In continuing my reflection of this teacher partner program I have a question for you or for us I suppose. What is the best why to do this thing?
So here’s the clarification: I now have access to quality release time. Meaning I can get a another teacher into my room to teach my class in 20-30 minute chunks to go see my department teach. I can also get someone to come in to my classroom and watch me and collect data and talk about it.
I’m super lucky right? Right. Here’s the thing just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s useful. I really want to apply this to it’s best possible use. Here are some thoughts I’ve had so far but I would love more.
- Pick a time when I need to do a certain thing and have the teacher partner observe (basic).
- Talk to other teachers about their plans and see specific plans (a little hard to coordinate).
- See other departments? What am I looking for?
- Naps? (JK, mostly)
Alright, your turn, what would you do with this?
3 thoughts on “What would you do with this?”
I would do it (and have done it) to build a reciprocal trusting relationship with a colleague, and to provide concrete instances of teaching to ground our future conversations. I would choose someone I already have a rapport with, but who I expect has some useful differences in teaching approaches (or experience or skill sets or whatever).
I gotta go with 1 and the converse of 1, go observe the other teacher (if they’re game). Make sure to have a pre and post meeting, and maybe that works with your release time (or some other prep time). Other depts can be useful especially since you’re probably looking for generalities and not content specific stuff. How does teacher A use discussion to enhance a “lecture”. How does teacher B transition back and forth between activities so quickly.
Does any of that make sense?
I really appreciate and agree with your comment about “just because you can do something doesn’t mean it’s useful.” That is a worry of mine with this structure. Yet, from the beginning, our philosophy and hope has been to set up space for good things to happen and trust that teachers will figure out how to use it well together.
I have a few thoughts (none of which are particularly specific), but I like to think about the big picture and let that dictate the particulars. With that said, I think the most productive use of that time is when you and your colleagues are exploring the spaces between your vision and reality – between what you would want your classroom to look like in your perfect world and what it looks like right now. It will feel most “useful” when it’s your own burning questions about teaching and learning that drive the work that you do on your own and with colleagues. I think I’m basically restating what Daniel suggested in his post (so-what-are-you-going-to-do-with-that-a-dream-job-proposal-in-honor-of-beyondprof) and what I wrote in my own a week or so ago (http://www.doingmathematics.com/blog/the-teacher-partnership-origins-and-goals).
So, slightly more specific, maybe that means you all decide on a question or focus for your inquiry. You might do that on your own or maybe this document sparks some ideas and conversation: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0DzFDNEoHkASmdibDhKN3ZabEk
I imagine that followed by:
a) some conversation around “what would it look and sound like if we were successful with that? what would we see and hear in student thinking/interaction?”
b) some brainstorming of teaching strategies/ideas/actions that you might take to foster that
c) some brainstorming of what data you could collect to reflect on the success of your ideas in b
d) carry those out, collect data, analyze and reflect
e) iterate starting back at goals
Maybe this short article offers more insight? http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/may14/vol71/num08/Rethinking-Classroom-Observation.aspx
In addition to that, it seems like some time to plan thoughtfully together and use student work/formative assessment to drive instructional decision-making would be a worthwhile use of time.
That feels like a lot. I wonder what, if anything, stands out for you?