Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Visit

A teacher came into my classroom today.

This wasn’t an exercise in watching me teach, or it wasn’t supposed to be initially.  This is something promoted by teachers and administrators.  The idea is that teachers volunteer to follow students around for one day to remind teachers what it is like to sit in classes for the day while witnessing teaching styles.  This probably totally negates my comment about not watching teachers teach but it’s hard wrap one’s mind about bureaucracy on occasion.  My guess is that it’s a way to motivate teachers to get into other teachers classrooms by hitting the pity cord on following students all day.

I won’t be following a student all day.

I absolutely see the value in watching others teach, and to be perfectly honest I don’t do it enough.  In fact this year I haven’t done it at all.  I could blame a lot of things but when it comes down to it I just don’t have “view other teachers” as part of my current priority list.  It should be.  Teaching is all about gathering best practices and applying those practices to your own classroom style and personality.  If you are a teacher you should be visiting classrooms all over campus.  Visit teachers that are totally unlike you.  ; your mannerisms, your speech, your energy.  Visit teachers that you might not agree with philosophically, weather politically or pedagogically.  Visit a few each year and don’t feel like you need to over-analyze things that you witness in the classroom.  Don’t nit-pick.  Look for little things that make your room better, look for errors that can be overcome in your room, look for changes in the environment that might enhance student experiences. 

Oh, and don’t follow a student for a day.  Or go ahead but I don’t really see the point.  The idea that teachers need to remember what students go through is a tad bit patronizing.  I for one remember what high school was like and don’t necessarily want my students to experience some of my old classes, hence my teaching style.  But to follow the lead of a student for the sake of remembering that experience is sort of a waste of human capital. 

The teacher seemed to get some things out of the experience in my class as I always solicit feedback from visitors.  That’s a good day in my eyes.  But I need to get out more.  I’ve gotten lazy by reading the Interwebz and stealing ideas from the teachers 0nline. 

Time to branch out.      

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