My first teaching job was at an all-boys private school in Los Angeles. I was 22 and fresh out of college with not a bit of teaching experience. But as part of the mentoring program, other teachers and administrators were in and out of my room all the time. At first, I was sure I was going to get fired after every single visit. Eventually, though, as these visitors continued to come in and out of my classroom, I started to actually like it. At least one person was always paying attention and laughing at my jokes! And I loved sitting in on others’ classes. I learned all sorts of new strategies, and at times, I was reminded of how hard it is to be a student.
Here at NMC, however, almost no one ever visits my class. And I’ve hardly ever seen anyone else. That is about to change, however. Next semester, CIE is going to launch an Open Classroom Week. Institutions as prestigious as Yale, Rice and Northwestern are already doing this. The idea is that for one week faculty volunteer to open their classrooms to their colleagues. Then faculty members sign up to visit those classes. That’s it. You go, you watch, you leave. There is no evaluation made, no feedback given, no pre- or post-visit conference. We just get to see the cool things each other is doing.
Watch for information after Winter Break about how to sign up to visit or be visited (or both). It will be a great opportunity to connect with colleagues, share our classrooms and see the good work going on all over the college.