While the flu and polar vortex may be grabbing the headlines this week, school and instruction are still carrying on as normal. And to that end, I thought I’d write this week on one of the ways we help our faculty to grow and develop over time. Every year, Jen Griffith and I observe every faculty member teach a lesson in the winter months. Teachers write a lesson plan in advance detailing their goals, modes of differentiation, and, most importantly, what they’d like us to be on the lookout for in terms of improvement. After observing the lesson, we set up an appointment to talk about it in detail, going over the strengths and suggestions for improvement, and especially addressing the area they asked for help in. It is a fascinating exercise every year to see 15-20 teachers in different subjects and grades going about their daily business. I always end the process rejuvenated and reaffirmed about the excellent work that goes on in our classrooms on a daily basis (no matter the temperatures!).
Additionally, our teachers on their own are beginning to form “Critical Friends” groups in which teams of teachers also observe each other and do a similar process on a peer-to-peer basis (and a tip of the cap to Patrick Donovan for taking the lead in this area). This was completely voluntary, but shows our faculty’s commitment to ongoing development. While all this may be “routine business” to us, I thought you might like a peek into one of the ways we help our teachers to continue to develop as progressive, caring, and effective educators!