As an educator, the best way to improve our craft is to see, hear, and experience new ideas. Yes, observing another teacher can go a long way in providing us with different ways to do our job. I believe this is the single best way we can grow as educators. However, the observations should not just be limited to a classroom or even a school setting. I will be the first to say, I am always skeptical of folks who try to tell teachers how to do their jobs when they themselves are not doing them. Listening to an “expert” who hasn’t worked in a school in decades should always raise a flag and be taken with a grain of salt.
There is much to learn from those both in and outside of education. I spend a great deal of time-consuming a variety of content from individuals who are not in schools. I listen to Gregg Popovich talk about leadership and see the cross over into the work we do in schools. I even pull from authors who write and speak about social issues impacting our students. Jason Reynolds and Laurie Halse Anderson are two of my favorites who hit on tough topics which I can bring into the work I do with students. Daniel Pink is well known in the business world and yet his content has transitioned in the education space because of its wide application and value. And yes, there are many education consultants and researchers who often get a bad reputation for the work they do. In reality, they have access and time to evaluate research and content applicable to education. I still believe in healthy skepticism, but as teachers, we should always be open to the idea that learning can happen through observation in many spaces.