Have you ever had that one special elementary school teacher that just made you LOVE school? The one who brought out your creativity and ideas, that you thought you had lost? That kind, yet structured teacher who never raised her voice and made you feel calm the entire time you were with her? That special, inspiring teacher who gave you back all the energy that previously drained you, especially on the most challenging days? I’m talking about that teacher next door, your colleague and friend, the one so welcoming and open to having other teachers come and visit her classroom. That is just how I spent my day, observing an amazing and inspiring third year teacher, Megan Wehrle (1st grade – Rodriguez Elementary Austin, Tx).
The Classroom Environment
I strolled into Ms. Wehrle’s first grade learning space filled with soft lit lamps placed around the classroom, providing just enough light to create a calm, relaxing learning environment…sooooo inviting! NO FLUORESCENT LIGHTS, yeah! Children filled the room, working independently with no interruptions as Ms. Wehrle met with individual students. These great little people didn’t miss a beat. Writers writing. Readers reading. Spellers spelling. This great teacher teaching had orchestrated it all.
I was taking it all in – snapping pictures of anchor charts, expectation charts, student’s writing, and the use of white boards during a spelling activity, as well as a cozy nook that served as a “Cool Down” area. I, furiously, wrote as many notes as I possibly could. There were so many things to remember and to take back and share with other teachers that I support. I continued jotting down every question and wondering that filled my head! I was like a sponge, soaking up every drop of this inspiring young teacher’s ideas.
Impacts of peer visits
Wait a minute, you might say. Aren’t you an educator with 18 years experience?