One definition of reflection is a serious thought or consideration.
Are we capable of reflection when we are directed to work with some to improve our classroom management? If it is not self choice, are we able to look deeply into our practices and make positive change? Is a teacher able to identify a need to change their practice if they were successful in the public school system? I like to believe yes, but I don’t have the answers yet on how to support a colleague to accomplish this directed change.
I’ve been in her room three times the past couple of weeks. I try to document just what I see. Could my data be a misconception because of my lens of understanding is skewed? (Does that make sense?) I write down what she is saying and doing for the most part. I scan the room and document what the students are doing every 4 minutes to provide a glimpse of what people see when they enter her room at this particular moment in time. The data speaks for itself. Is it too much for her to take in?
I always stress when we begin our debriefs on reviewing the data with an admiration lens. I use this method when working with students. I look for what they are doing well and build on that. As for teachers, I believe we can be very hard on ourselves. We can tear ourselves apart. I don’t want her to do that. I do want her to reflect on the data.
With each debrief, it comes back to fixing “those kids”. She shares a long list of all the things they are not doing and all the things she had tried to get them to produce work. I feel it is an avoidance strategy. It’s a delicate situation to guide her back to the data.
If I told her what to do, it would be used to say, “See I did what you said and it didn’t work.” I want her to reflect on her practice and find areas she thinks would be a good next step.
I’m stuck on how to do this. I know it will take time. I’ve worked with 5 teachers now for over the past two yeas. The difference here is we all wanted to take this journey with a particular foundation. It’s not easy to think about what “we” are doing and work on our next step to improve our craft. It’s easier to give a long list of all the reasons why something is not working rather than looking at ourselves and our practice. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a complaint session. I think we need to get it out so we can move past it. However, I don’t believe we should stay there.
I will continue to build trust with her. I’m asking her to be vulnerable and take a risk with me. Last year, I tried to introduce her to a philosophy on classroom solution and management techniques, but she wasn’t buying into it. What’s a good next step?
You see, when I was in school, I wasn’t always a “good girl”. I didn’t always follow the rule because a teacher told me to. I knew where the line was and rarely crossed it. So when I became a teacher, I kind of understood those kids who would challenge me, my lessons, my practice, and my pedagogy. I’ve always worked on improving my craft. I wonder if she was a “good student” and followed the rules or one of those rascals who challenged the system. I’ll have to ask her. At least she is getting me to reflect on what I can do to better support her and the students.