Every day at Walton Middle School, outstanding teaching and learning occurs campus-wide. Yet, WMS' amazing teachers don't often have the opportunity to venture beyond the four walls of their own classrooms. They don't feasibly have the time in their structured day to get out and observe the inspiring teaching that brings learning to life down the hallway or even just next door.
This year, as one of WMS' professional learning initiatives, teachers are participating in peer-to-peer observation cycles--opportunities that allow them to observe and grow by watching other teachers in action. The first cycle of the school year is taking place on Tuesday, September 24, and Thursday, September 26, when substitute teachers cover one class period for each participating teacher, during which the teacher travels to another classroom within their subject area to observe. While there, they seek ideas to implement with their own students, ponder compelling questions about the lesson, and consider constructive suggestions regarding instruction and, thereby, student learning. After the observation, the teacher team will confer, sharing specific thoughts about the lesson, using a guided observation and reflection form. Because individual reflection yields growth, the observed teachers will also make note of how to strengthen instruction as a result of the valuable feedback.
This school year, WMS teachers are practicing the philosophy that "the best professional development is the teacher down the hall"--living out the school's "We, Not Me" motto for the A+ tribe.