On being an administrator…

One of the reasons that I hesitated about going into administration was that I LOVED teaching so much. I also LOVE sharing the craft of teaching and learning from colleagues. The point of tension now as I am in this role, is that I often find myself feeling disconnected from the classroom at times now that I am in such a large school. How does my walk reflect my talk? How can I have discussions with teachers about teaching and learning if I am not getting into classrooms? Here are some of the things that others do to keep themselves in touch with teaching and learning:
1. Read professional journals, books, blogs and keep active with twitter. (I’m tweeting, reading other tweets and have found myself here….reflecting, reframing, re-examining….)
2. I need to make getting into classrooms as much as possible my top priority. (I need to have a pulse on the school, and learn from teachers, to support them in sharing strategies with other teachers and know which classrooms I can send teachers to observe and share.)
3. Teach!! Support!! Share some passion projects….connect!! I am a childrens’ literature junkie! I love picture books, young adult fiction, non fiction – literature based learning. There is nothing more satisfying than holding a treasured book to your heart and passing it along to someone you know who will also enjoy it.
4. I cover classes whenever I can– for teachers to observe each other or collaborate, or when we’re short on a substitute, a teacher has to leave early.
For the past few weeks I’ve had the opportunity to spend multiple days in many of our classrooms. It is incredibly enjoyable to spend quality time with students and staff.
These visits not only serve as an escape from the drudgery of office tasks, they allow me to see instructional strategies at work; how we address curriculum; the engagement of students in a variety of learning scenarios; how resources are being allocated; teacher-student relationships and peer interactions; types of assessment being used; and how I might be able to add support where needed.

For the next few weeks, I’d like to highlight a VERY small portion of what I have seen this past term and into the second – In no way can I capture every one of the students’ amazing learning activities, it is not a reflection one classroom being more engaging than the next, but moreso, just a reflection of the classrooms I had a privledge to dwell in a little bit longer than usual.

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