Thursday, September 11, 2014

My First "No Office" Day

In my "Personal Professional Goals" post, I mentioned one of my goals this year was to maintain weekly "no office" days. What I mean by this is that I try to spend the entire workday outside my office. Yesterday, I tried my first. Overall, I would consider it to be a success!

Was it easy? No.

Was it worth it? Definitely!

Here are some things that made this experience completely worth it:

  • I got into 22 classrooms! It was AWESOME! The kids were like, "Dr. Stacy, I saw you in tons of my classes today!" I also got a lot of "thank-yous" from the teachers. I had some tell me they  never had anyone come in to visit their class that early. 
  • I got some GREAT data to share! As I visited each class, I filled out a brief walkthrough observation form. It allowed me to indicate whether or not I saw an agenda or objectives, and state that agenda. It also allowed me to check off the types of instruction I saw: whole class or small group. In addition, I looked for things like use of questioning strategies, type of learning activity taking place, and the learning environment. At the end of the day, I made a copy of each form, and put them in the teachers' mailboxes. I plan on sharing an overview of my observations with the grade level during our next PLC meeting. 
  • All sorts of fabulousness was observed! Since I am new to the grade level I'm working with; and since we have a LOT of new electives teachers in our building (5 to be exact), I visited my grade level and the electives teachers who are new to the building. I got to see some great instructional techniques in action. I saw a great example of student folders in Google Drive being managed, excellent use of Class Dojo, and some really creative problem solving in our STEM class. I'm going to ask these teachers to share their strategies with their PLC during "Teacher showcase" time in the coming weeks. 
While there is LOADS more to share, I like to keep these posts fairly short. We are, after all, busy people!

Here are some things that made this "No Office Day" more manageable:
  • I come to work early. I get to work about an hour before I need to be there. I use that time to answer emails, organize my plan for the day, and work on any "desk projects" (data gathering and analysis, scheduling, project research). 
  • I have a plan on how I want to spend the day. Do I want to see a specific grade level or subject area? Am I looking for a particular skill? Do I need to see how certain students are doing? These are all things I have ironed out before I begin my day. 
  • I carry my laptop. Just because I'm not in my office doesn't mean I have to be completely cut off. I use it for taking notes, looking up something online, and yes, checking email. 
Did I spend the entire day out of my office? Pretty much. I did have to go to my office to handle a student discipline issue, and I also had to call a parent. Once I finished those tasks, I was quick to leave and continue visiting classes. 

Can I do this every week? I'm going to try. I can see where I will make plans for a "no office" day only to have them thwarted by a issue beyond my control. However, I can also see this practice being something that will put me an a position to be more proactive rather than reactive when situations arise; and when I can be proactive, I feel more productive. 

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