Making a Small Difference with Faculty Observations

One of the most enjoyable aspects of my role at GCC is having the opportunity to observe and evaluate our faculty teaching in the classroom.  This evaluation occurs for our probationary faculty members and is a chance to see our talented faculty in action.

Although I do not proclaim to be a teaching expert (we can always grow as an instructor), I do believe I have some expertise to offer through my experiences teaching middle school and community college English courses, as well as my having completed over 50 evaluations in my four years at GCC.

This process is even more rewarding when I have the opportunity to observe a faculty member for a second time during his or her first five years.  This past fall semester, I observed a few instructors for the second time; I found this to be very productive as it gave me an opportunity to witness firsthand their growth as instructors.  In multiple instances, I observed faculty members intentionally modifying their teaching style to increase opportunities for student engagement.  I observed faculty members paying close attention to their movement and position in the classroom.  I observed faculty members strategically calling on a number of students to respond, to ensure students have equal voice during discussions.  And, finally, I observed faculty members using informal classroom assessment techniques to check students’ understanding of the day’s content.

By no means do I think those changes occurred because of direct comments I made or because of the evaluation summaries I wrote.  But, I do think these pedagogical changes occurred because those faculty members took the time to reflect on their teaching practice, something I hope I stress when I talk to faculty members’ after an observation.  Classroom evaluations are very meaningful for me; and, this process is even more gratifying when I have the opportunity to see the incredible growth and enhancements to faculty members’ teaching practices.


One thought on “Making a Small Difference with Faculty Observations”

  1. Eric,
    Having had you as an evaluator, I appreciated the feedback you provided. I think you commented on two very important aspects: personal reflection and continued growth. As you stated, everyone can continue to develop their pedagogy as an instructor. I recall our first follow -up on an observation… you stated how surprised you were with my personal reflection, as I came prepared to discuss an area of reinforcement and an area of refinement. Based off our discussion, it was evident you find the observation process a meaningful part of continued professional growth and development.


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