Classroom Observation Guidelines

This outline walks you through the regular process of undergoing a classroom observation based upon our CBA and our FFU recommendations. For the precise language governing classroom observations, see our union agreements.  

  1. Schedule the observation: You have the right to schedule the observation by mutual agreement. There should be no repercussion if you offer different dates/times from the those first suggested. Some observing faculty may ask you to email a copy of your course syllabus.
  2. Read over the observation form beforehand. The form will give you a good idea of the criteria the faculty-observer is being asked to take into account during your observation. See the A&S faculty-observer form or the GSSS faculty-observer form.
  3. Teach as normally as you can: The observing faculty should arrive just before your class and greet you. How you explain the faculty’s presence to students is your prerogative; a standard approach is to introduce the faculty and explain that she/he is joining the class to give feedback on your teaching or on the class. It might help to prepare your lesson if you can get a sense of your department’s expectations of teaching techniques, such as group work. 
  4. Schedule a post-observation meeting: The observing faculty might initiate the meeting. If not, you have the right to request a meeting to discuss her/his response to your class within a reasonable time after the observation.
  5. Get support if you expect a negative meeting or if it becomes negative. These post-observation meetings are usually collegial. However, if you have a reasonable belief that the observing faculty’s perspective could lead to discipline or discharge, you have the right to stop or reschedule the meeting to request a union representative (FFU steward) to attend the meeting with you. Legally there can be no repercussions for exercising these rights. We urge you to inform FFU and the observer that your union steward will be present.
  6. Request a written summary: Observing faculty customarily give FFU faculty a copy of her/his written observation report within 72 hours of the observation. If that doesn’t happen, we recommend that you ask her/him for it, whether or not you have scheduled or plan to schedule a post-observation meeting.
  7. Respond in writing to your observation: You have the right to add your own comments about the observation summary (see the A&S and GSSS observation forms linked above), which will then be appended to the summary document. We recommend that you do so: your response can help if the summary is ever used as evidence for discipline or discharge. Tips for responding: write succinctly in a neutral tone and ask colleagues or an FFU steward if you’d like advice before responding. Our contract does not stipulate a deadline for your response, but we recommend submitting it promptly. 
  8. Obtain a copy: We recommend that you ask the observing faculty, department administrator, or Human Resources for a copy of the final version including any comments you have added.

Questions? Contact Us.

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