So, today was an eye-opening day for me as a teacher. I had the privilege of observing my teammates as well as the current 2nd grade teachers and a couple of the first grade teachers!
Here is a little video that explains some of the thought process behind peer observations
I need to preface this post by saying that not *everyone* was on-board with the peer observation idea. In fact, some teachers were shakin' in their boots a lil' bit! We had to do it on a voluntary basis as well, so some teachers did say that they didn't want me or my third grade teamies to come in and observe them and we were respectful of that.
Okay, now that I got that off my chest :), let me tell you how wonderful it was! First of all, I spent the morning observing my two teammates. I have been with one of them for four years and she is a master teacher. I had the privilege of observing her during my first year of teaching and she has helped me out in so many ways. It was interesting to see how even though she has taught for 20+ years, she has changed and grown in the 4 years since I last observed her. It was also funny to see some of the ways that my teaching style has rubbed off on her and vice versa! My other teammate is a new teacher who subbed for 6 years before finding her forever home. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met and you can see her personality all over the classroom. She has a tough group and I was amazed to see how she dealt with some of the more difficult kiddos with such humor!
Since it is towards the end of the year we decided that we would focus our observations on classroom environment and community. It took the pressure off of us to create a fancy pants lesson to impress and instead we were just able to be normal! I would suggest that if you are planning on observing peers and you have someone who might be shy or nervous, find one of the areas of teaching that they are most proud of and decide to focus on that!
Another takeaway I got from this experiment is that teachers WANT to learn from each other and they want constructive feedback. I had so many meaningful conversations today that I would never have had if I hadn't had the opportunity to see a teacher in their "natural habitat." I made sure that before I left each room I said thank you and gave some positive feedback to the teacher in that room. That feedback sparked so many neat- yeah but I really want to improve ______________ conversations that I could have spent a whole day with each teacher!
I was left today feeling so positive about what is happening at my school and feeling like I got so many more ideas from visiting a few classrooms in my building than I would have if I had attended some fancy pants training. If you ever get the opportunity to learn from the teachers in your own building- take it- it is worth it!