Many of my colleagues at Sullivan Heights Secondary have taken the lead where risk taking and innovation is concerned. On April 30th, our Learning Partners program had over 30 teachers from 9 different departments participate in our second "Teacher Drop in Day", an initiative that was developed to allow teachers the rare opportunity to visit their colleagues classrooms as a method to discover and share teaching resources and strategies. For both beginner and experienced teachers, inviting another adult into your classroom can be a nerve wracking experience. And yet, what better way to share the amazing things that are happening in our classes than by allowing fellow teachers to witness them first hand? Similar to our first "Teacher Drop in Day", the initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to more "measurable" data, the smiles and laughter that I witnessed at our "Thank You" lunch the following day was evidence enough of the positive impact that collaborative opportunities can have.
|Just a few of the amazing teachers who took part in Learning Partners "Teacher Drop in Day".|
Most rewarding was to hear from some of our more experienced teachers who had taken the risk of participating in "Teacher Drop in Day" for the first time. Several told me that they were thrilled to have the opportunity, and most especially the time, to visit colleagues' classrooms. They spoke with energy and enthusiasm about the various actives and lessons that they were able to see throughout the day. I was also enormously proud of the confidence and trust demonstrated by our beginner teachers who participated.
One teacher, who is new to Sullivan Heights this year, summed up their "Teacher Drop in Day" experience in the following email:
|"Host" Poster up & ready for "Visitors"!|
|Visiting a Drama 11/12 class as student prepare for upcoming production.|
|Visiting an English 10 class as students present poetry definitions.|
"I just really wanted to thank you for planning such a cool day. Today was literally the first time I have ever seen the dance studio and probably the second or third time I have been upstairs in the school. Just seeing students in a different light, or the things that are going on in other subjects is really cool. When else would I get the chance to see Chemistry jeopardy?"
These teachers are "taking the lead". They are modelling for their students a willingness to trust, take risks, and step outside the safe confines of their classrooms to extend their own learning. As Learning Partners continues to expand and explore new methods to encourage greater collaborative engagement at Sullivan Heights, it is these teachers who I know will continue to inspire others to open their doors and share their challenges, their successes, and their ongoing learning with their colleagues.