Wednesday, May 1, 2013

I'm a Pirate

I've been part of a visiting accreditation team for the past couple of days at a Christian school in our area. What a tremendous experience this has been! So great to examine what a team of distinctively Christian educators have been working on and developing and putting into practice in the service of their students and to God's glory!

The thing that has been so fantastic about this experience is that it isn't a judgmental thing at all. We are here to review their self-study and the goals they have set, and then to confirm and affirm that what they have written is being put into action. It's been a lot of visits and conversation and walkthroughs and thinking and writing and more conversation and rewriting. As I write this, I have a few minutes of downtime to reflect before we share our findings with the administration, and then with the whole faculty and staff. I'm excited to share our work with them!

The past two days have been excellent professional development for me. I've seen so many examples of excellent teaching, application of a biblical worldview, and thoughtfulness about measuring the mission of a faith-based institution. And I'm stealing it.

I'm a pirate.

Image freely available at

I'm thinking about the role of observation and supervision in education. We didn't come in to evaluate--at least, not in the sense that what we see and hear determines whether they pass or fail, whether the teachers and administrators keep their positions or not, whether the students graduate and move on or not. We came to confirm and affirm. My role was to observe, to soak into the culture of this place for a few days and see if they are doing what they say they are doing.

And they're doing it right.

So I'm stealing it--I'm taking all these great ideas and bringing them into my teaching practice.

And maybe that's a whole new way for you to think about observation and supervision too: instead of looking for where we can look down on others or judge ourselves more worthy than them, perhaps you'll go into a fellow educator's classroom looking for ideas to steal.

I hope you're a pirate too.

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