Yesterday, on April 1st, I visited a secondary school to talk with the principal and vice principals about their work and school improvement. Classroom visits are always part of the agenda since I love to see what is going on, meet educators and talk with students about their work.
When I arrived, the principal suggested we begin with class visits right away and I eagerly agreed. Up we went to a grade 11 History class. Two classes were combined with two excellent and well-respected teachers. What I observed: a learning goal on the chalkboard that read “We are learning how to copy notes.”; young people copying those notes from a screen with the teacher telling them to be sure to underline in red ink; the other teacher walking around giving feedback on post it notes to students on their note copying skills; students told to sit quiet and listen because no questions were allowed; homework in the form of a wordsearch and a crossword (the crossword was “differentiated” – you could do it in pen or pencil).
I thought, “What is going on here? These are the teachers I’ve heard so much about?” I was bewildered and wondered how to broach this topic with admin. Maybe I was missing something?
The principal interrupted my thoughts, “Ms. Dunlop, I can’t let this go on…April Fools!” The class and teachers burst into laughter. Yes, it turns out it was all staged. The teachers shared how they barely kept a straight face while I was standing there watching. Students were happy that they had fooled the superintendent. And they totally did. It was fantastic.
They got me!
Thank goodness. I never want to see that stuff in a classroom again.