Keep Calm

Wow, it’s been a full year since my last post…it’s been a busy, fun filled, blessed year.

But this year has also come with it’s challenges (just like every other year:)).  The challenges seem to be draining me more than any other usual year.  I’m not really sure of the reason why, maybe the new school, maybe the new philosophy, maybe I’m getting old. :)  Recently, my husband texted me the following…

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Great advice from a very smart man (please don’t tell him I said that).  But, very fitting for the way my days were going.  Each day is always a new adventure, but each day I found myself questioning my decisions and rethinking my approach.  This simple phrase reminded me to continue to stay true to my beliefs about how to lead a school.

Leading a school is a tough job.  Don’t let anyone tell you any different.  When you are tired and drained, it is easy to lose your way.  Then there are beacons that remind you of your purpose.  After a particularly tough day, I walked down the hall into my office to see this…

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A beautiful reminder of the positive things we do every day, including the difficult ones.

From me to you…”Keep Calm and Principal On.”

imagine a place…

 

For the past few months I have been preparing to open a new school in our district.  I feel so fortunate, humbled and honoured to have this opportunity…oh and not to mention, just a little overwhelmed at times.

I think this is what most administrators would consider a dream…developing a vision, planning the space, the furniture, the schedule, the staff, etc.  And to be honest, it has been for me as well.

I recently had the opportunity to meet with our initial staff.  I spent a considerable amount of time researching, reflecting, questioning, thinking and re-thinking how the meeting should run.  There were sleepless nights and many discussions with colleagues and senior administrators.  I unintentionally “stole” an idea from another school when I came across the picture book, “Imagine a Place” written by Sarah Thompson.  After reading the book (which is a great resource for so many reasons) I decided to ask staff to “imagine a place.”  What would their ideal school look like, sound like, feel like?

So we read the book (actually watched it on youtube) and then crowded around a small table to reflect.  Here is what these amazing educators wrote:

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The remainder of our meeting went beautifully.  The teachers shared project ideas, instructional strategies, ideas around scheduling and school philosophy.  This activity helped to focus our work, our ideas and our reflections.

After taking time to read through the reflections I was filled with a sense of pride, awe and excitement!  This activity affirmed all of the work being done in preparing to open the school. It is a great visual of what we hope to achieve in our new learning environment.  Moving forward, I intend to use this chart as a reminder and as a focus in the work that we do.  Working together, we will “imagine a place” where students can be comfortable and succeed.

:)S

A favourite part of my day…

sunriseEvery morning I stand at the front doors of our school and welcome the students as they enter.  This is one of my favourite parts of the day.  I love starting their day with a smile and a cheerful, “good morning.”

We do not know how their morning has started. This greeting may be their first positive interaction of the day.  What a powerful responsibility.

As I have been at the school for a year and a half, I am proud to say that I know most of them by name.  I am able to ask about their week-end or their participation in events outside of the school.  It is my way to get to know these children a little bit more.  Getting to know them allows me to “read” their little faces.

Many questions cross my mind during this less-than-a-second daily interaction. Are they upset?  Are they angry? Or do they look happy and content? Did they eat breakfast?  Were they alone because their parents work early hours?  How was their bus ride?  Did they remember to bring their homework or library books?  Did someone read to them last night?  Were they given a hug by their mom or dad before they left for school?

There have been days where I rush to a teacher to let them know that I feel that student may have had a difficult start to their day or that a student is excited to share a family story!  I am able to share this insight with teachers if it is useful, but mostly, it is just a wonderful way to begin each day!

:)S

 

 

My school…

DSC_0046Day 5: Post a picture of your classroom (school), and describe what you see, and what you don’t see but would like to.

In our school I see the faces of the students.  Students reading, students collaborating, students learning.  Students smiling and laughing and students frustrated and sad.  Students growing and progressing.

In our school I see our staff.  We are so fortunate to have a dedicated and hard working staff at our school.  Teachers, educational assistants, secretaries, library clerk and custodians work together to make our school amazing.

In our school, I would like to see an opening of doors and change to our more traditional structures.  We are beginning to see teachers opening their doors to allow for a variety of learning environments and experiences.  Teachers are beginning to collaborate with grade level partners.  We have observed grade 7 students working with grade 3 and 4 students on a similar project.  More and more we are discovering that learning is not linear or compartmentalized.  So why do educators insist on teaching this way?  If we open our doors and shift our minds our students will benefit!

:)S

Blogging Challenge

I was challenged by a colleague to participate in this blog challenge.

So here I go…

Guidelines for the challenge:

1.  Acknowledge the nominating blogger.
2.  Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3.  Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4.  List 11 bloggers.  They should be bloggers you believe deserve a little recognition.
5.  Post 11 questions for the blogger you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)

Acknowledge the nominating blogger:

I have never worked with Annette in a school environment.  When I was transferred to her school this year, I was excited for the opportunity to work with her, as I had heard so many good things about her teaching practices.  However, the district too saw the good and pulled her from my school to work as a Lead Teacher for our district.  The school’s loss has been the district’s gain.  She is a passionate educator, not afraid to speak to her convictions and beliefs about what is best for learning.  As she leads our district through professional development she teaches our admin team the way she believes students should be taught.  I admire her in many ways.

Share 11 random facts about yourself:

1.  I am very clumsy.  Running into corners of walls and tables is a common occurrence for me (and I have passed this trait on to my oldest daughter…poor girl).
2.  I call my children, “My Monsters.”  Although they are completely loveable, make no mistake, they are monsters. :)
3.  I would love to travel to Greece one day.
4.  I was the Principal at my former elementary school and now I am the Principal of my former junior high school.
5.   Although I am almost 6 feet tall, no I have never played basketball or volleyball.  I have no interest or coordination.
6.  I enjoy reading Shakespeare.
7.  I dislike rudeness.
8.  Married for 18 years to my high school sweetheart.
9.  I love the beach and hot sunny weather…why do I live in the frozen north??????
10. I truly despise exercise in any form.  I am trying desperately to change this opinion…not much luck yet.
11.  I am completing my Masters on Curriculum, Assessment & Instruction

11 Questions from Annette:

1. Do you have a bucket list?  What item is the highest priority?

I have thought about this question quite a bit actually.  I find it difficult to create a list like this for myself.  I am very goal orientated so if I create a “list” I become slightly too focused on getting things checked off. :)  Instead we create  short-term “bucket lists.”  Last summer, as a family, we created a Summer Bucket List.  We had it posted in our kitchen and had fun crossing items out.  We went swimming, went bowling, explored campgrounds and playgrounds and made homemade ice-cream.  Our kids loved this as much as we did!


2.  If you could learn anything new (time, effort, and practicality aside) what would you want to learn?

How to speak another language.  As I observe my children learning to speak French, I find myself wanting to learn as well.

3.  What is one thing that has changed you for the better in the past year?

I don’t like to follow rules, so I am going to list two things.  The first one has been my venture into blogging and twitter.  I have learned so much from others, in our district and globally.  This adventure has forced me to be vulnerable.  Throwing my opinions and ideas out there into the unknown has been a powerful learning experience for me.

The second has been watching my husband coach our two boys in hockey.  Watching him interact with our boys and the other children has been a great learning experience for me.  Our discussions about the politics of minor hockey, coaching interactions and how we can help our children be the best they can be have changed me for the better.  His patience, persistence, humour and intensity are admirable.

4.  What is one of your favourite books?

This is a very difficult question.  If you know me, you know I LOVE to read.  I am always in the middle of a book.  It is difficult to choose only one. Some of my all-time favourites are: The Lion, The Witch & the Wardrobe, Charlotte’s Web, The Hobbit, The Sword in the Stone.  I love reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my children.  I think we have read it three times as a family.

5.  What is one of your favourite quotes?

Again, I have so many…and Pinterest has only added to the list. :)  Here is one of my very favourites.

favorite quote


6.  What do you believe is your greatest asset as an educator?

This is an extremely difficult question for me to answer.  I think my greatest asset is the compassion I have for the children, families and staff.  I believe this is also a bit of a weakness.


7.  If you could travel to another country to see a different educational system, where would you go?

I would like to visit Finland or China.  I have read a lot about the Finnish education system and would love the opportunity to observe and learn more about it. I am equally intrigued by the Chinese system.  Their approach to teaching (as a learning opportunity) would be interesting to experience and observe.

8.  What has been your most memorable professional development opportunity?

I have had many excellent professional development opportunities through my 16 years of teaching.  I spoke about the power of collaboration in a previous post here.  However, I also had a weeklong PD session on how to teach elementary science.  We were immersed in the curriculum, developing our understanding of the outcomes, developing authentic learning activities and assessments. We had time to get “hands-on” with Science and to learn from several experts.


9.  What is the most important ‘non-academic’ skill that we can teach students?

We need to teach our students how to positively and productively interact with other people (even people we may not like all that much).  Teaching our students to be kind and compassionate towards another person is not an innate skill, it is something that we have to model and teach.  Actively listening to what someone is saying and responding appropriately, agreeing to disagree sometimes, and responding respectfully to conflict.  I believe the most simple way to teach these skills is through modelling.  How we interact with our students, families and colleagues models to our students how we want them to behave.


10.  What makes you get up in the morning and go to work other than the paycheck?

Even with structure and routine, no two days are ever the same.  Everyday is new and exciting.  There are daily opportunities to create, discover, learn and make a difference.


11.  What’s your favourite thing to do when away from work?

Spending time with my family.  Playing games, watching a movie, involvement in their sports, baking together, camping or snuggling up and reading a book!

List 11 Bloggers:

I chose a variety of bloggers that either I read faithfully OR that I wish would write more…

  1. The Principal of Change
  2. Educational Leadership in the 21st Century
  3. Marc & Angel Hack Life
  4. Annette Rouleau
  5. The Colorful Principal
  6. Passion…Purpose…Pride
  7. Daisy Dyer Duerr
  8. My thoughts on early learning
  9. Shawna Bulger (has a hidden blog somewhere)
  10. i know this much is true
  11. Momastery

My 11 Questions:

  1. What would you do if you were not an educator?
  2. Do you exercise? If yes, how do you stay motivated to continue?
  3. What is your favourite song (current or all-time)?
  4. What subject or grade do you enjoy teaching the most?
  5. What do you do to relieve stress?
  6. Would you rather go on an adventure vacation or beach vacation?
  7. Who were the most influential tweeters or bloggers when you first started? Do they remain as the most influential?
  8. What is your favourite ice cream flavour?
  9. How long does it take you to write a blog post?
  10. What is last educational book or professional resource you read?
  11. Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions?

Have fun!

:)S

Collaboration

“Collaboration allows teachers to capture each other’s fund of collective intelligence.”
― Mike Schmoker

Teachers have traditionally taught in isolation.  Even with a huge push for collaboration and PLC’s there are still few teachers who truly collaborate in a meaningful way.  I have only had a three collaborative experiences that I feel made a positive impact on my teaching over the last 16 years.  Why?

During each of these experiences I worked with the same colleague.  Now before I go much further, I need to explain my relationship with this colleague.  To say we are polar opposites is an understatement.  I am usually calm and quiet, she is usually loud and boisterous.  I need to have a plan, be planned and usually follow the plan.  And, although my colleague carefully plans, she is able to be much more flexible and can easily and effectively “fly by the seat of her pants.”  She is messy to my OCD neatness.  During our time together, I learned that it is okay to “let go” of the plan once-in-awhile and to have more fun with the kids.  She challenged my inside the box thinking many times, to push us to think beyond the traditional or expected.  Our approach to teaching may be different, but we had built a relationship of trust and respect.  We both believed deeply that each student had the ability to improve and to learn.  We loved each and every student we taught.

Our collaborative experiences were personally and professionally driven.  Each collaboration began with either a wondering or a question to be answered.  Our first collaborative experience began out of a staffroom conversation.  We were both struggling with students who were not progressing with their reading.  We developed a plan to collaborate and fully investigate this problem.  This was the beginning of our adventure.

Through each experience we had support.  By supporting our endeavours, our administrators allowed us the freedom to take a risk, to try something new, with support.  I am sure that they worried about us and what we were undertaking each time. But, their trust in us did not waiver.  They had faith in us.

Although the question or wondering was different each of the three times, we developed a similar framework or set of “protocols.”  One rule we created was, “no excuses” during our collaborative time.  It is simply too easy to get caught up in all the reasons why we “can’t” teach in a certain way or to point an admonishing finger everywhere else.  So to re-focus, we tried to discuss positive solutions to issues we had control over.  We attempted to focus on what we could do with our teaching time.  We found that this ensured we were not just complaining our collaborative time away.

We were accountable to each other.  We set timelines and deadlines.  And for the most part, we stuck to them.

We began to value our collaborative time so much, that we discovered creative ways to make “more” time to collaborate and work on our projects.  One year we asked to coordinate our Library block and our Music block.  Another year each of us worked with a student teacher.  During their APT there are times they are encouraged to teach on their own.  We coordinated the time as best we could and met.  The value of this time was not measurable, we met after school and during lunch breaks.

Now, a number of years later, I am once again working with my collaborative partner.  She is my VP!  We have easily slid back into our old trusting relationship.  We are once again collaborating on not only how to improve individual classrooms, but an entire school!  We have been discussing how to build more collaborative time into the already busy days of each teacher.  We are busy developing a plan to improve our practice as instructional leaders.  We see the power and impact positive collaboration can have, how do we best share this information with our teachers in a way that will ignite collaboration?

:)S

Alone-We-Can-Do-So-Little

Why I Lead… #SAVMP

My last school year was a difficult one.  There were many difficult and complex situations with students that left me feeling emotionally drained at the end of each day.  I got to the point where I was asking myself, “Why do I do this?”

Then I happened to come across a tweet…

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That led me to a blog…

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Which had this You Tube video embedded…

After viewing this video, I reflected on “Why I Stay”… which to me also answers the question, “Why I Lead?” posed by our SAVMP

I lead because….

First and foremost for the students.  I love, love, love being with and around children.  Their joy and exuberance are contagious.  On some of my most difficult days I leave my office and head for a classroom.  Any classroom really.  I help the students, visit with students, read to students, even just sit in the back of the classroom and observe the action.  These “visits” bring my perspective back to what I feel is most important.  The students.  These students who walk into our buildings each day.  Some are excited to come each day to learn and engage in the learning process.  Some come because their parents force them too. :) Some students come because it is the only place where they feel safe and cared about.

I lead because…

I feel I can make a positive difference.  A few years ago I had the opportunity to watch my first class of students graduate from high school.  As each of them walked across the stage to receive their diploma, I found myself in a state of awe.  Each one had grown into a beautiful person, individual and unique.  I had played a small part in helping them get across that stage.  Now, as I see them in the community and ask them how they are doing, what they are doing, how their families are I find myself inspired to continue on my path.  I have made a small but significant difference in the lives of students I have taught.  I have come to realize that I may never witness the fruits of my labour because they come further down the road.  But I am confident that I make a difference by doing the little things (like a simple smile, hug or helping hand) to doing the big things (like finding housing for a young family, feeding a family or raising funds for medicine for a student).

I lead because…

I love to collaborate with colleagues and staff.   I believe that all teachers want to improve so they can better reach their students.  I am NOT the keeper of all knowledge, I do NOT have all the answers. But, I believe by working together we can find the best and most practical solution to a problem or question.  I am a supporter, an encourager and a cheerleader! My superintendent has commented about my ability to quietly lead people.  I was not the only one feeling disheartened and disillusioned last year.  I could feel it in the staffroom.  I used the above video for an activity at the beginning of a staff meeting.  After we viewed the video each teacher had time to create their own “poster” about why they stay in education.  We created a bulletin board of our posters above the photocopier.  Teachers found the activity inspiring and up-lifting.  We all knew that when we needed a quick reminder, we could go take a look at the board.

I lead because…

I love to learn.  My parents instilled in me a love of learning from a very young age.  My parents view education as a way to realize your full potential.  As educators, we are in the profession of learning, we must be life-long learners.  I am a huge reader.  I love, love, love to read.  Before beginning my graduate work, I would read professional magazines, publications and books.  I always have a stack of unread books to get to.  By reading, I am able to learn new theories, ways of doing things, best practices, research, the list goes on and on…

I lead because…

Of these four monsters….

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Each of my four children is completely unique.  At times, I wish they were more similar, maybe they wouldn’t fight so much.  But, they are so very, very different.  Our oldest daughter, Naomi is very artistic, creative and thoughtful.  She LOVES animals of any kind.  She is nurturing and kindhearted.  She frequently goes into her own “world” and is easily distracted.  Our oldest son, Reid, is extremely athletic and a quick problem solver.  His mathematical skills  and reasoning shock and astound me daily.  He is also a perfectionist and hates to make mistakes, but he loves to make people laugh.   Our youngest son, Trey, is a hands on learner.  He needs to know how things work and why things were built the way they were.  He is also athletic, what he lacks in talent he makes up in bull-headed determination.  He desperately seeks approval from his older brother.  Our youngest daughter, Alexa, is still quite young but in her we see stubbornness determination, quick wit, and a mischievous edge.  She is quick to pick up new concepts and she loves to “read” stories.

By watching my children grow and learn I have come to believe, we can no longer teach using a “one-size fits all” model.  Our classrooms are much too diverse.  If our goal is for students to learn we need to research best practices and utilize various strategies to meet their individual as well as collective needs.  Our classrooms need to evolve and change so that all children can grow to their full potential.  By becoming an effective leader, I can work towards an education that embraces these ideas.

So back to my initial story of my last school year.  It was a difficult year with many challenges right to the very last day.  But it was also a year full of celebrations, progress and learning.

So, “Why do I do this?”  I do THIS simply because I love it!  I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

:)S

Building relationships…

“Before people decide what they think of your message, they decide what they think of you.”

The importance of building relationships allows you to get to know the students, parents and staff you are working with, but it also allows them to get to know you.  The above quote speaks to me about the importance of building relationships.  I believe that building positive relationships is critical to being an effective administrator.

The more I read on twitter and the more  course work that I do, I am affirmed in my belief about the power of building relationships.  I have spent time thinking about and reflecting on the importance of building positive relationships with students, colleagues and families of our schools.

This summer I have been thinking about the best ways to do this as I will be moving to a new school (have I mentioned that?:)) These are some of my ideas, from the past and from the present…

Students

Being present:   In my experience, the best way to build relationships with students is to be present.  Be present in the hallways, in the classrooms, on the playground, during sport events and extra-curricular activities. Be present before, during and after school.  Be present during recess breaks and lunch time.

Learn their names: At my current/former school I was so proud to say that I knew each student by name.  Students and parents would often ask me, “How do you remember all of our names?”  This was one thing that students wrote about in my beautiful year end keepsake.

Ask questions: During classroom visits, I always ask students to , “Tell me what you are learning about today” and “Can I help you in anyway?”  Quite often, this is the best part of my day. During recess breaks and lunch break I often ask students, “What do you love to do outside of school?” or “What do you enjoy doing with your family?”  Through these informal conversations I learn a lot about a student.

Share stories: Students also like to hear what I do outside of school.  The smaller the student, the more surprised they are that I don’t actually live at the school. :)  They like to know about my kids, my family and what I like to do besides work.

Families

Be present: Be present and available during Meet the Staff evenings, Open House, Family Fun Nights, Parent Teacher Interviews, sporting events…

Share a positive story:  All too often when I have to phone a parent it is usually for discipline of their child.  As often as I can, I like to share positive stories as well.  Taking the time to share the good as well as the bad, lets parents know that you care about their child.

Listen: When parents/families contact me, they have something important to say.  I need to take the time to listen.  Sometimes it takes awhile to truly hear what they are trying to tell me, other times, it’s just a quick chat.

Return phone calls: I understand the busy-ness of everyday, however, if a parent or family member has called, I do my very best to return that phone call in a timely manner.  Parents appreciate the time it takes to return the phone call and they feel valued and respected by this simple courtesy.

Colleagues

Be present: Be present and available through out the school day, during instructional time, during recess and lunch breaks, before and after school, during Parent Teacher Interviews and Professional Development days.

Listen: Similar to parents, I try to ensure that I listen to staff.  They are in the “trenches” and know their students so well.  When they come to me to share a story, celebrate a success, vent, cry or laugh I need to take the time to truly listen.

Offer Support: When and if I can, I offer support.  I often say, “What can I do to help?”

Share stories: I am a pretty open book with colleagues.  I share stories about my family, my life experiences and my teaching experiences.  Over the past 16 years, I have learned a lot and I have stories to share.  Sometimes I have an idea or suggestion to share.  Other times, I share a failure and what I learned from that experience.

Taking time to build relationships demonstrates my dedication to each individual that I encounter.  When relationships are built, people have a better idea of what I am about and they are more willing to listen to my message.

I know there are many more ideas to build relationships and I would love to hear from you…what did I miss???

:)S

Reflecting, Learning, Growing

My journey into the world of twitter has been a bit of a whirlwind. My professional learning has been immediate, relevant and meaningful.  Videos on my twitter feed and embedded in blogs are directly linked to instructional practice, assessment strategies, classroom management, professional learning, inspiration…the list goes on and on…

Here are three videos that have caused me to reflect on my practice, grow in my role and affirm my beliefs about education.  I find myself pulled back to these three videos, for different reasons, but I go back again and again and again…

1.  How to Escape Education’s Death Valley – Sir Ken Robinson

Sir Ken Robinson…a master educator…his words cause me to question current practices, reflect on my beliefs and grow as an educator.

Each time I view this video, I come away with a new learning or a different way to look at things…

Some of the points that I am currently pondering:

  • If you have more than 2 children, you know how different they are…why do we insist on teaching to the middle?
  • Education is about creativity…how do we encourage creativity in our school or our students?
  • We may be engaged in teaching, but we may not be actually achieving learning.
  • Alternative education options should become the norm
  • Even in “Death Valley” there is life.  The example he shared of the rainstorm in Death Valley and the following spring was an incredibly powerful image.    Our students are the “seeds of possibility.”
  • The role of leadership is NOT command and control, the real role leadership is creating a climate of possibility

2. Every Kid Needs a Champion – Rita Pierson

The second video has also been through the twitter world.  Rita Pierson speaks passionately about education and her presentation spoke directly to my heart ♥.  I remember being told early in my admin career, “You know Shelley, it’s not all about the kids.”  I remember feeling like the wind had been knocked out of me…I believe education is all about the kids!  Without the kids, what do we have?  Why are we doing what we are doing?

Some ideas that I want to remember, reflect on and shout in the staffroom!

  • Education is about relationships
  • Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like!
  • A simple apology from a teacher is a powerful way to build a relationship
  • It’s ok to feed kids, buy lice shampoo, teach students how to wash their hair and brush their teeth
  • We may not like each and every kid, but they had better never know that
  • I want to leave a legacy of relationships!
  • Every child deserves a champion

3.  10 Expectations

And finally, a video shared by George Couros in his recent blog.  (On a side note, I blame George for my journey into twitter and blogging.  Sometimes this is good, sometimes this is bad…:))

Anyways… this video shares 10 fair expectations students have regarding their education.

This video had me questioning:

  • How often do we ask our students what they “expect?”
  • What might we learn if we asked that question?
  • How often do I fail at meeting a student’s expectations of me?
  • How can I ensure that I meet their expectations?
  • How would I do on an assessment based on meeting these 10 expectations?

Each video is very different, but each causes a similar response in me.  To continue in my profession I must continue to reflect, learn and grow.

:)S

Being Invisible

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I love it when I walk into a classroom and nothing happens.  

Really!

When I walk into a classroom and the students continue working and the teacher continues teaching…I know I am doing an okay job.  To me, it means that I am in the classroom enough that students do not even take notice when I am there.  Actually, today when I was leaving a classroom, a little girl looked up at me and asked, “Hey, when did you get here!”

Spending time in the classroom is part of my job that I love.  It is sometimes the most difficult but the most important part of my day.  I observe students: students learning, students struggling, students laughing.  I get to ask, “What are you learning about?” and “How can I help?”    Being at my school for 5 years, I  have the opportunity to watch students progress and grow.  I recently observed a child successfully answer a math problem, when I remember working with that student in a math group a couple of years ago.  Today I listened to a grade three student read a passage from a book well above a grade three level, and remembered working through a series of grade one sight words with that student just last year.

Being present in classrooms gives me the opportunity to help teachers.  After I have spent some time in a classroom I find myself asking the teacher, “Explain to me what was happening before I walked in…” or “Where was this lesson leading to?” or even, “Have you considered…?”  As I gain more experience with instructional coaching, I am becoming more confident in asking deeper and more meaningful questions.  I am looking for more than, “is the classroom managed?”  I attempt to  give teachers immediate and meaningful feedback on what I see on a daily basis.  There are so many amazing teachers in my building, I love telling them that!  They also appreciate when I ask them questions for clarification or questions to consider…I think :)  I also find myself sending them a link or copying an article that they might find interesting or practical.

I have done a lot of reading (books and blogs) about classroom observations and visits. I see this as an essential part of being an effective administrator.  I will continue on this worthwhile path of being “invisible” when I walk into a room.  My goal is to work on what happens after I leave the classroom, providing feedback and support to both teachers and students.  A work in progress…