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What Principals are REALLY Looking for During Observation Lessons

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Show Notes:

Observation lessons are nerve-wracking, especially for new teachers. It can be hard to know exactly what principals are looking for when they’re observing, which can lead to additional stress. I know how anxious first year teachers can be before their first observations so I invited Cari Owens, an elementary principal, to join us and share what she looks for during observation lessons.

Cari Owens’ career in education began in 1993 in Louisiana as a fourth grade teacher. Since that time, she’s had the privilege of serving both elementary and middle school students in Louisiana and Texas. In 2014, she began her journey as a school administrator in Frisco, Texas, serving on elementary and middle school campuses. Since 2018, she’s been a part of the McKinney ISD family with her first position at Wilmeth Elementary as an assistant principal. 2022-23 was her first principalship at Eddins Elementary in McKinney.  

In episode 254, Cari talked about what she looks for when interviewing potential teachers and shared how she really looks for teachers who truly love children and who focus on connection over content. In this episode, Cari is sharing the 4 things she looks for during an observation lesson, how she recommends teachers prepare for observations, and what advice she has for teachers who receive critical feedback. I know that Cari’s insight will help calm some nerves and anxiousness about observation lessons and I am so grateful she shared her amazing tips with us!

I truly hope that your administrators are as amazing as Cari and that they use observation lessons as a way to support you in your growth! If you are still feeling a bit nervous about your observation lessons, be sure to grab the 15 Tips for an Outstanding Teacher Interview Lesson FREEBIE so you can feel calm, confident, and prepared for your next observation!

Inside this week's show, you'll learn:

  • Cari’s alternate route to teaching and administration
  • The 4 things Cari looks for during observation lessons and how you can best prepare
  • Why it’s important to work closely with your teaching team
  • The importance of effective classroom management and being willing to learn as a teacher
  • What advice Cari has for new teachers who receive critical feedback on their observation lesson

Links & resources mentioned inside this episode:

I hope this information is helpful as you prepare for your first, second, or third year of teaching. Until next time, remember, just because you're a beginning elementary teacher, there's no need for you to struggle like one.

πŸ’› Lori

Dr. Lori Friesen | Beginning Teacher Mentor

Creator of the R.E.A.D.Y. for School Academy, Dr. Lori Friesen has mentored thousands of beginning teachers across the country through her workshops and courses. Host of the popular podcast, Beginning Teacher Talk, and creator of the innovative literacy program for 1st and 2nd grade, Dogs Help Kids Read and Succeed, Dr. Lori is dedicated to serving educators and inspiring learners. Learn more at and at

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