I have pledged to make myself spend two half days a week (at a minimum) doing nothing but visiting classrooms. I want to connect with students, see the work that they are doing, watch my staff and highlight the exemplary practices I see, and do everthing I can to promote a positive learning environment. I have found that by watching the students I get a much quicker read on what learning is taking place. I remember that as a teacher, I felt good when there was a lot of interaction amongst the students and interaction between them and myself as we went through the day’s lesson. I was sure that I was keeping students engaged and that we were making good progress. The problem that I did not realize was that I was only really interacting with a few students in each class and that many students were only partly engaged at best and at worst, completely unengaged. I did not get an objective view of what was going on in my classroom until several of my colleagues and myself started a peer observation program. We watched each other teach and gave each other feedback without the fear of the “sumative” evaluaton of an adminstator’s authority. I learned from my peers that my students were more engaged when I did student centered activities, only lectured for short periods of time, and used a seating chart to help me determine questioning patterns. I think I also learned more about being a better teacher by watching my colleagues teach and interact with their students. I learned a lot about using Bloom’s Taxonomy and the Socratic Method of questioning by watching excellent teachers who taught in the rooms down the hall. I know time is a premium for teachers, but if there is any way that you can find time to step into the room of a colleague, you may find that some of the best professional development is being demonstrated right around the corner.