Spending thousands of hours in my own classroom and the classrooms of many other teachers, I have come to believe that the most detrimental condition of a teacher’s work life is the isolation in which the majority of teachers work. The one-teacher-in-one-classroom model that most schools still use is based on an old set of turn-of-the 20th century assumptions that focused on factories and efficiency. Teaching, however, is a human enterprise and teachers need feedback from knowledgeable others to improve their own skills and to expand their ability to assess what the children in their classrooms need in order to reach higher standards.
At Tch, when we go in search of great teachers and excellent classrooms to film and share, we look for teachers who are always interested in feedback and who are constantly working to improve their practice. The reason I am so committed to Teaching Channel is that it can blow the doors off classrooms across the country, helping every teacher to see what others are doing. It also provides a way to discuss teaching with other teachers through the use of Notes, our video annotation tool. (Check out this Sarah Brown Wessling video for a great example of the how the tool works.)
I am in hopes that you will join us in looking inside myriad classrooms, and discussing them with others so that every teacher in this country can feel less isolated and become part of a great community of educators interested in moving the needle on student achievement.
Pat Wasley is the Chief Executive Officer for Teaching Channel. Pat began her education career as a public school teacher in the U.S. and in Australia. She has been a public school administrator, a researcher, a university professor, and a dean of both the Bank Street Graduate School of Education and the University of Washington College of Education.