“Innovation is the change that unlocks new value.” – Jamie Notter
The classroom is a sacred space. Like most educators and administrators, I believe this wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, this mentality can lead to the classroom being a closed sacred space. Just as one might feel like an outsider in a church of a different denomination, or like an alien landing in a strange, new world, classroom observations often have had a similar feel for me. I am the administrator, the interloper, in someone else’s sacred space. I have done many observations and too often, it’s the same dynamic: I am in the back of the room, the teacher is on display, the teacher is curious and/or worried about what I am thinking, and we close the cycle with a perfunctory follow-up meeting.
No one won in this experience, and I was certain there was a better way. Continue reading Unlocking New Value In Classroom Observations
If you want to know what a student thinks, just ask him.
Last week, our students completed yearly surveys about their current courses and teachers. I believe that students’ candid feedback is the greatest resource administrators and teachers have to identify areas of concern and facilitate improvements, both in our classrooms and on our campus.
Educators must always be searching for and creating venues to capture reliable data; it helps us to understand the effectiveness of teachers, curricula, and programs. And while I am not diminishing the value of traditional academic data and analysis, I am promoting the value of insight from students. Continue reading Take the Time to Ask
“Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the presence of action in spite of that fear.” As both a high school student and athlete, this quote meant a great deal to me. It encouraged me to press on in the face of self-doubt and adversity.
Later, as a young teacher, I focused on this quote, “Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It grounded me and kept me inspired on difficult days when students smirked, lessons imploded, and objectives completely missed the mark.
Now, as a veteran teacher and school administrator, I reflect on the following quote. I find it apropos of everything. Weekly. Daily. And yes, sometimes hourly.
“If you want to hear God laugh, make a plan.”
Continue reading Teachers Who Make It Work
Have you ever wondered, “What are my students thinking today?” Recently, I have found myself considering this, and it leads me to more questions. Are they enjoying class? Do they feel like it’s meaningful? Are they even present in the moments in which I think learning is occurring? Is this class beneficial for them, both now and in the future? What distractions exist in my classroom that affect my students? How can I help them be present? Continue reading Today’s Lesson Plan: Do Nothing