Welcome! Join me as I share my experiences as a wife, mom, and kindergarten teacher, and my reflections on them all. Come along as I share my crazy journey!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day 27 - A Note

On Tuesday morning, my principal met me at the door as I was arriving at school.  He asked if it would be ok if he brought some visitors into my classroom later that morning.  He explained that the middle school principal, the k-5 literacy specialist, the curriculum coordinator, and himself were all working together to calibrate themselves on the evaluations that are used to evaluate teachers.

Part of our evaluation process includes a walk through evaluation, which is a short 15 minute pop in visit.  It happens twice per year and is a new piece they are using this year.  As a way to get themselves on the same page with this process, they wanted to observe the same classrooms and then compare what they saw and how they would "score" it.

They came in during our Daily 5/Literacy activities.  This is one of my favorite parts of the day and my students love it too, so I was very comfortable with them coming in.  First, two of them came in.  They sat and listened to me give directions to get my students started, watched the transition into the independent activities and then watched the students working and looked to see what I was doing during this time as well.  They stayed about 15 minutes and then moved onto the next classroom visit while the two others arrived. 

I noticed that each of the visitors talked and interacted with my students.  They came in and sat right down at tables and joined readers sitting on the floor.  They asked what the kids were working on when necessary, they listened, they complimented, they smiled.  It was fun to watch my students show off a little bit for the visitors.  They knew what they were doing and wanted to show this group of adults what they could do!

Later that afternoon, I talked with my curriculum coordinator.  He thanked me for letting him come in and said that he enjoyed his visit.  He was impressed with how well everyone was working together and how they all really seemed to know the routines well.

The following morning I bumped into my literacy specialist.  She thanked me for letting them visit as well and told me that they were looking for student engagement on their visit.  She told me that my students were all 100% engaged for the whole time they were in the classroom.  She said she was very impressed by how independent the kids were with the high level activities they were working on.  She made me feel really great by telling me that I "really rocked it!"

Later that morning, I received an email from the middle school principal thanking me for letting them visit.  He was very impressed with the level of independence of my students and that they all were engaged in their work.  He noted specific kids and the things he noticed them doing.  His words were very kind.

The same day, I also received a handwritten note in my mailbox from my principal again thanking me for letting them visit.  He spoke about always enjoying his visits to my classroom, noticing how engaged the students were, and also (the words that will feed me for a long time) how lucky FPE is to have me on staff.

All of these notes were so kind.  They all built me up and fed my teacher's soul.  I truly saw the power of feedback and going above and beyond the expected.  None of the people who visited were required to leave me a note or provide any feedback to me, but they all did in one way or another.  They were all very kind and encouraging and made me feel like a rock star.

I'm so thankful for this experience today and the power of words.


  1. I am so thrilled that your observations went so well. As a former elementary teacher for 23 years I totally agree that using the Daily 5/Literacy activities is the way to go. My students loved this time as well. My students also made significant and measurable gains during this time.
    In my opinion, you are definitely on the right track with your students. Way to go!!

  2. I am glad that your observation went well and that your observer took the time to write you a personal note. You are so right that words can be very very powerful. :)

  3. That is awesome! Sounds like you are very comfortable with your teaching and your students are confident in what they are doing. I'm looking forward to having some of your kids in a few years. I always enjoy kids that are independent learners.

  4. You are lucky to have such an administration, Robin. How wonderful that they took the time to acknowledge the work you are doing. They "should" do it, but often some do not. Wow, you must be floating, but also, well deserved!

  5. All it takes is a few words to make a day for someone. What great feedback for you! I'm sure the upper grades person was totally impressed, since they usually fear the little kids, thinking they can't do anything. Way to go!

  6. Congrats on the great day. I am so glad you got such encouraging feedback. :)