|Junior high teachers collaborating on a personalized|
professional development project during a recent
student early dismissal.
Yesterday I had an opportunity to sit in on a grade level meeting in second grade. These weekly meetings between the building principal, teacher leaders, and teachers serve multiple purposes. Most importantly they open a dialogue among instructional experts to discuss what is going on in the classroom and how best to meet the needs of learners. It was during this meeting I was once again reminded how incredibly complex, difficult, and challenging the work is of our educators. While observing this meeting teachers were discussing their upcoming unit plans and how they aligned to the Iowa Core. They provided a detailed timeline of instruction, including the identification of specific instructional strategies that were going to be used during this instruction. Strategies by the way, that had recently been presented in professional development.
When pressed by the principal about what 'proof' there would be to demonstrate successful mastery of the content, the teachers shared the formative assessments that would be used to measure student growth. For those not demonstrating adequate growth, their plan and timeline provides remediation-for groups of students exceeding expectations and those needing additional instruction. Then, these teachers were able to tie the instruction they are delivering back to the specific content standard that is being addressed; be it instruction designed to introduce a concept, develop a concept, or attain grade level mastery.
Now I am used to seeing this kind of stuff everyday from our teachers here at Hudson. But I have to tell you: this was impressive. It was another awesome reminder of the complex work that is going on in our schools, and the high level of skill and training it takes for our teachers to do it successfully. I know what many of you are thinking: this is the second grade team and they are rock stars anyway. I'll concede that point, but the fact is this isn't an anomaly. Keeping in mind that I wasn't invited to this meeting and just 'popped in' randomly, I asked Mr. Schlatter; are all the grade level meetings like this? His answer: Yes.
The picture you may have in your mind of what teaching looks like, or even what is sometimes portrayed on television is woefully simplistic. The truth is, teachers are very highly skilled professionals that put in a ton of work that is largely unseen. What we see in our classrooms when our instructors deliver polished instruction on a daily basis is but a fraction of what it looks like to be a teacher. We are lucky in Hudson to have very good ones.