I’m a bit of what some would call a perfectionist. In school, I was devastated if I didn’t receive an A. In the swimming pool or in a regatta, first place was the only option. At work, my colleagues make fun of me and call me “a square” and make fun of me for “wearing a seatbelt” at my desk.
So you can imagine my surprise, disappointment, and shock when I received my first failing grade.
After almost three and a half years of working at Teachstone, I failed my pre-K CLASS re-certification test. Twice.
It was humiliating. As the Director of Product Marketing, I don’t spend my days immersed in the CLASS Manual or observing classrooms, but the CLASS domains and dimensions are a part of my everyday life whether it’s thinking through the goals of a new product or reviewing a colleague’s blog post. We strive to practice what we preach at Teachstone, providing strengths-based feedback and having meaningful conversations and engaging one another in learning. How could I show my face around the office—let alone support my team—if I couldn’t even do a simple thing like pass my recertification test?
Thanks to some coaching and support from colleagues, as well as a good deal of self-reflection, I walk away from this experience stronger and with three pieces of wisdom to share with others who are struggling to pass reliability:
I now know what so many of you are going through as you struggle through certification and recertification (and the anxiety leading up to these tests). My job did not depend on my passing this test, so I know the stakes are much higher for many of you. I do hope, however, that you will take these lessons to heart, seek support from Teachstone, and have faith in your own failure.
And in case you haven’t figured it out, third time (plus studying, coaching, and more studying) is a charm. I finally passed the CLASS reliability test and look forward to receiving my certification card and sharing it proudly the next time I observe!
As the Community Manager with Teachstone, I have been able to talk to many observers, trainers, coaches, and general CLASS lovers. I have found a common thread among these groups: a desire to connect with other CLASS users and put their CLASS knowledge to use.
We often hear from CLASS Observers that are interested in observing more classrooms. Meanwhile, many organizations—particularly smaller organizations or those doing research studies—don’t have Certified CLASS Observers and are in search of observers in their area.
If you're a CLASS observer, you've probably found yourself in a situation where you have to make inferences or rely on contextual evidence when assigning scores. However, it should always be your goal to minimize subjectivity and assumptions. You have to prevent your emotions, opinions, and ideas that are not a part of the CLASS tool from influencing scoring. Achieving an emotionless state of objectivity while observing can be incredibly challenging. It takes practice to recognize when objectivity is threatened and respond accordingly.