I was at a restaurant recently, and while waiting for a table, I saw on the wall the company’s philosophy of how they strive to provide the best customer service possible. One of the points that stuck out to me was the idea of “everyone takes care of everyone”. I read on to find out that it is normal to have more than one person taking care of you during your meal because they believe a team effort will always provide the best experience possible. They were right, because the service was outstanding!
This led me to think about the culture of learning in our schools, particularly for our teachers in their professional growth. If we are going to promote the idea of always keeping a ‘learner first’ mindset; a growth mindset, then why are we not providing our teachers more time to learn from each other? We have brilliance right within our schools; those that have the knowledge and capacity to lead their colleagues because of the great things happening in their classrooms. We don’t tap into this enough. When I look at it through the lens of edtech and what true technology integration is, there is tremendous benefit for teachers to be able to spend time in other teachers’ classrooms.
We had one of our elementary schools try a new spin on this recently. They had what they called a “tech bubble day”. Teachers were charged with stepping out of their comfort zone, and trying something new with technology on this particular day. The school’s technology committee were all provided subs for the day so they could visit all of the other teachers’ classrooms throughout the day. However, they wanted it to be clear that this was not meant to be an evaluative visit to their classrooms, but to be a supportive one. The members of the technology committee (colleagues) were also there to provide any kind of support the classroom teacher needed to be successful. Teachers were given permission to take a risk (and potentially fail) and allowed to learn from each other during the school day.
Everyone takes care of everyone.
We need to see the value in and make the investment in this model of professional learning for our teachers. It’s not about finding the time to do it, it’s about making the time.