Hittin' the road
You know those VIPs who converge upon my school several times a year for site visits, who observe me, my coworkers and my school as a whole, and then report back to corporate?
Well this week, I *AM* one of those VIPs for two of our schools. Yup--my principal has asked me to join the site visit team for our latest round. I'll be joining her, 2 other teachers from my school and another member of corporate (who actually is a friend of mine; he started out as a member on our 5th grade team last year and rose quite rapidly through the ranks) who is based out of our school. We leave on Tuesday night and spend the night in Orlando, where we'll be observing a school the next day. Then we're back on the road to Palm Bay, the location of our site visit on Thursday. I'll be back home on Thursday night.
It's a major compliment, of course, that Mrs. A asked me to join the team this time around. It shows that she finds me to be a very competent teacher, to the extent that I'm "qualified" to observe OTHER teachers and then sit down with them afterwards, telling them what they did well and what they could work on. I kind of feel like an imposter, to be honest; hell, I'm only in my 3rd year of teaching myself, and I'll undoubtedly be observing and critiquing teachers with more experience. Then again, I've also been with this same company all of those 3 years, and I do know exactly what they're looking for during these visits, having had to get ready for a couple of dozen of those over the years. They provide you with a checklist of sorts, from things that should be in the rooms (interactive word walls, for example) and teaching strategies and methods that should be employed. Plus, I'm a good bullshitter--I'll put on my poker face and make it LOOK like I know what the hell I'm doing. ;)
In the last few months, I've definitely gotten into Mrs. A's good graces. That's due, to some extent, to being a team lead and therefore just being a bit more visible. However, there was another event (one that some of you know about) that also caused a shift in the dynamic--one that really put me on her radar. LCB and I went out to dinner one night (yes, this was after I had sworn him off, which I why I didn't mention it, LOL), where my principal and her husband were sitting at the bar. They invited us to join them and I got to enjoy some major face-time with the big boss. Ironically, she LOVED Shawn (my friend, the one going on the trip, later told her, "Yeah, well, you're the only one") and was utterly charmed by him, and since that dinner, she seems to seek me out much more frequently (my friends, only half-jokingly, tease me about my "double date with the boss").
That's not to discredit the fact that I've been working really hard and that I HAVE seem to have found my niche in teaching. However, success in business (and make no mistake about it--working for a charter school company IS very much like being back in the business world. You definitely have to "play the game," and my previous work experience in the corporate world has also given me advantage that those new to teaching may not have) often has to do with being in the right place at the right time. And that night, I definitely was.
In addition to this site visit thing, I was also just given ANOTHER opportunity on Friday--a pretty damn big one. They're sending me and another teacher to Orlando for a week this June to attend a training/seminar--one that will train US to come back and teach the rest of the staff all about the joys and wonders of Differentiated Instruction. Whoot!