• Mama PhD

    Mothers attempting to balance parenthood and academics.


Peer Observation of Prof. Mom

Good intentions and then ...

October 14, 2014

On October 9th, between the hours of 6:15-6:45am, I observed Prof. Mom teaching a lesson to her son. Prior to discussing content, I must first point out that, though Prof. Mom obviously has little control over scheduling, this may not be the ideal time to embark on teaching. The child probably was not fully awake, and Prof. Mom had not even had a cup of coffee yet (which most definitely impacted the lesson).

The content of the lesson focused on how to create a Venn Writing Diagram based on a fiction and non-fiction reading passage. Prof. Mom has the background to teach this lesson. She herself has published many non-fiction pieces. However, she approached the lesson as “everything not to do in creating a Venn Writing Diagram.” I would recommend that Prof. Mom reframe her focus to be more positive.

Clearly, Prof. Mom has previously taught a similar lesson to her student as evidenced by frequent attempts to refer to past lessons and review material. However, the student did not seem to have retained much from prior lessons, which seemed to frustrate Prof. Mom throughout this lesson. Perhaps Prof. Mom would like to consider flashcards, extraneous group assignments, or other techniques designed to encourage comprehension. In addition, the faculty member continuously placed blame on the student: throughout the lesson at various points, she implied that said student was lazy, not listening, too vested in video games, and potentially destined for failure if he did not change his ways. Prof. Mom should be reminded that harshly criticizing students does not place them in a proper frame of mind. In addition, though we all value the importance of lessons, they also should be put in proper life perspective.

Throughout the lesson, Prof. Mom seemed overly distracted. At various points, she stepped away from the student to make lunches, break up a (loud) fight between two students not participating in the lesson over a whistle, attempted to locate specific denominations of cash to attach to a class trip form, and was constantly cleaning. These distractions were unhelpful to both professor and student and probably contributed to student’s lack of focus.

Regarding the content of the lesson, Prof. Mom started off with a proper focus on the difference between fiction and non-fiction genres and the need for specificity in writing. However, as the lesson went on, the professor seemed increasingly rushed and, by the end of the lesson, seemed to be offering answers versus soliciting participation from the student.

All in all, it seems that Prof. Mom had good intentions with the class. Clearly she was trying to impart important information. She also had a clearly stated learning goal with an observable outcome. However, she had a strong tendency to be overly critical, distracted, and seemed to “give up” by the end of the lesson. The outcome (the student creating a Venn Writing Diagram) was not clearly achieved. I strongly recommend that the professor seek additional support if she insists on continuing with these types of lessons.

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