This week, one of my colleagues, +Georgia Dougherty asked of she could come and observe one of my lessons. The only time we could match up was Thursday morning when I had one of my Intermediate classes for a double period.
It was really good seeing the reaction of the students as Georgia was going round talking to them. They had not met her before but they were really nice and open and sharing. I think this says a lot about our cluster of schools and the fact that there is a regular stream of visitors and the students are used to talking about what they are doing and the how and why of what they are doing.
What goes on in your own classroom becomes the "normal" for you and I am always impressed when I go into the rooms of others about how focussed and on to it the classes are. This seems to contrast a lot with my room sometimes, which seems like noisy chaos! This always seems to be more apparent when someone comes to visit or observe me. I was hyper aware during Georgia's visit about the noise, the mess, the movement round the room, the focus. We were doing a few different things, finishing work, checking it off on a class sheet, doing design work and cutting out design work on the laser cutter. There seemed to be kids and mess everywhere. This does not bother me at all normally but I found myself apologising for it when I had a visitor. I need to get over feeling like this as it is what goes on in any normal classroom, depending n what they are doing and we mange to "get stuff done" in amongst all the mess.
I think it is part of that fear we have as teachers that people are judging us harshly about what we are doing in our classes. NCEA pressure does not help this fear or the fear of trying new things.
This became an interesting topic on a PD day yesterday - EducampAKL. I was working in a group on the first session and the talk got round to why teachers don't share very much. One person in the group brought up that it was about the school board owning any work that teachers produce, so unless you have their say so, then you can't share it. This was a very fair point but I honestly think that fear is a big part of it too. I have worked for a few years now as a support person in school, helping teachers with their online work and I see this for myself.
As teachers, we need to get over all of this and share everything we do. Why sit for hours producing resources that someone already has? Why do we feel nervous when someone sees the reality of our classrooms? What goes on in a teacher's room and how they do it can really help someone else.
So I need to stop worrying so much when people come in. We are working hard and mess cleans up.
Here is Georgia's blog post about her visit.