Visiting the Classroom of a Colleague: A worthwhile endeavor

A school goal for the staff at EBHS this year has been to spend time in the classrooms of our fellow teachers, somewhat in a “classroom walk through” type idea. The research-supported theory behind this goal is that we will become better teachers as we learn from each other, whether that be learning a new method, a review idea, a technology tip or how to interact with a student that we’ve had a hard time getting through to.

Some staff have taken advantage of this opportunity and have indeed learned lots from their colleagues. Unfortunately, I’ve been frustrated by the overall lack of desire of teachers in our school to participate in this opportunity. Sometimes I’ve been close to thinking that the goal was misguided or too ambitious for high school teachers who are used to just doing what they do.

Fortunately however, as I listened to colleagues in my Master’s class discuss their supervisory platforms there was a common theme: teachers sharing in each others’ classrooms was part of almost everyone’s ideal school operation and supervision vision.

So obviously, our school goal of teachers visiting each others classrooms is one that is still worthwhile pursuing.

My classmates’ commonalities of vision are all consistent with features of our own school goal – which my classmates have confirmed are worthwhile. Here are some of the elements that we believe will lead to an environment of teachers as learners:

  1. Open door policy. It’s much easier to slip into someone’s class for a few minutes as you are walking by if the door is open.
  2. Collaboration should be normal. It should be routine to walk into anyone’s classroom and have fun and collaborate.
  3. Teachers shouldn’t wonder or ask, why is this person in my room?  Checking out what students are doing in other courses should be a natural part of a school’s professional climate.  It is important to see a student who struggles in your subject area excel somewhere else.

My Masters classmates have described being in someone else’s classroom as their greatest learning opportunities, as their greatest PD. My own experience confirms this. Now if only…

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