Saturday, July 9, 2011

How did I do?

Last year I set two goals for myself: close my computer when students or colleagues came into my office to speak with me and to regularly visit classes across the school.

Of the first goal I give myself an above average assessment. I did almost always shut my laptop. I noticed rather quickly that I still got everything done, my email still was answered  and I was more or less prepared for each class. More importantly, I realized that I was remembering the conversations! This helped me as well as I didn't have to re-ask questions as frequently. Also, I would like to think that when someone was looking for help, advice, an answer or just someone to explore an idea with what they received from me and my undivided attention was certainly felt better from my end. This shutting my laptop has become almost second nature -- not quite as automatic as buckling my safety belt but almost.

Visiting classes has been harder to make habitual. The first goal occasionally got in the way of the second goal. Shutting my laptop invited longer conversations. I allowed meetings to be scheduled in the times I had set aside to visit classes. I also allowed peer diffidence over having a colleague drop in for 10-15 minutes of their class to observe slow me down. But what I learned about our PreK-12 from the visits I did make was invaluable in my own growth as a teacher and in my greater understanding of our entire program and the way students' experience their education.

This year I will have "visiting classes" as my number one goal and enter periods for visiting into my calendar so that no one schedules over the top of these times. This will put me in more classes. Once I am in them, my next goal will be to share with them what I see, hear, learn and think.