It was with great apprehension that I entered the world of V.O.P. Having more than 15 years teaching experience under my belt, and having taught several grades from K-6, I felt that I needed to pull off the teaching performance of a life time! After all I am considered an 'experienced teacher'. Upon reflection, it was at this point that I had it all wrong!
My V.O.P partner is Charlotte, and with Charlotte being a new member of staff, I felt compelled to provide her with a video that would be beneficial and one that would portray my years of experience.
Despite my best planning efforts, my video was created late in the afternoon. In full disclosure it was an impromptu Guided Reading session and so with minutes to prepare, I skimmed the text, devised a plan and pressed record.
I was eager to view the video. My first thoughts were, ‘Is that what I really sound like?’ and ‘Where do I go for elocution lessons?’ and 'What is Charlotte going to think?'. I first noticed everything that didn’t go so well - the student who wasn’t given a chance to respond, the lack of inferential questioning, the frequent interruptions, the students in the background wanting their chance on film and that the text was too easy.
I viewed the recording several times and began to notice the things that went well and the list of pros and cons started to balance out, maybe even tip in favour of the pros. I noticed that the students were interested and motivated and that the feedback I was giving the students was positive and constructive. When interrupted, I was able to redirect the students back to the task at hand and maintain the flow of the lesson. I felt at this point that my lesson was 'viewer ready'.
Going through the R.I.S.E process with Charlotte was a really positive experience. I enjoyed viewing her video and learnt a lot from Charlotte and how she taught and guided her students. She demonstrated a detailed knowledge of the text and carefully explained the more challenging information for the students when it was necessary. You could even notice the change in her students body language when she praised them for their contributions to the group discussion. After viewing each others videos, I found our professional discussion to be quite rewarding. We spoke willingly about the things we would like to improve on and we were able to celebrate our successes. Charlotte's feedback was valuable and constructive and she also shared with me a great resource, that will help me work towards my goal in developing my inferential questions.
V.O.P is not about getting it right, it's about taking the time to reflect on your teaching and giving yourself the opportunity to learn. The V.O.P experience really honed in on the notion that there is no learning when you are in your comfort zone. It happens when you take a step out. A place that I hope to be able to venture into more often as I continue on my journey as an educator.