No matter what level an educator may reach, all can remember how it felt to have their principal walk into their classroom unannounced. “You can walk into my classroom at anytime because what I’m doing is what I do all the time!” Even though I’ve said this right along with many of my colleagues, deep down we all knew it wasn’t exactly true. Of course we wanted our principals to see us at our best when they came into our classrooms. One of our biggest fears was to have our principal ask one of our students, “What are you learning?” only to have them answer, “I don’t know.” We kept teaching when they entered while at the same time, we tried to “read” their facial expressions to learn what they were thinking. When the principal left we breathed a sigh of relief and then checked later with our colleagues to see if they had received a visit too.
A colleague told me about Tap Forms and the app helped me to create forms to provide teachers with instant feedback by emailing them my completed walk through form before leaving their classroom. I have been able to include pictures and/or videos of the instruction and student performance in the body of the walk through form. Teachers have been able to spend less time wondering about my thoughts during the visit and more time enjoying the recognition received or giving immediate attention to areas needing improvement. Our school’s leadership team has been able to provide the same timely feedback. The feedback from the math, reading and science specialists has not been evaluative but meant to help teachers maximize the learning experience of students in that particular subject area.
I like to think that this year we have been able to “feed” the professional souls of teachers while at the same time pour “back” into the teaching and learning journey. That’s certainly what my Twitter colleagues have done for me…and I’m grateful.