Sure, I may be in my fourth year of teaching, but today, I was required to observe in other teachers’ classrooms. Some may not think that this is as important as other “professional development” opportunities. I’ve also been collaborating with other teachers, literacy coaches, administrators, etc. district-wide. So some may ask: do you really see the value in observing other teachers in your building?
Absolutely. Others may wish to be in their classrooms, teaching (and of course, a large part of me did!), but I also gained some incredible insights and saw just a snippet of the overwhelming talent from the teachers at Freedom; teachers who are, quite literally, right above me.
Some of my observations:
– students demonstrating higher-level thinking skills by discussing the connections between society long ago (the muckrakers) and society today
– students being praised for their participation and their support of their classmates’ ideas
– teachers goofing around with their students, joking about the One Direction posters in their classroom (don’t let that fool you, it’s all about relationship-building and rapport)
– creative juices flowing; enabling students to use their 1:1 technology in a myriad of ways, including presentations to classes with apps, poetry, raps, posters, and music
– students helping one another instead of waiting for teacher redirection
Honestly? Today I saw students being pushed out of their comfort zones and to what is likely a fraction of their full potential. Too often I feel that we, as teachers, expect far less of our kids than what they are capable of. I am so grateful to be reminded just how much they can do when we believe in them, work with them, push them, and trust them. Not to mention, how much they can do when they trust us.
Thank you to those teachers who opened their classrooms to me today.