As we continue our Lighthouse Journey, it is important that we trust and rely on one another throughout the journey and especially through peer observation. Our call for colleagues to observe one another is three-fold in purpose: 1. Establish comfort. 2. Encourage colleagues. 3. Learn from others.
In a few short weeks, we’ll be inundated with visitors from other BCPS schools, districts around the state and nation, and perhaps, international visitors. It’s important that you’re all comfortable with anyone and everyone visiting your classroom. If the notion of visitors makes you queasy, I encourage you to tackle that fear head on and invite others in to observe something specific about your instruction or your classroom with the #ObserveMe protocol. Consider your personal goals and how you bring the SPP to life in your classroom (you know, that chart in your dept. office). Specifying what you want observers to focus on can be less scary – and much more helpful – than leaving the observation wide open. People are coming to observe your classroom; get used to it; enjoy it!
We work together in these hallowed halls and may see one another at faculty meetings and happy hour… I mean poetry readings, but how often do you get to see your peers in action and drop them a line of encouragement? Your colleagues are awesome – go see them and tell them what you love about their work! You can spot lots of awesome in 5-10 minutes and your words of encouragement can inspire even greater things.
Regarding improving your own practices, there are few better places to reflect on your own teaching than in someone else’s classroom. Consider the classroom, the walls, how students interact in the space. Consider the strategies utilized, how are students interacting with text, with the teacher, or with each other? What practices can you try or build upon in your own classroom? What ideas can you steal!? Again – your colleagues are awesome; go see them and steal their ideas. Maybe together you can make an idea, a strategy or technique, even more meaningful, more powerful.
No one promised this journey would be easy, but we did commit to taking risk and working together. Peer observation is both risk and reward – don’t be afraid to jump in! Do you have the guts to #ObserveMe?