In my new role I am fortunate to be invited into teachers' classrooms and assist in both planning and execution of lessons. This for some is difficult because they are vulnerable. They know there is another set of eyes in the room making note of what happened, or in some cases didn't happen. This in my opinion is a good thing. I used to invite others into my classroom. It leads to great conversation and growth if both parties approach it this way.
They're not there YET moments!
When observing areas where teachers aren't there yet, I approach it with my coaching hat. Meaning I am there to help them grow and move forward, not judging them. We can all do better and most of us are aware of that fact. All teachers need to be encouraged and shown a reason for making that growth and changing because let's face it change is hard.
The Call to Action!
We all have opportunities to help other teachers whether it be those in our own building or connections made online, we have the chance to make positive change. Each of us has the potential to make a positive impact on those around us by doing some simple and some difficult things.
First the simple things:
- BVOS- Be the Best Version of your Self that you can be each and every day. When you are in your classroom focus on your students, make genuine connections with them and stay positive. This energy will spread to others. Be that positive force in your building and others will follow.
- Be there for others- stop and listen to others, support them, and let them know you are there for them. This is both for students and colleagues.
- Celebrate success- I used to send emails to the staff when I saw positive things happening in their classrooms. Students would tell me of an awesome lesson, or I would visit a class and share out this great positive energy. Also get together with colleagues and share out what is going well, working, and most importantly the awesome things your students are doing. I have organized sharing sessions where teachers have given me great ideas, and more importantly gave me an in to build a relationship with my students.
The Difficult things
- Take on the challenge to be GREAT! - We can't live in mediocrity any longer. We have to expect greatness from ourselves, and doing this on a daily basis is difficult. Challenge yourself to bring your A Game daily, which let's face it should just be our Game! We should always bring it!
- Challenge others to be Great- you want to work in a great school with a student centered culture with positive energy then you have to challenge others to be great too! You have to work together to achieve school wide greatness, but the rewards are immeasurable.
- STOP the Negative Nellies, the pessimists in their tracks. While we all have an occasions difficult experience, or get frustrated, we can't allow this negativity to suck the energy from our building. We need to stand up to those who point out problems but never have a solution. Challenge them to fix the issue- to take ownership of the problem and do what we ask our students to do daily.
- Have the difficult conversations- when you see a colleague who isn't pushing themselves to be Great, who isn't creating great learning opportunities for students, or who isn't creating positive relationships with others, open up a dialogue. Put on your coaching hat and help them figure out how to get on their path to greatness.
As I was finalizing this post, I came across this challenge on Twitter from two amazing Admins, Shelly Burgess and Beth Houf - LeadLAP Challenges This is one in a series of challenges for Leaders to embark on creating a positive school culture. I love this week's challenge of visiting other teachers' classrooms. During our observation cycle we were expected to get into other teachers' rooms to observe. This was a great experience because I got to see great teaching. It gave me great insights into how to connect content and to build relationships with kids. I saw a lot of different content areas and many different teaching styles. I would encourage you whether classroom teacher, or admin to take on these challenges. Visit classrooms, see what is happening and start conversations to learn and grow together.