Last year my ELA teachers and I traveled to Katy, TX to watch and learn from the ELA teachers at Morton Ranch Jr High. We were interested in how they utilized the Readers and Writers Workshop model in 45 minutes in a middle school setting. I wrote about our experience in this blog post here. Today was an opportunity for our school to return the favor.
My friend and fellow principal from Katy ISD, Dr. Sanee Bell contacted me and said that she wanted to bring her math team to AMCMS and observe how we teach math. Sanee and I first met through the Texas Principals’ Vision Institute through N2Learning where we really learned the value of making connections between campuses. Today’s visit was just as valuable for me and my teachers as it was for her and her teachers.
When you know that you are going to have visitors and you will be questioned about what you are doing, you are going to be engaged in your work. This is the power of peer observations. Whether your peers are from across the hall or from across the state, it does not matter, the accountability to each other is still the same. You want them to observe something they can take away and put into place in their daily work.
As an administrator I challenge you to develop these types of relationships with your fellow principals. In district our out of district, it does not matter. Your teachers and students benefit from these relationships. Go visit another school and see what you can learn from them. Allow others to visit you and see what they can learn from you. What you will find out is you will learn from each other.
The observations are conversation starters for you and your team of teachers. Take what you observed and learned, apply it to your current reality and make it your own. Don’t wait for perfection because you will never get started.
As a classroom teacher I challenge you to be open to being observed. If your principal has invited others to come in and observe you it is because your principal thinks you have something worth learning from going on in your room. Is it nerve wracking to have guests? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes! Why? Because you are refining your craft and pushing yourself to be your best.
If you are asked to go and watch a peer teach, go in with an open mind and an eye for something new or different. Take pictures of what you like, notes of what is working and what you want to implement in your classroom. Leave them a positive note to share what you noticed and what you appreciated about their work.
In the end, everyone grows professionally. That is the power in this type of learning.
Think. Achieve. Succeed.
Director of Instruction and Leadership Development
Do what you can, with what you have, where you are
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