It’s a cold day in February and I’m doing some classroom observations. I love going into classrooms and watching teachers do their thing. There are so many different styles and techniques out there that I get to see and then share out with others. On this particular day, I saw a veteran teacher who has been teaching 20+ years. In my opinion, she is a Master Teacher. She knows how to reach kids on so many different levels, yet on this particular day, I didn’t think it was her best stuff. I watched her, thought about how the class went, and then provided my feedback.
I always try to find some positives to say while giving feedback, in a professional manner, as well as give pointers for improvement or things to at least consider or think about. This is regardless of who I am working with. When we met a couple of days later, the teacher and I had a great conversation about the lesson. She was making counterpoints to some of the suggestions I was making. We just saw it differently and I asked the teacher if she would just consider thinking about what I was suggesting. My suggestions were related to trying to give more options for the students, as well as for them to have some other opportunities to lead in the class.
This teacher was always in school early, but the next morning she was in my office first thing. She immediately put her finger in the air and said don’t say anything. She looked me in the eye and said I want to say something to you. I was bracing for impact. I was ready to hear all the reasons why I was wrong in my observations, and why she was going to continue teaching the way she does because she’s good at it.
I put my hands down and just listened. The teacher said very passionately and with deep meaning:
I want to tell you three things:
One: Thank you for talking with me and providing those points.
Two: I’m going to try them.
Three: You put the wind back in my sails.
She firmly told me to not say anything else, and with that, she got up and left.
I was shocked, and pleased, all in the same moment. I was so happy that the teacher found the feedback meaningful, and that she had such a growth mindset that she was going to try it.
Feedback is so important to those we are around. Our family, friends, coworkers etc. Sometimes people are not ready to hear feedback, and sometimes people do not like the way feedback is delivered. Sometimes they just don’t want to hear it at all, while others crave it and seek it out. In this case, this person is more of an introvert and more quiet in nature. Well, perhaps initially, she looked resistant. I thought there was going to be some confrontation in our conversation, but it wasn’t that at all.
She just needed some time to digest, and replay the events in her mind. It’s moments like that in our journey as leaders that it makes it all worth it. That interaction built trust, open communication, and put the wind back in my sails as well. I thank this educator and all those busting their butts each day to create amazing experiences for teachers
Continue to build relationships and develop trust in your relationships. #SurviveThrive
If I could help you in any way, don’t hesitate to reach out. Summer workshop dates are filling up fast so contact me if you were interested in having me host a workshop for your team. @andrewmarotta21 #survivethrive
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Quote: “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” —Publilius Syrus