Today I ran a Professional Development session with my amazingly talented colleagues. These teachers are an inspiration to their students. The morning session was about creating a classroom culture and building relationships with our students.
After reading Kyle Schwartz book over the holidays #iwishmyteacherknew we discussed what we actually know about our students. Their resources and their barriers. We examined behaviour management scenarios and we reflected on our classroom practice.
It was when I got to the question I wish my colleagues knew … that the room became numb. Everyone sat with their head down almost embarrassed. I tried to ease the elephant in the room by sharing my reflection:
I wish my colleagues knew…… That my need for perfection is actually my greatest weakness.
All of sudden comments started flying – “This is really hard Bron” “I find this difficult because I see myself as an open book”
Again we eased into it, then one of the teachers piped up saying he wished people knew that he was uneasy when visitors came into his room to watch him teach. Which lead to another teacher talking about how she wanted people to know that she finds it hard when people don’t do things that they have said they will do. This really bugs her. The conversation started to flow. There was a real safety in the room. Next the discussion of delegation came up and one of the teachers said he is a leader in the school but finds it hard to delegate, preferring to take on all the roles himself which he knows is not healthy.
The point I made by asking the teachers this made them realise they found this difficult to answer because at first it was thinking about how safe they felt in the group. They waited for the first person to take the leap to share. I posed another question to them:
NOW, HOW DO YOU THINK OUR STUDENTS FEEL WHEN WE FACE THEM WITH QUESTIONS THEY ARE UNSURE OF OR DO NOT FEEL SAFE IN THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT TO SHARE?
When you are thinking about building your classroom culture by asking your students the questions like ‘I wish my teacher knew….’ think about asking yourself what you might want your colleagues to know about you.
In your team meetings find the time to ask your team the big question ‘I WISH MY COLLEAGUES KNEW….’ because you never know when there is a teacher struggling or needs support, resources or just a friendly ear to listen to.
Thank you Kyle Schwartz for sharing this amazing question with the world and really changing the way we look at ourselves as teachers and what we need to know about our students.