I had the honor and pleasure of having my superintendent visit my classroom today. The first time didn’t go so well. The students were wrapping up group project business, but, to the naked eye, it might have looked like the kids were winding down the school year leisurely. Since then, I’ve had a phrase brewing in my mind, intentionally, but I hadn’t gotten the chance to speak it. Then, it happened today. He came in with a few folks whose faces I’d never seen before and my principal. Our class stopped what we were doing, and, after saying hello, I let out the phrase I’ve been wanting to say for months:

“Ask the kids what they’re doing.”

The students were probably shocked I was so open about them and their work, and responded by pushing to finish the work. But for me, I wanted the adults who weren’t normally in the classroom to see that I don’t put on pretenses or shows. I don’t need silent classrooms, especially during the last period of the school day. I work as intently with my struggling classes as I do with my advanced classes. I don’t use the words “high expectations” and “rigor,” but, if that’s the interpretation, and if it allows me to keep doing the work I do, I’m happy.

I don’t take pride in my teacher evaluation reports, but in how my students respond to the work I’m doing. continue reading