This second class is very different than the first. In our leadership course we read a lot, and by a lot I mean a good 4 to 6 hours of reading a week. We read essays about leadership from recognized leaders in the hope that as we move into leadership roles we had some idea of what we should be doing. Leadership though like Calculus is something I don’t really expect to understand until I’ve actually used it for a while.
Supervision is very different. A lot less reading and a lot more doing. Instead of reading, discussing and reflecting on a role I might have in the future in this course we are asked to practice observing teachers. We observe teachers using our district criteria, we observe using other districts criteria, then we observe teachers using our own criteria.
What is the best tool for observing teachers? Which one gives me the most complete picture of someone I know is a quality teacher? How do I determine areas of need from an observation? What other information can I use to complete my picture of a teacher? I’ve also taken the opportunity to observe teachers in various schools, grades, and subjects. Finally, I’ll observe a teacher while a supervisor does the same and compare notes.
The supervision class is giving me a chance to practice doing the most important job of a leader, observing and evaluating staff. Leadership gave me the tools necessary to develop a shared vision and inspire my people to achieve. Supervision is giving me the tools to successfully evaluate staff and, depending on their skill and experience, either teach them, show them, collaborate with them, or learn from them on becoming a better teacher.
After all a successful school, like a singing group, isn’t about the lone voice, it’s all about how we work together. However, each individual voice needs to be the best it can be.