Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Comparing teachers

When we compare teachers to each other instead of to themselves, we not only create an undesired parallel process, we diminish the growth of teachers.  (That's a DanL original, folks.)

I met with my preschool team today for our continuity of relationships study and we wound up on the topic about classroom observations and the feedback they receive. This is a team that has had many (many, many, many) observers this program year, including some program staff and some outside agencies (like Teach for America or CLASS).  Both teachers mentioned how frustrating it is to hear how good they are.  I wanted to hug them both in that moment.  We reflected on why people might tell them they're doing well.  They were both able to see that from the outside looking in, it looks good:  they have a good system of working together to manage the classroom.  What those outsiders don't see is the stress, the worry, the anticipation.  We also spoke about how perhaps they are not the "squeakiest wheel" so to speak and they are not seen as needing foundational support, they are viewed as competent.  Which is good, but also frustrating!  

Be that as it may, we talked a bit about not comparing ourselves to others but to the teachers we were yesterday.  We spoke about reflecting on our actions and interactions with children and families.  I have agreed to spend more time video recording in the classroom and facilitating more reflective sessions with the teaching team.  They both wanted just feedback/suggestions but I reminded them that they are their own toughest critique and viewing the video together would allow all of us to be together and look at that moment again with our reflective lens and build ideas together.  I don't think that ME giving suggestions without that reflective piece would be as valuable. I'm so excited to see how this goes!

Side note:  A 7:00am team meeting was WAY better than a 6:00pm meeting.  Like WHOA.  Coffee in hand, I know my brain was far sharper and more alert than it is when we meet at night, when all I can think about is going home and crashing.  I'm interested to pursue this model with other teams who might be willing (I have three classroom teaching teams with whom I plan to meet).

yep, this is true...I want to be joyful always! So true...comparison with others creates a lot of jealousy...and we could use a lot less of that.