Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lessons for Education from Grey's Anatomy

Don't judge me for this or do, I guess it's okay; but I've been walled up watching reruns of Grey's Anatomy. I don't know, do you ever have one of those weekends where you don't want to see anyone or do anything? Really, do you, because I am starting to think that I am weird, but I blew off a lot of stuff this weekend. It's just that my soul felt quiet and I wanted to be alone.

That's really not my point, though. My point is that education should take notes on training educators from the way surgeons train.

1.) Watching each other is a good thing.

In Grey's Anatomy, they are a teaching hospital and they have this gallery where residents and interns watch attendings perform a variety of procedures. I was writing here about how I was listening to another teacher conduct a parent meeting and learning a lot. What if we all just went into a gallery and watched when someone was going to do something extraordinary, like teach comparing fractions to a group with many learning disabled students?

I was at school this morning with the Breakfast Club (that's my name for the group of teachers who go in and finish working on Sunday morning at my school every week), and I went into a fifth grade teacher's room. We were talking about teaching prefixes, suffixes, and root words. I showed her a graphic organizer I use with a tree and she had never seen it. (I'll put a picture if anyone wants to steal it.) It made me think, though, about how many other great things are out there that we don't know that other people do.

I wish that we all watched each other like surgeons. In teaching, though, at least for me, we are a lot more skeptical when someone enters the room while we are teaching and they're just there to watch. We feel like they are there to judge us.

2.) We ought to have a residency.

Student teaching is kind of like an internship, and it does help. I think, though, that those early years of teaching would be much better if they were like a residency. I really wonder how it is going to work for new teachers when "teacher accountability" cracks down even more. When there is no learning period, how do you become proficient? That issue is close to my heart because when I first started teaching I was certainly labeled by my administrator as a bad teacher. I was told that "the kids don't deserve to have you as a teacher;" maybe that was true. I definitely had a couple of years where I learned a lot and made mistakes, but I almost quit because no one was giving me time to learn. Maybe I should have had a couple of years where I had a lesser role and learned before being on my own. Now, I can look back and see what things I did wrong, but I can't fault the twenty two year old rookie because I had so much responsibility with very little support or prep.

3.) We should all have sex in supply closets to relieve stress.

Okay, not really. I imagine that this doesn't actually occur on real surgical floors, but it does on Grey's Anatomy. There would be actually a lot of problems with this in a school. I mean, the male to female ratio is very off. Supply closets are really small.


Joan said...

This is a really great post. I am stealing your tree, ok?

I wish we did have more on the job training, but once they are paying you they want you responsible for a classroom. I had no, none, zilch, on the job training. I worked like a dog and pestered the crap out of other teachers who, thankfully, put up with me.

ms.understood said...

Steal away.
One thing I've done with that organizer is to print out tons of words with prefixes and suffixes and cut the words apart. I print out trees and have the kids physically cut apart the word and fill in the graphic organizer. I find it helps make this subject more tactile.

kayenta said...

I proposed a "Personal Professional Development Plan" this year and got it approved. I get to have 7 hours of my class covered on various days. I get to use that time to go into 3rd and 5th grade rooms to watch other teachers teach reading and math. I've been teaching for 20 years, and I love learning new stuff. Some of the teachers are a bit skeptical. But I just want to see what they are doing.

rachelheather said...

1. Yes, I have weekends like that. Quite frequently.

2. A great tool for watching other teachers is the Teach Like a Champion facebook page. They post a new video each week, plus I think there are some more at the Uncommon Schools website.