I have a very supportive admin and one of them happened to mention to me that she would love to visit my classroom someday. As she is a former English teacher and department head, I decided that rather than have her just observe what was happening in my room, I would put her to work.
My grade ten applied students are working on a 20 Time Project and in following Kevin Brookhouser’s model, I asked them to complete a 30 second elevator pitch to explain what their respective projects are and why they are important. We co-created success criteria and shared that with her so that she was aware of our learning goals. I didn’t want this task to be summative as I plan to have each student do some kind of sharing (I’m thinking along the lines of a poster session but they will be free to share their thinking in a fashion that best suits them) so they pitched their ideas to her solely for feedback. I am also interested in how to track data so I asked her to fill out a Google Form about each student.
In my observations of how the period progressed and in the debrief conferences I had from the students after they presented to her, here are some reflections:
– it was great for the students to hear descriptive feedback from another educator as some heard the same message from her that I had been communicating the last few days and it changed their thinking
– my students were nervous to present to the vice principal so it opened the door for conversations about how to overcome and control nerves
– being able to have her thoughts and recorded feedback helps me reflect on how I see my students
– as a different teacher, she gave feedback that I might not and that is always beneficial for students
But more importantly, what I feel the most excited about and inspired by was the relationship building that took place this morning. I’m a rapport teacher and spend a lot of time interacting with my students to know them as individuals and after this morning, I can tell she is too. I loved watching and listening to the questions she asked each student about his or her project and how she made a point to connect with each and every student. The students really reflected on how she wanted to know more and she commented that I have a really awesome group of open and honest individuals. I love that the students had the opportunity to see her in such a positive light, but that she got to experience the joy that is my group of students.
It was more than I could have asked for…