As classroom teachers our lives are so busy. We walk into our class in September and the next time we look up we are looking a May. A year has flown by, we have cover so much material, we have struggled through so many issues and we wonder if we are doing a good job.
I spent last night on the phone with my daughter. She is in her third year of teaching in a high poverty school. She had been pushing so hard all year with her own class and kiddos and feeling like she wasn’t a teacher, wasn’t doing well and I could hear she was ready to give in. I knew she was doing a wonderful job but she couldn’t see it for herself.
She took a day off from her class to visit another high poverty school. (It is part of her requirements for tenure portfolio due this spring.) Then she called to chat. It was fun to hear her reflect on the classrooms, the teachers and the school structure.
Phrases like –
- the third grade teacher sounds just like me,
- they are starting a poetry unit and had the same books out as I have,
- they were working on metaphors and similes and were using similar books and projects
- I saw the behavior strategies I use and kids working and not working
After sharing with me for about an hour or so she slowed down and said – I guess I am a teacher! All I could say was yes – an amazing one!
It is so easy to get lost in our own work. It is hard to get away from our own classrooms to see what is happening in other schools, with other teachers. Our own insecurities take over. It is helpful to take time to step into another teachers classroom, to step into another building, to lift our heads and look around.
We learn new ways of working as we watch others but we also confirm that what we are doing is ok as well. If you haven’t visited another classroom for awhile try it! It is a wonderful thing to take a day or half a day or even just take your prep time and sit in on another teachers day. You will be amazed at what you learn about yourself and your teaching.