23 January 2006

Accreditation: Take Two

I got to do something new today. I was part of a visiting team for a school's accreditation. You might remember that in May, I was on the other side of this sort of visit. I was really interested to see how the process worked from a visitor's point of view.

The day was spent interviewing teachers about their views on collaboration. This was the "strand" I was assigned to help evaluate, along with three other people. Running around the school to see different classrooms at work or find teachers on their planning periods really made the day go quickly. We collected lots of information and summarized the strongest points as either "commendations" or "recommendations."

Along the way, I got lots of insight into how and why teachers choose to team. One of the most interesting things was that people tend to group themselves with others who are in the same point of their career. There's not a lot of collaboration among those who could be mentors and new staff. Another view was simply about the operation of the school. Everyone there is strongly opinionated and that they are all correct in their opinions (or so they believe). It's hard to develop trust and respect in a staff where everyone is sure that s/he's the expert. These things are important for me to remember as I continue to work with this school on science implementation. It has been the most difficult spot for me to make inroads.

The rest of my week is just going to be nuts. I'm glad today included a bit of a look into another world and some time to reflect on it. Those moments are all too rare.

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