In the previous article, I stated that when an observer comes into my classroom, I try to remember to bring the child that the observer once was into the class, to find that child and teach that child some French.
Of course this fits in with Bob Patrick’s comment here yesterday about welcoming the weary traveler who is the administrator into our classrooms. What a wonderful thing to do, and to have the class do that, and to do it all consciously, and in the target language! I’ll have to make a job for that and add it to the jobs list, the person who reminds the teacher to welcome the guest.
There is nothing more powerful in creating good ties with administrators than making them feel that they are good at learning a language. That is what Chris did the other day, described here in a few [edited] comments from a few days ago:
…the assistant principal came in and observed the entire period of Spanish 1. At the end of the period he came up to me and said “That was awesome!”….
…it was definitely awesome listening to how impressed he was and I’m looking forward to having discussions about SLA with him because he’ll probably wonder later in the year why I haven’t been doing conjugations. I know for a fact that once I explain, his mind will be blown and he’ll be on board with what I do more than he already is….
The observer who spends his days observing teachers (think about that – that has got to be a crushing thing to have to do all day) got to come into Chris’ room and on some level Chris involved him. I can just see it. Chris, though he was nervous, played to his strength of CI and it all came out very positive.
It makes one think that CI is so strong that even our fears and nervousness of not being good enough are not enough to impede its power in creating a rigorous (read “engaged” or “happy”) classroom.
I tell the kids in advance about my plan to engage the observer, to teach him or her some French. They know that two things are going to happen when we get observed.
The first is that the “mais” bleater will see some action and they can’t laugh (see jobs category for more on the Mais Bleater) and the second is that I am going to try to teach some French to the observer and they get to act smart.
The kids get right on board with that. What kid would not want to be part of a scene where they are smarter than the principal?