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Unannounced Formal Observation last week of school

Administrator Issue 


Full Member
My Formal Observation was due on April 30th. My administrator never came in once during the entire school year to observe me (I'm continuing contract). This past week, he must have received a warning from our Principal because he finally decided to come in and do a formal observation. This is the last week of school and I teach 8th grade (they are now moving onto the high school). WE stopped submitting lesson plans the week before and really have not been planning anything since the school is just doing pull-outs for testing make-ups and retakes. I do have students completing a final project and/or make-up work to bring their grades up, but those who are content with their grades are basically "checked out".

He wrote up my final observation, citing me for not having through lesson plans, not having the learning target posted, and having students not engaged and/or not participating in the class.

I do not want to sign this because:
1) this was unannounced and it was during the last week of school
2) lesson plans were not necessary to be submitted and learning targets were not necessary
3) it is not my fault that he is 6 weeks late with my observation so he decided to come in and hastily do one

When I mentioned these concerns, he told me that "you should be teaching all the way up to the last day of school and I can come in any time to do an observation" (But a 'formal' one?)

Thoughts? Am I in the wrong? (I have been teaching 15 years and am the head of my department)


Senior Member
That's a crummy gotcha move on the admin's part. Do you have a union? Union leadership around here would advise you not to sign it due to the due date of all observations. Contracts usually spell out a teacher's rights on this issue. Look at your contract carefully. I'm guessing this is another way to drive out experienced,older more expensive teachers. Not anything new in the teaching profession.


Senior Member
Agree with Anna. One year, our principal missed the due date and the formal observation wasn’t done. We did get our overall evaluation but it was fine.

Check with your union if you have one. If not, check your contract carefully. Choices in my order of preference…

1. Don’t sign it. (If no repercussions.)
2. Sign it with a statement next to the signature that my signature only acknowledges receiving a copy of the observation. I do not agree with the observation.
3. Same as #2 but add a rebuttal to be attached to the observation. Make sure it goes in your file.

Sorry you have to deal with this due to your administrator’s incompetence.
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Senior Member
I would talk to your union rep about what not signing it means. In my school system signing an evaluation means that you read it didn't necessarily agree with the contents.

Five days before I retired I had a scheduled observation. The principal asked the assistant principal to do it. When we met the next day the observation wasn't discussed. We just chit chatted.

My principal was a nasty piece of work.
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Senior Member
That is ridiculous! You are not in the wrong. Admin is clueless to what a classroom is really like at this point and is trying to cover his butt since he totally dropped the ball. :(
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Senior Member
I am also curious if you have a union. I keep hearing that the union can "only grieve the process," which typically isn't helpful, but in your case it might actually be. If it's writing in the contract that formal observations are to be done by April 30th, and your P did yours after that, you should have cause for a grievance. What that looks like and how it may or may not benefit you, IDK. I'd talk with the union and others in the building about that.


Senior Member
Would talking to your principal be an option? Mine would address the issue.


Senior Member
Per our contract our admin can’t come in after the due date (that’s why it’s called a due date). Are you sure they can do the observation after the due date? I’d check your contract and confirm that before you sign.

2 other thoughts:
1) what was your final score? If you got a satisfactory or above I’m not sure it’s worth the fight.
2) I’d you didn’t get the satisfactory then I’d talk to someone about fighting it, especially since it was after the due date. In my old district we can fight the process, but not the product. Meaning we could fight this because the admin messed up the process by doing the observation after the due date so we’d get it tossed.

School Time

Senior Member
My first thought was the union. If you spoke to the principal, would that help or make things worse? Was his observation so low that you would need to be on a remediation plan? If not, would it cause any problem? I do understand that you take pride in what you do and this is upsetting. But if fighting it would make things worse, it might be best to let it go (easier said than done!).

We don't have a timetable that I know of. But I once had a principal wait to have my summative meeting until an hour before teachers were done for the summer. He did that because he was putting something in I wouldn't like. He knew I would sign it and not fight. He was also being transferred.


Senior Member

Our contract is very clear about observation due dates. After our final observation, the administrator must meet with us within a time frame or the entire process becomes void. The other side of that coin is you have to start all over, so it just kicks the observation can down the road. Most teachers will agree to meet after the due date (this is allowed if both parties agree) and get it over with.

Our contract calls for x number of drop in observations and 3 planned evaluations. The latter must be on a day agreed upon in advance.

Your admin sounds like a real piece of work. I hope you can find a solution.

desert flower

Senior Member
I wouldn't sign it. If you do, make sure a rebuttal is attached to the evaluation. Get a copy and make sure it goes in your file.


Senior Member
If you have a union rep., for sure don't sign it until you've discussed it with your rep. If you don't have a union, in your place I would take my complaint straight up the chain of command to the school board, if necessary.

NJ Teacher

Senior Member
You are not wrong…

I would definitely consult my union rep. This administrator missed the April 30th deadline. He should have had the brains to not write up such a critical observation during the last week of school. Realistically and honestly, what did he expect? I taught elementary, but we would have been doing wrap-up projects, board games, videos etc. it is one thing to write a suggestion or two, but this was harsh and over-the-top in my opinion.

I would definitely rebut it. Have you ever had a problem with this administrator before? He seems like he has an axe to grind.

It would be interesting to see whether your final rating score with this observation still gave you an effective rating. They might not be willing to put it through without your signature on this one. My principal always claimed she did not know the final summatiive score till the end.


Senior Member
This makes me so angry for you! What kind of miserable person he must be. PP have given good advice, I have nothing to add. I just wanted to offer you support.


Senior Member
aw, he77, no!

others have given you excellent advice. i'm curious if you have a union because that will make the biggest difference.

please let us know what you end up doing!


Senior Member
One year I was at a school and admin thought I didn’t need an observation. Wrong! I needed 2! When did I find out? Last week of school! I have one 4 days before the end of the year and one the last day of damn school.

Never saw any follow up and I was gone after that year!


Senior Member
My new at the time principal tried to pull this. He also had the eval backdated to the correct due date. I guess he thought I would be too intimidated to question him. I signed acknowledging receipt only and wrote on the eval that he did not follow required procedures. He also gave me all average ratings when I had 15 years of excellent ratings.

Schedule a meeting with your union rep present ( I also included his supervisor).


Senior Member
What happened flutetoot? If you don't have a union, what are your next steps? This is just crappy what he did to you and you are not wrong!!