Watching the Team
The day had arrived. The time had come. Day 1 was happening whether we were ready or not. We were ready…kind of…I mean, I think we were.
As an instructional designer and former teacher, it is often difficult to let my “baby” go and be taught by someone else. To relinquish control and let the teachers fail or succeed because of something I helped create is one of the most difficult things that I do. I have to be confident in the material and the teachers – those same teachers that I just met a week before. Maybe they succeed; maybe they fail; maybe I should have taught it myself. No, this wasn’t the time for those thoughts. This was a time to simply observe, celebrate successes, and help when needed.
Every day, the camp started with a clip of the Chronicles of Narnia movie containing “themes of the day”. These themes were used for conversations and activities. One of our goals during the camp was to allow the teacher to choose which activities they taught each day and allow them to “craft” their own curriculum from the larger, written curriculum. This meant that they had a bit more buy-in, but it also meant that the curriculum had to have a wider range of activities to fit the needs and desires of the teachers and students.
Since it can be a bit nerve-racking to have someone watch you teach, and for that matter, learn, we decided that we wouldn’t hover too much in the classrooms. We decided to pop in here and there, check how the activities were going, but overall, we decided to trust the teachers to do what they came here to do. Sure, we watched them teach. Sure, we stepped in when we felt they needed to hurry, change up the activity or something to that effect, but all-in-all, we let our teachers teach. We let them be the authority in the classroom.
And it payed off. They rocked it! They weren’t perfect, and the activities didn’t all go as planned, but they did what they came to do, and they did it well. My favorite part was going into the class – seeing the students and teachers come together to improve their English. Sure, I noticed some things that needed to be changed in future iterations of the curriculum, but it was working, and watching it at work brought me joy!