Mindsteps Mentor - Managing Colleagues | Mindsteps Inc.

Mindsteps Mentor – Managing Colleagues

Managing ColleaguesDear New Teachers,

Congratulations on completing your fifth month of teaching. We are all seeing limited daylight at this time of the year, and I know that you often leave school when it is already dark. I hope that you are seeing some daylight these days in your planning, instructing, and grading of student work. You just returned from an extended break, I hope you enjoyed a few days away from your challenging routines.

By now, you are probably experiencing a little frustration about your collaborative planning sessions with your colleagues. Perhaps one of your teammates contributes little to the planning process, rarely has data available to analyze results, and tends to be negative in discussions about student progress. Those are challenges, and I can see why you would be discouraged to be subjected to that situation regularly.

What matters most is that you do not assume any of those negative traits and that you eagerly approach each planning session with enthusiasm for creating challenging lessons and with a willingness to analyze your assessment results to improve future instruction. Remember that you are favorably impacting the other teachers with your positive spirit while demonstrating your professionalism. There is much that they can learn much from you. Persist with the adults as you do with your students.

You are also able to reach out to other teachers through various internet sources and groups. Your local and state teacher organizations offer ways to communicate with others who teach your subject, and any school’s website will provide a listing of teachers and their courses taught. Your college classmates in education are now teaching in many places and can offer contacts. Your possible sources are endless, well beyond your school planning team. Reach out and expand!

You are also probably experiencing several visitors in your classroom recently. Administrators and team leaders are starting to visit classes to gather information for the evaluation process, and yourclassroom may be a popular stop during some school walk-throughs for teachers to observe your instruction as part of the school improvement plan activities. Although you might see these visits as intrusive, consider them as opportunities for improvement and use each visitor as a source for feedback that can improve your teaching skills. Each visitor will notice different aspects of the classroom environment, your strategies in interacting with students, and the learning that takes place. You will enjoy the complements from these visits, but critical feedback will help you improve. Absorb all that is offered.

While visitors to your class will be a source of feedback, you can also expand your skills by visiting other classrooms, which your department leader or administrator can arrange. Many teachers are reluctant to visit other classrooms or feel uncomfortable asking to visit, but you will be surprised to see many different teaching styles, room arrangements, and unique activities in every room you visit. For instance, I know a pair of teachers who arranged visits to each other’s classes and then decided to team teach a lesson, which was highly successful in engaging the students and producing solid assessment results. With such a success, they arranged with administration to move their classrooms next to each other with common planning time, and they will be team teaching their combined classes all year. The teachers took a risk, and the students are benefitting.

Enthusiasm. Keep it coming!

Best wishes,

Tom

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