A few times each year, I have the pleasure of visiting my colleagues’ classrooms. As my division focused on the implementation of Word Study, I signed up to watch Barry Mernin’s classroom in action.
Yes, his Word Study procedures were excellent. More amazing to me were the absolutely seamless transitions his 4th grade students made from one activity to another.
I had to see if this was a transition practiced for guests or if it was the natural way his classroom worked.
The next morning, I surreptitiously hiked up to the 7th floor and tried to hide outside Barry’s door. He saw me.
My mind raced with possible excuses for being there.
“Can I watch?” I asked, not knowing what else to say.
“Come on in!” he said in his strong Bostonian accent.
The bell rings. Students move. No one talks. Each student has a place. No one lags behind.
They must be robots, I think. But the students are smiling. They’re leaning in to hear the morning devotion. They listen intently and ask insightful questions.
When faced with the brilliance of colleagues, a teacher can go one of two ways:
- Waffle for a week (or month or year) fighting multiple inferiority complexes, or
- Enlist the colleague as a mentor and advisor.
I chose the latter.
This week I interviewed Barry. Whether you’re a new teacher or a veteran hoping to tighten up procedures, the podcast below may be the best 16 minutes of professional development you have this week.
Please share any comments or reactions below. If you’d like to contact Barry directly, you can find him at @LarryHermanHK.
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