’t go as planned?

We have ALL had these moments. I think if you ask just about any teacher if they have ever had a sub-par observation, they will say yes. And that happened to me today.

Now, I don’t have my score and write-up just yet (this did only happen today), but I can honestly look within and say that today 1) did not go as planned, and 2) was only an effective lesson.

ONLY an effective?!? Some people would kill for that, I know. Not me. I am the super over-achiever, the #BeTheException every day, the “no holds barred on progress” teacher. Needless to say I’m hurting a little bit. My ego is definitely bruised – and I did it to myself people!

So what do you do when you’re down in the dumps about an observation that didn’t meet YOUR mark?

  1. Have a little perspective
  2. Have a progress party (not a pity party)
  3. Just keep swimming

Have a Little Perspective

Just because your lesson did not go 100% as planned, it doesn’t mean the entire observation is a wash! PERSPECTIVE SHIFT!

Did a massive riot erupt in your room? Did your students revolt and run away? No? Then things are probably not as bad as you think they are.

Did you teach the kids that were ready to learn? Yes? Take the win! Did you love and support the kids that weren’t ready to learn? Yes? Take the win! Did you meet or approach your lesson objective(s)? Yes? Take the win! Let yourself be a winner, because you ARE a winner.

Have a Progress Party

Rather than slump into a pity party, have a progress party!

  • Think about how you and your kids have grown together this year.
  • Think about how much respect and kindness has been fostered in your class(es).
  • Think about how much you as an educator have learned this year (those PD hours count!).
  • Think about how many times you have successfully incorporated other people’s advice and successfully melded others’ ideas into your own.
  • Think about how many times you’ve taken the risk to do something different instead of the same old thing.

You have progressed! Don’t lie to yourself. You. Have. Progressed.

Just Keep Swimming

Dory wasn’t wrong! Now that you have taken a step back, gained some perspective, been real with yourself, and had the party you deserve, move beyond this moment. Rather than being hyper-focused on this observation, which does not serve your greater purpose, move beyond it – just keep swimming!

What can you do tomorrow to add some value and fun into your lesson(s) and bring your spirits up? What can you do next week to add something new and novel into your lesson(s)?

Just keep swimming! Don’t let yourself get stuck in the moment – move beyond it.

Let’s Recap

When things don’t go as planned, have a little perspective; it’s probably not all that bad. Have yourself a party – a progress party! You are learning and growing as a professional, with a bunch of minions tagging along! Finally, just keep swimming. Don’t let yourself get stuck. Pick yourself up and look beyond. Great lessons and experiences await!


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