Perhaps one of the most fun parts of my position as Instructional Guide is the ability to pop into the spaces of my colleagues. Honestly, I wish everyone had the opportunity to do the same. When you step into the space of another professional, learning opportunities are endless. I have seen things that have inspired me to improve my instruction more times than I can count. I love the opportunity to write a teacher a positive email about the amazing things happening in their spaces. Let's be honest...teachers need to hear positive things!
But, I have to admit, I feel most useful when a teacher gives me permission to ask questions, share notes, or lead a reflective/planning conversation. I, by no means, have all the answers. I am not an expert in all contents and their individual methods. But...I am a second set of eyes. A second set of judgment-free, non-evaluative eyes. A second set of eyes who believes in the Nevada Middle School teachers and students. Let me give an example...
Last year, during pop-ins, I had the opportunity to step into a social studies space. The teacher was leading a study about Native American tokens of peace and friendship. I left thinking about what our tokens of friendship are today. When I emailed the teacher, I asked the teacher if she had considered allowing students to investigate these type of questions, "How do we exemplify friendship in our culture today?" and "How is this similar and different from the tokens used by the Native Americans?"
The teacher decided to encourage her students to delve into these ideas. Later, she shared with me that the conversations were fun. Students came up with various examples and had the opportunity to apply their understanding to today's culture. The students also analyzed similarities and differences between cultures. Value Beyond School? Yes! Disciplinary Process Evident? Sure! Awesome discussion? Absolutely!
All because of a pop in. A willingness to accept the gift of "a second set of eyes". All I did was ask a few questions of a willing colleague. The teacher took it to the next step. She had developed the culture in her space to have great conversations. I got to be the support and I loved it!
Popping in is great for teachers from encouragement to feedback. Which reminds me... Wednesday sounds like a good day to get into spaces.