The school was clean and cheerful looking. Even the grounds were neat and decorated for fall. What a great environment for kids and staff to work in!
I was impressed by hearing the adult conversations going around me. It was towards the end of the week but I didn’t hear anyone complaining. There was no complaining about colleagues, policies or even students. There were conversations about lessons and strategies and student behavior. I don’t feel that any of this was acted for my benefit because nobody knew who I was.
In the classroom, I saw the teacher use the Promethean board as a way to enhance her lesson. It wasn’t used as the lesson which made me quite relieved. It was interesting the different ways that it was used to share information and help students see visuals of what the teacher was talking about. Students were engaged the entire time and I never saw any behavior problems whether they were working with someone or on their own. I even saw the way the teacher made accommodations for students who had special needs. Of course these were never pointed out to me but my years of experience teaching special education made me recognize this when I saw it.
I was able to file a ton of papers that needed to be filed while I was also observing the lessons and the students. Since parent conferences were taking place that afternoon, I was able to also put up a display of student work outside the classroom. Students showed their understanding of books they read in a variety of ways. Using fishing line and staples, I was able to also display a couple of dioramas that students made about their books.
The students’ behavior also impressed me. Whenever I helped students, they all thanked me. This was not something prompted by their teacher so I know this was their regular behavior. They were allowed to ask me questions when their curiosity got the better of them and their questions were appropriate and showed that they were interested in knowing more about me.
This visit made me willing to volunteer a lot more at this school. I think this atmosphere shows that there is great leadership at this school. The administration sets the tone for this school and it definitely shows. One Assistant Principal passed me and mentioned how good the display looked. I was quite pleased that he took the time to talk to me. I really look forward to having an opportunity to visit this school again!
Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).
Original pictures by Pat Hensley