Last weekend I (along with 40 or so colleagues) started the Supervision for Learning Program through our BC Principals and Vice Principals Association.
The title “Supervision” for Learning is a bit of a misnomer. The purpose is not to supervise or evaluate the learning in our school, but rather encourage our own professional learning. We spent the first day talking about learning and creating our own meaning based on our individual contexts. We spent a lot of time in dialogue talking about how we can make learning purposeful and ongoing while balancing that with the management of the schools we work in.
Balancing both parts of the job can be tricky. Ultimately we show value where we spend our time. If we spend all of our time managing, then we don’t model the importance of learning. Our school has a culture of professional learning and being a part of this program is going to hold me accountable for becoming more immersed in it, not just supporting it.
On the second day we were introduced to and worked with our “triad”. The triad is a learning support as we move through this process. We spent the day talking about the type of learning we wanted to do, we evaluated our current circumstances and created initial plans. Moving forward we are expected to check in with our triads weekly to talk, support each other, and to hold each other accountable.
My learning plan evolved through the two days. I have spent most of my career (12 of 17 years) at Middle School, so I still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to the development of elementary aged students. Last year, I taught in the primary grades for the first time (Grade 3). Thanks to a very patient and supportive partner I learned a lot, but I also realized that I have a long way to go. When I look around my school and I see far better teachers than me. In fact it is humbling to see the skill and expertise I am surrounded by, so it was quite natural for me to make that my area of growth.
I am hoping to spend time learning from my colleagues. I will make it a priority to spend time in their classes, watching what they are doing, talking to kids, asking questions and hopefully increasing my knowledge base and growing my teaching practice.
I’m excited about the goal for a couple of reasons. First, it is going to help me do a better job with the kids I teach, but I will also get a better sense of how to support teachers. Being in their classes I will get a better sense of their daily successes and struggles. Success can be celebrated and shared, and the struggles supported. Ultimately, I will gain a better understanding of the school and how to support the ongoing learning of both staff and students.
I know there will be challenges along the way. Learning is never smooth – in fact learning by its nature takes us outside of our comfort zones. I am excited by the process and I will share my successes and struggles along the way.