- ▼ 2011 (12)
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Having taught elementary students for the past eight years in the same district, I was hoping that I would see some familiar faces throughout the day. I really wasn't prepared to see how much my former students had changed. Students can change a lot in just one year.
I honestly did not even recognize many of them as they excitedly asked, "Mrs. Kruse - remember me?" I was amazed at how much students can change in 4 or 5 years. During the afternoon, we moved into the lunchroom to supervise students. One by one, my former students gathered around me voicing the same question each time, "Mrs. Kruse - remember me?" Students asked me, "Hey, do you remember when ....?" or "I remember...." Suddenly I had a rather large group of eighth graders circling up and reminiscing about their third grade class five years ago. We smiled and laughed as we recalled events from that year.
As I reflected on this experience, and thought about this year coming to the end in just a few days , I began to wonder:
1. What will my students remember most from the 1,080 hours that we spend together in a given year?
2. What will I remember the most about them?
I found that what these students remembered the most were the every day experiences we had together - the field trips we took, favorite games and activities we played during Morning Meetings each day, our class pet - 'Willis' the hamster, etc. - the things that made our class a true community. A sense of community is something that I work hard to create with each and every class every year and that is what students truly remember.
How can the supervision process be used to help successful and experienced teachers get better at what they do? Way too often I hear teachers at conferences and in-services complain, “I already do that. That won’t work, you don’t know my students. I could’ve written the book on this.” Many honestly believe that after teaching for a certain number of years that they have little new left to learn. I believe that this is a dangerous way of thinking. As Collins asserts, the minute you think you have arrived is the moment you begin to slide backwards.
Unfortunately, professional development for teachers has been a “one-size- fits- all” mentality for a number of years. Just as we realize the importance of differentiating for students in order for successful learning to occur, we need to transfer this understanding to professional development and learning for teachers. We must meet the needs of all teachers so that all teachers can continually improve their instruction. When you are improving instruction, you are impacting student achievement and learning.