These trainer remark horror tales are actually one thing particular
For many teachers—especially new teachers—observations by a principal or AP can feel crippling. Whether they’re planned or “pitfalls” (and yes, surprising a teacher for their 45-minute observation is absolutely a pitfall), having someone in the room taking notes on how you’re responding to factors you’re not Being able to control is… a lot.
It’s easy to bombard an observation when your nerves are fried. It’s even easier to believe that you’re the only one who’s ever bombed.
But no worry. We have some true horror stories to put your mind at ease. (Psst…we have more fun observation stories here.)
“A child tried to physically push the principal out of the classroom because she doesn’t belong there.”
“Best score I’ve ever had.”
– Sarah H
“I discovered at the beginning of an observation that 6 of my students had lice.”
“The lady who made the observation left and said she would make my observation another day.”
– Crystal R
“My favorite story is about a student whose speech was usually very slurred, especially when he didn’t want to work.”
“He got mad at the elementary school teacher and called her a ‘m***er.’ The B-word was also shouted out clearly just as the Headmaster walked in. Without a moment’s hesitation, the Headmaster walked up to her, shook the student’s hand and congratulated him for speaking so clearly. The student looked around, startled, and went to work.”
– Denise F.
“I was new to a private school and I taught preschool music.”
“The director walked in with an intended parent who was on tour. A student decided to bite another student. Luckily the director was great and very experienced. She later said it’s not what happens, it’s how we react.”
– Laurie U
“The superintendent came into my grandson’s kindergarten classroom.”
“He was holding himself so she asked him if he needed to go to the bathroom. He replied, ‘No, I just have an itch.’”
– Julie K
“I had a second-grader who sat in the back row and ran his fingers through his light blonde hair, which was starting to shine.”
“We lost points for observing if we let the class be interrupted by distractions, so I waited until the observer left to check things out. He “massaged” his hair like he saw his dad do that morning… just with Elmer’s glue.”
– Terri H.
“I had a student trying to buy Taylor Swift tickets.”
– Heather D
“My boss whispered to the student, ‘What are you studying today?’ and our friend jumped out of his seat, threw F-bombs and stuttered ‘Safe!’.”
“I teach math.”
– Brooke S
“I always prepared the kids before the assessment, so the principal came a year before the class and they didn’t see her.”
“A little guy said, ‘Is this the day we’re supposed to behave because the principal’s coming?’ My face showed pure shock as I stuttered something about how we’re supposed to behave each day… luckily the Headmaster thought that was funny and the rest of the class went well!”
“Right before I had my internship, while the class was under the regular teacher’s control, a student grabbed a chair and crashed it over the head of the student next to him.”
“The teacher and a counselor chased the offending student around the school. I treated the bleeding student and kept the class in semi-control. I tried to teach my lesson but the students were so upset it was difficult. I got an A for not giving up under unusually difficult circumstances.”
“My supervisor walked in and one of my kids said, ‘Miss, your mom is here.'”
“We both have red hair and freckles.”
– Marcy B
“After my first year of apprenticeship in the UK, I was observed by an HMI (one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors).”
“The class went well, every student was able to talk about their pets. We created a bar chart. I got to the last kid and he said, ‘We have a dog and he shits all over the carpet.’ Throttle! The HMI gave me a pat on the back.”
– Christina C.
“I made a Kahoot game for an unscheduled observation (that someone else made and I OBVIOUSLY wasn’t good enough in the preview) with the course as a Friday reward.”
“It was St. Patrick’s Day. The question was what became legal in Ireland in any given year. The answer? Prostitution. I looked over and saw that all three officers had slid down the wall laughing.”
– Alisa A
“During my observation, I often had to fall asleep and snore loudly.”
“My kids just stared at me.”
– Missy G
“I had a kid exploring the word ‘jig’.”
“The word was in the curriculum and not my choice. The boy pronounced the word perfectly. The curriculum requires that we then ask them what the word means. The student raises her arm, points to her triceps and says, “It’s like Grandma is waving and her arm is shaking.” My principal drank her coffee and splashed it over her computer. …”
– Steven C
“A kindergarten student suddenly jumped up during surveillance and ran to the bathroom.”
“My student barely made it to the principal’s shoes before he threw up!”
– Karen A
“I had a kid who pulled his pants down right in front of my principal.”
“He told her it was fine, he’s wearing shorts.”
– Katie S
“We had our city’s mayor come over to talk to our third graders (the entire grade level) about his job, and he made the mistake of asking the kids if they had any questions.”
“Unfortunately, twice he visited the same kid, who then asked, ‘Have you ever ridden a shark?’ and ‘Why do monkeys eat bananas?’ We were horrified and let the child sit next to us (no more questions allowed!). At least the child’s mother was also horrified. She had him write an apology letter and deliver it personally to the mayor’s office.”
– Marilyn M.
“A few years ago, a child vomited at my house.”
“And he had eaten some light pink, so the other kids in my kindergarten had a lot to say about that.”
– Jessica Y
“Who is this old lady?”
– Jeri D.
“I was observed giving a French lesson on how to make a Niçois sandwich.”
“In French, I asked individual students to come up and cut the bread, cut the bread with butter, cut the tomato, cut the onion, etc. I chose hygiene and asked each student to put on a pair of latex gloves beforehand they did their part in making the sandwich. One boy, after putting his latex glove on, turned to me and said, ‘Okay, bend over!’”
– Maria D
“I was in the middle of a very important observation (Florida Learning Coalition, where we get funding for our program) and I got bitten by a kid.”
“Blood ran down my arm as I discreetly raised it to alert my staff that I needed the nurse. The nurse immediately told me I had to leave and go to the emergency room. In the midst of this observation. I still ended up with a very high score… and three Hep B shots.”
– Stephanie R.
I think in so many of these observational stories, the admins are shocked at “how the other half lives”. In all honesty, I think reviewers should make two observations a year: one to evaluate the teacher and one to evaluate how they can be a more supportive administrator.
What’s your most painful (or funniest!) observation story? Let us know in the comments.
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