Classroom Observation Guidelines

This outline walks you through the regular process of undergoing a classroom observation based upon our CBA and our 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 one first suggested. Some observing faculty may ask you to email a copy of your course syllabus.
  2. 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 he/she is joining the class to give feedback on your teaching. 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. 
  3. Schedule a post-observation meeting: The observing faculty might initiate the meeting. If not, you have the right to request a meeting to discuss his/her response to your class within a reasonable time after the observation.
  4. Get support if you expect a negative meeting.  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 request a union representative (steward) to attend the meeting with you. We urge you to inform the observer that your union steward will be present.
  5. Get support if the meeting becomes negative.  FFU faculty who have not asked a Steward to accompany them may still get support. If during the post-observation meeting you come to have a reasonable belief that the faculty comments will lead to discipline or discharge, you have the legal right to stop the meeting and inform the observer you wish to ask your union steward to be present with you. Contact the Steward. If he or she cannot join the meeting at that time, you have the legal right to reschedule the meeting at a time that suits all three parties. Legally, there can be no repercussions for exercising these rights with our union.
  6. Request a written summary:  Observing faculty customarily give the FFU faculty a copy of his/her written observation report (called a “summary” in the contract). If that doesn’t happen, we recommend that you ask him/her for it when scheduling the post-observation meeting.
  7. Respond in writing to your observation: You have the right to add your own comments about the observation summary, 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 (don’t counter-attack) and ask colleagues or stewards for advice before responding. Our contract does not stipulate a deadline, but we recommend submitting it within a week or as soon as possible. 
  8. Obtain a copy: We recommend that you ask the observing faculty, department administrator, or Human Resources for a copy of the final version containing any comments you have added.

Questions? Contact Us.

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