Today, I spent a good portion of the day preparing for tomorrow’s monthly meeting with our first-year teachers. In doing so, Dan and I often enter into conversations about what the ideal situation would be for our first-year teachers to find themselves in a few years down the line. Mostly, the conversation centers on asking teachers to share what they do, as we have some extremely talented educators not only in our district, but also within this crop of new teachers.
Darren Draper’s latest post, which pulls a page from Carl Glickman’s book Leadership for Learning: How to Help Teachers Succeed. I’ve recopied the page here because Glickman makes points that I couldn’t possibly state any better.
As Darren quotes at the bottom of his post:
“How do teaching and learning improve? The answer is no mystery. It’s as simple as this: I cannot improve my craft in isolation from others” (p. 4).
Our push with the teachers we work with is not to call them out or catch them doing something wrong: it’s quite the contrary. We want to catch them being competent, and we don’t necessarily need to be the ones doing the “catching.” The concept of peer review, or as Glickman notes above “welcoming visitors with experience and expertise,” into classrooms, is, in my view, essential to the success of both teachers and the schools they work in.
What troubles me is how to proceed. What are the steps you take to get your staff to the point where they want feedback from others in their room? I don’t think it’s inconceivable for many teachers out there to be leery of having visitors come into the classroom without specific criteria in place, but in the same vein, Glickman makes a great case why we need collaborative professional contact.
Tomorrow’s meeting is one I am looking forward to, as we’ve planned the class completely using Kagan’s Structures. Lately, it’s gotten into my head to, as if I haven’t said this enough this year, be the change. Instead of talking about what good teaching should look like, I’d like to model it in the work that I do with other teachers. Tomorrow is a first step of sorts, and I am sure it will give me much to reflect about, whether or not it succeeds.
- Glickman, C. (2002). Leadership for learning: How to help teachers succeed. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Editor’s Note: Without realizing it, I totally ripped off Darren’s post title. I apologize for that. Since the initial posting last night, I have changed the title. Sorry for the oversight.