We are reading Mike Schmoker's "Results Now". I must admit, I felt like I was being forced to drink the "education Kool-Aid" and was worried that I might die. After reading the first 1/3 of the book though, I gotta tell you, I'm a convert. It seems a little far fetched that the change can happen so "easily" with the ideas the author has, but I agree: administrative leadership, curricular alignment, peer learning communities, and teacher accountability are the factors that will guarantee student learning is occurring. And if learning is occurring, it will show in test scores and we all know that is where the rubber meets the road as far as the federal government is concerned. (Thanks a lot President Bush)
Mr. Schmoker talks alot about the "buffer". That imaginary wall that is up. Its a wall between administrators and teachers. Its a wall between teachers and their colleagues. Its a wall between students and teachers. Its a wall that must come down. Teachers need to be transparent. If we aren't transparent, how can we know if we are being effective? How can our administration know what we need? How can you communicate with parents effectively if you aren't even communicating effectively with their child? Transparency! Open yourself up. Open up to criticism. Open up to praise. Open up to collaboration with your peers. Do whatever it takes to foster a sense of community in your classroom with students, in your department with colleagues, and in your building with your administrators.
I admit: I feel the need to justify whatever it is that I am doing in class when an administrator come into my classroom. Why do I do it? I have no idea. I am still new enough that I feel like I'm being checked on whenever "they" come in. In reality, "they" are usually just checking on a student or making me aware of some situation involving a student. My goal: work on that. Allow administrators to come in and (me) not feel intimidated by their presence. Get. Over. Yourself.
While I may have some reservations about the program (MACI), I can see that it can't help but make me a better educator. And that's the goal here, isn't it?