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Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy and focus on motivation and recognition.  Knowing that, I suppose it is no surprise that I incorporated it into my formal observations of my teachers. 

Today I had three formal teacher observations.  Yes, three in one day.  That is a lot in one day.  Therefore, I thought I would make it a goal to provide immediate positive feedback for each of the teachers I visited.  I was trying to think of the best way to give that feedback.  I didn't want to be to blatant or obvious.  Post it notes! A perfect way to leave a quick detailed recognition.  It is kind of like leaving a positive "tweet" on a paper.  140 letters or less can fit legibly on a post it note.

My first observation was a math class.  The lesson was great! The teacher did an amazing job introducing the metric system to the students.  The way she did it was patient, fun, and very sensible. When leaving the room I place the post it note on her desk.  I wrote, "Wow! great job. Wish I was taught the metric system that way."

My second observation was a language arts class.  This teacher was connecting with students at a cosmic level.  The lesson was jam packed with multiple levels of learning. Great mini lesson, independent working, group work, leveled reading groups, conferencing, technology, and quality questioning. At the end of the lesson I left a post it note on her laptop saying, "Great job! You were all over the place. Perfect for every student".

The third observation was also a language arts class. This lesson was also high quality.  The thing that made this lesson so powerful was the learning environment.  The teacher has an infectious personality.  She used humor and wit to connect with the students and deepen the learning.  I left a note on her chair. "Your great personality made this lesson top notch."

I also decided to post my day on Facebook.  After each observation I posted what I saw and the positive note I left.  Below are the responses I got from friends.

  • You're the best!! Your teachers are so blessed to have you. Miss ya amigo!!
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  • Steve...How cool is that. I wish you were observing me. After 35 years of teaching and many administrators observing I have never been left a nice not on the desk. I think you are on to something. I am sure your teachers are happy people. It is so much easier to find a positive thing to say. Keep it up. 
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  • I always loved that! In fact, would leave it in my plan book or grade book for the rest of the year! :-)
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  • Steve ...you are the best!
    I have a wonderful principal but you go above and beyond!
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  • Well done. in 33 years of teaching there were few principals such as you.... the world could use many more.  
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  • Nice touch. And may I add: my district has a middle school principal vacancy! :D
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  • I miss you Steve..who else in this district can appreciate me? We were just getting started!
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  • Lovely touch Steve !! We should share best practices like this all of the time.
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  • Hey Steve! That is such a nice touch...but then again your are a great person so you do great things:-) Can't wait for my daughter to get to be under such great guidance next year!
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  • Group hugs are great and patting yourself on the back can be satisfying, a staff appreciation lunch is greatly appreciated, but a personal note letting me know you were REALLY listening to me hits me right where i need it to in order to feel that what I do is important    

This one day, one time action can make a world of change for one teacher.  I just wanted to make a connection with a staff member.  I wasn't there when they read the note and I am not expecting them to respond.  It is all about relationships.   If you are an administrator, get a pack of post it notes and start writing.  It means more than you know.

 

Stand Tall Steve

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