I like to spend time in classrooms with students. I work with sixteen schools and try to be in each school at least once a month. And when I’m there talking with principals and vice principals, one of my favourite things to do is go into classrooms. It gives me an opportunity to meet school staff and talk with kids. And all educators know that the big payoff of being in education is that you get to hang out with kids.
I do know, however, that my presence in classrooms can cause some stress, even some consternation. What I am there for? Am I evaluating the teacher? Will I report something negative? When I approach students and ask them what they’re working on, I get that some teachers hold their breath and hope it will be OK. Sometimes, it’s not. But teachers, don’t worry about it. It’s not your fault.
Students don’t always tell me what they know. They can get nervous too. They know that I’m someone who doesn’t often come into their classroom and I’m usually with the principal, which must mean something. Or they just forget, because the learning goal or success criteria simply isn’t at the top of their mind. That’s OK.
When I go in classrooms and see kids working together, or reading, or helping someone out, or thinking, or even texting, I smile. That’s kids! I know teachers are doing their best and want the best for their students. I know how hard you work and how thankless the job can sometimes seem.
Nonetheless, it’s my privilege to visit your classroom.