The best years of my career were spent in the classroom. Being a classroom teacher is absolutely the greatest job in the field of education. Being a principal now is a calling, something I felt compelled to pursue. It's funny how the moment an educator leaves the classroom, we forget all the yucky parts of the job and glorify the rewarding ones. This phenomenon happens again when principals leave the school site for the District office. So how do we stay connected to the people we are meant to serve? There are three distinct ways in which I try to stay connected: regular walk-throughs with feedback, actively participating in trainings with the teaching staff, and spending time applying new learning in the classrooms.
For the second trimester, I have tried using a new means of feedback during classroom walk-throughs. While meeting with my FETA Pal, I learned that feedback using the Google form that I've been using over the past few years has been only minimally meaningful to teachers. We agreed to pilot a different method of feedback. Please sign in to the SeeSaw App to review the feedback Beechwood teachers have received.
We have hired Momentum in Teaching to supplement the professional development provided by Ed Services. During these days, I clear my calendar and actively participate in the trainings and conversations.
This year, in an effort to move our Writing Workshop implementation to the next level, I've been covering classrooms so that teachers can "team teach" mini-lessons and analyze the architecture of the lesson together. Teachers are actively practicing the Connect, Teach, Active, and Link while maintaining a clear teaching point and quick pace that stays within a 7-10 minute time frame. While Cindy and I are subbing in the classroom., we are implementing our own mini-lessons and conferring with students. Teachers see us "practicing what we preach". They laugh when I tell them I bombed a lesson, and celebrate with me when I share a success. Being willing to actively teach in their classrooms with their students sets a tone that this is highly valued work.
Time spent in classrooms must be prioritized. It is the most important work we do as administrators. Time in classrooms raises the bar for instructional practices. When administrators are willing to walk a mile in the shoes of each staff member, mutual respect is achieved.