When in college, training to be a classroom teacher, it is expected a degree candidate will spend a required amount of time observing working teachers.
It’s essential to see the theory of the collegiate classroom in action. Watching professionals in their daily environment helps to understand what happens moment-to-moment in implementing lessons and handling classroom management.
It’s true that until an education student actually steps in front of a classroom and begins to experience what they are observing, the lessons, theory, and practice of teaching really becomes tangible. However, it doesn’t negate the value of studying others in action.
Don’t Forget This When You Are a Teacher
In your school, you are surrounded by resources: your fellow educators.
Think about it. When you are deep into your career, you focus on the countless tasks and goals to reach each day. You have little time to compare and contrast your methods.
Every few months, turn to an educator with whom you’ve had professional discussions, who you respect, even with whom you aren’t well acquainted, or who is a seasoned veteran. Ask if you can observe them in action.
Everyone Has Their Own Methods
How a teacher handles the material differently than you will be apparent. And you may discover valuable realizations, tricks, and insights. You can incorporate what resonates with you and modes you think will improve your own tactics and help keep your skills fresh.
The Other Teachers Will Feel Validated
If you approach a colleague and request to watch them teach to learn from their methodologies, you will be doing them a professional service. You will show them you respect them as teachers, and want to learn from their wisdom. This is an invaluable gift you can share as you also learn.
Build a Community
Healthy habits can beget more healthy habits, so why not be a leader and show other teachers how beneficial observing each other can be? Encourage your colleagues to come and observe you, to not only give them new insights, but even give helpful critiques to you. Teachers are often leading a classroom on their own, but it doesn’t mean they aren’t part of a greater team of educators.
Now Go Observe Other Teachers
Remember those days when you weren’t yet a teacher? You would observe working professionals and attempt to absorb every piece of information, every useful maneuver. And remember most of all, even though you are a professional educator now, you can still learn from others.
Teachers who observe their colleagues, who seek new ways to educate their students, who continue to evolve, will succeed.