I’ve hesitated writing this post for a few days. For one thing, I didn’t want this post to seem like I was tooting my own horn. Second, I didn’t want my classroom to seem like it’s without flaws either.
Recently, I’ve had some visitors in my classroom (one of whom is a TWT Reader and SOLSC Participant, which was a neat experience!) who’ve left comment cards behind at the end of their visit. I’ve been so busy teaching and co-planning a p.d. with one of my colleagues, that the notes piled up without me reading them. Over the weekend, I found a stack of seven of them and was touched by the kind words the teachers, who visited my classroom, shared with me. It felt so good to read their comments days after they came in.
The comments (at the bottom of this post) came the day after I narrowly escaped an MVA. I didn’t think that I gave a particularly strong lesson that day, which is why seeing other people’s comments made me glad I didn’t cop out of having visitors after the previous day’s events.
So what? So why am I writing this? Wondering that right now? Well, here’s why. Too often we go into our colleague’s classrooms without saying much. In fact, I’ve been known to walk into a friend’s classroom and point out something that some kid was doing that s/he shouldn’t have been doing at that moment. That’s not right! However, we all do it. It’s human nature. However, it’s not human nature to write a note to someone, after an intervisitation, stating what you noticed that was working well in their room. But, shouldn’t it be?
So, here’s a charge for you, similar to some of the other ones I’ve given in the past (click here or here to see what I mean): The next time you go into a colleague’s classroom to watch him/her teach a minilesson or for an intervisitation, consider writing them a note, similar to the ones I received below, telling him/her what you liked and what you will bring back with you. I guarantee you, they’ll pay it forward.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).