These Worst-Ever Teacher Observation Stories Are Helping Us To Not Feel Alone


Classroom Observations

It’s happened to all of us, but for some, it’s worse than others. If you thought teaching with some toilet paper on your shoe during an observation was bad, you’d better brace yourself. Because these teacher observation stories are truly the worst. To these poor souls, we say, “Solidarity.”

Kids say the darndest things

“I had a kid talking about farts while he was supposed to be doing centers. I did not know this until the post-conference.” —Aubrey J.

“One of my students saw my observer and asked, ‘Who is that old lady?'” —Julie K.

“I’m a special education teacher, and it’s important that I let my kids know about any changes or visitors to our room, or they end up having meltdowns. My admin came to observe my lesson, and one of my kids started yelling, ‘Is THAT the person who is watching you? When can we stop doing so much work and have a long brain break like you usually have?!'” —AnomalousINFJ

“My second student teaching placement was in third grade. During a math observation, one of the girls asked if she could use the bathroom. We had just a few minutes left, so I asked if she could wait. She ended up yelling out, ‘I HAVE TO POOP!!!’ at the top of her lungs in front of my mentor teacher and university supervisor.” —imgoingimgoingimgone

Technical difficulties


“During one of my observations during student teaching, I didn’t realize that everything I placed under the document camera was showing up upside down until my post conference. Oops.” —Erica B.

“I had a formal observation that I had planned very carefully for. I came in early to make sure all the technology was working and to make sure my plans were in order. When my principal came into the room for the observation, neither my computer nor my document camera would work, and they had just worked 30 minutes before.” —Michele K.

“I showed a clip from The Economist about the Hong Kong protests (yay relevance and current events!). I managed to pause the video IN THE EXACT SPLIT SECOND the f-bomb was written very clearly in graffiti on a wall. Like, blink and you’d miss it, except you didn’t because I PAUSED THE STUPID VIDEO RIGHT THERE. In front of my evaluating admin.” —howdoichangethisok

“First year. First observation. BBC news page refreshed from the clip I had queued to a clip about Hugh Hefner asking for a federal bailout of the adult film industry. It only played for a couple seconds before I just yanked the projector cord.” —Asherahs_Daughter

Wardrobe malfunctions

“I put my shirt inside out on the day of my observation. I took my 3/4 sleeve button up shirt off because I was sweating like a pig and then kept playing with a tag on my shirt while teaching. Turned on the lights and realized that it was inside out and successfully cut off the tag while kids were partnering up.” —Jacqueline Z.

“I spilled my entire cup of coffee on my pants, so for the observation, I was in sweat pants. It wasn’t a Friday. And I don’t teach gym.” —Kaitlyn L.

Open mouth, insert foot

“I had a student who I suspected had weed on him, but I avoided engaging with that day so I wouldn’t have any concrete proof because honestly, I was just trying to not get him suspended. That day I got observed. Principal asked if it smelled like weed. I said, ‘I hadn’t noticed. It’s not me, I swear!’ She did not laugh.” —ceMmnow

“A student argued with me on something I said in lecture while my fourth-grade class was being observed by the principal. The student was right.” —blinkingsandbeepings

“When I was student teaching, I went to call on a student and totally forgot the kid’s name.” —Phil F.

Kids will be… kids?

“As part of the work during my lesson, there was a question about there being a certain amount of corn. Just a simple math problem as part of a much larger, more complicated piece of work. Really, just a throwaway to get kids thinking in the right direction. With the admin sitting right next to her, this girl refused to even start because… she didn’t like corn. I summoned my patience and suggested she cross out corn and put down apples. Didn’t like apples either. I got flustered and walked away because I’ve had 25 other kids working away who apparently didn’t have an aversion to corn.” —CommanderMayDay

“I had a few students passing notes. I reached behind me without looking and snagged it mid-pass. But one girl wouldn’t let go of it. I told her to give it to me because I was just going to throw it away. We went back and forth a bit, and she finally went to bite my hand. She clamped down like a freaking alligator. I just released the note, she released me, and I continued teaching.” —WolftankPick

“Admin walks in just as one kid decides that it’s a good time to start flapping his arms like a chicken and shouting the alphabet.” —Kaaarul9

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These Worst-Ever Teacher Observation Stories Are Helping Us To Not Feel Alone