Extending the dialogue to my blog as to keep my own record of my feelings towards this topic. I have mixed-feelings. On one side, the feeling that observation must be great when you are taking part in it with the only aim to grow yourself and help others grow as well, judgemental free, and on the other side the feeling that observation is often more about judging and ticking on our own set of what should and should not be like in a classroom. As I used to think like that myself and my own perspective about myself and others has changed, I feel things have changed for me, but fear is still in the air.
Changing my own mindset did not help change the whole picture. At some point this year, I even thought I’d lost the fear of being observed and being judged. But in an environment where the concept of praxis is not fully understood, fear rules. NO matter what. I am still being ruled by fear. And I, personally speaking, see culture as the agent to which might be preventing us to embark in this wonderful thing that is observation. Because once a group (or most people in a group) thinks in a certain way, changing seems mostly difficult. It will only, again in my opinion, happen if one makes the effort and break their own personal rule or the fixed rule set before us. Or if there is a deep need for it. And seriously at this point, I have no idea how to change the big picture. I’ve tried so far few things and none seem to work. There might be something else I haven’t tried yet, but I am clueless to what it is exactly I should be looking forward to regarding this topic for the greater good.
Trying to expand the possibilities for me and going past my own fears and trying to rise above my own trouble waters I started blogging. In fact my wordpress account is 5 years old and without iTDi support I would have probably continued struggling longing for someone to share with – my doubts, my struggles, the need for pointers, to be inspired, to take my PD to a step further… iTDi did not only helped me connect to other likemind teachers and find the spaces to learn and feel as part of a community which I needed to fear no more and could talk freely about about teaching/learning, they helped me also to find my own voice. My world changed. My perspective about myself changed and it also helped me change my ways of seeing the big picture.
Looking back and taking into consideration what I have just written and reflected upon, what is or is not observation for me right now?
Observation for me is NOT about just having someone for a moment in your class, it is the journey one takes alongside you. It is not about teaching you, although teaching will surely happen as well as learning for both sides. It is not about giving opinions even after one has pondered hard enough to have the right to do so. It is about being interested in your journey and your students. It is about being the voice of reason when you feel at a total loss and feeling discouraged. It is about caring about what you do and taking the time to think together and be willing to look for answers that may none of you not know at a particular time. It means open your heart, mind and your class without fear.
But if observation is just a moment. If it is just something it needs to be done and it does not invite dialogue, It won’t provide space for praxis and mutual growth.
Blogging then is the nearest I got to peer observation in a sense that I have opened my very heart, my mind to be open to others and my classroom by describing the best I could. My mixed feelings is not the fear of sharing as I tried to be as candid as possible in my posts through the year. What counts at the end is always the journey. A journey in which my students took part this year and also the teachers online who took an interest in our journey, and cared to read and make comments.
I’m also taking the opportunity to celebrate then a year of blogging, of sharing. And say thanks to Ann Loseva whose blog I had the pleasure to write a blogpost when her own blog completed a year last year, thank YOU Anna. Your post at iTDi (and only the first part of it) generated this post. The second part will have to wait until next Monday, for today I’ll keep just the feeling that I have that today for the first time I made sense of what observation is for me.