Robert Kaplinsky is a genius and a titan in the Math-EduWorld. This year, he has called teachers to action by asking us to invite people into our classrooms and observe what we do. We should also ask those visitors to provide us feedback on specific topics of our choosing.
Since I am, once again, a first-year faculty member at a brand new district, the timing seemed perfect.
The following is the email that I sent to the faculty explaining the concept and inviting them to participate:
I want to thank you so much for the warm reception that I have received as a new member of the Leechburg faculty. Everyone has been friendly and welcoming and I am deeply appreciative. Transitions can be difficult, but you have all made it easy and wonderful. I very much look forward to getting to know you over this year and the years to come.
As we know, it's incredibly important for us to provide our students with actionable feedback. Often, however, we forget how valuable it is for us as teachers. We are often expected to be experts from Day 1, but we know that's not true. Every day, we learn and grow and work to become better educators for our students.
To this end, this year I am participating in a Call to Action from Robert Kaplinsky called #ObserveMe. I am inviting anyone and everyone to come and observe my classroom (406) whenever you have the time, and provide me with feedback on what you see. My goals this year are to improve the way that I interact with my students and promote student discourse within the class. Every teacher has their own learning goals and I would encourage everyone (who is comfortable doing so, because this can be scary) to post something similar outside of your room.
I welcome any questions that you may have and I very much look forward to working with all of you this year.
Thank you again for making me feel a part of your family.
The teachers that I've spoken to so far seem as though they may be open to this opportunity for growth. Being vulnerable is incredibly difficult, especially in teaching where everything we do is scrutinized so deeply.
Last week, the new superintendent of our district encouraged us to experiment and make mistakes. She said that as long as what we were trying was intended to be best for kids, she was with us. I hope that such administrative support will help teachers to take the risks that they have been afraid to take in the past.
I have posted the following outside of my room. Dozens of other teachers have done the same!
Join us! Grow with us!
I really like how you addressed the social realities that others may feel uncomfortable both being observed and observing others. Please share back with us as to how it goes.ReplyDelete
I absolutely will! It should be interesting since no one knows me yet.Delete
I'm really excited to start this tomorrow.ReplyDelete
Copy...paste! Love the letter as a way to communicate what you are trying to do with the rest of your staff. Our district is also trying to encourage teachers to observe other teachers so this is a perfect fit. Thanks!ReplyDelete
That's pretty great! I have high hopes for it and I'd love to hear how yours goes!Delete
I plan on doing this too!! I love the email you sent out. Are you back to teaching math?ReplyDelete
I am! 7th and 8th grade. :-)Delete