Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My classroom . . .

This morning we had our first Teaching and Learning Leadership class of the year.  This is where the administrators come together to focus on our instructional program and how we as system leaders are supporting teachers on our Classroom 10 learning goal.  In an earlier post this month, I shared how I allowed my frustration in planning for today’s meeting to influence my behavior resulting in going to flight.  I ended that post with the following sentence.

The post is getting long so I'll close and perhaps share some of the frustration's source in a later post.

What was driving my frustration in our planning meeting was a lack of focus on accountability and a reluctance to include activities and checks for understanding from each participant.  We were planning without sufficient data on where each of our learners was in their ability to identify well-constructed learning goals and to then provide feedback to individuals and to groups.  It brought me to the realization that we were playing the role of a consultant instead of a teacher.

Those that attended the meeting this morning are my students.  In my classroom I have the luxury of guest teachers from our Teaching and Learning Department and Connie to assist me in lesson design and delivery.  But, they are my students and it is my responsibility to ensure that they have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed to support all teachers in reaching standard on our goal. 

With this revised mental model we did a much better job of providing all in attendance with multiple opportunities to judge the quality of learning goals and to self-reflect on their answers compared to their colleagues.  There was disagreement so we have more teaching and learning in front us, but now we have better data for differentiating and supporting individual needs.

There was some tension in the room, something that is necessary for learning to take place.  It is that gap between current reality and a preferred vision that we use for generating creative tension to reduce the gap.  After today our students have a better idea of their current reality and we are getting closer to a common understanding of what it looks and sounds like on our learning goal.  My sense is that we would be further on our journey had I not forgotten that no matter where I am on the organizational chart, my primary responsibility is to ensure that administrators have the knowledge and skills to support teachers in meeting the high demands we have placed upon them.  To do that I must be a teacher and use the same instructional practices being asked of those in our buildings.

 It will be interesting to see the difference in the buildings and how much our administrators might share with you about their experience.

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