Slice of Life: A Hidden Practice #SOL19 #TWTBlog
Last week I had the privilege of getting a sneak-peek of some classrooms. There is nothing like walking through a school the days before students arrive. It is difficult to express the feeling in the air – anticipation, hope, eagerness. Each year brings a promise of a fresh start for students, families and teachers. As I walked through these classrooms I was inspired by the attention to detail and was reminded of the importance of provisioning.
Provisioning: A Hidden Teacher Practice That Needs to Be Made Visible to the Mentee
As mentioned in the previous post, there are numerous best practices teachers implement that may go unnoticed by a pre-service or novice teacher. *Sapier and Gower (1997) have identified many of these hidden teacher practices, one of which is provisioning.
What is Provisioning?
Provisioning represents a set of procedures an experienced teacher implements to facilitate instruction. When provisioning is effective instruction moves smoothly and effortlessly. With provisioning the teacher prepares the classroom with materials of instruction, bulletin boards, physical space, seating arrangements, etc.
*Saphier, J., & Gower, R. (1997). The Skillful Teacher: Building Your Teaching Skills. Acton, MA: Research for Better Teaching, Inc.
When we take the time to envision and create our space, we are intentional. It pushes us to think about what we are doing, why it is important, how we want it to feel, and what we hope to have happen. We plan by thinking through the steps of how we want things to go and shift from thinking only about what we are going to do. I believe how we do things is often more important than what we do.
It was clear to me that these teachers were thinking about how each day will go before the students even arrived. Teaching is more than a schedule and a list of objectives. It is bringing a community of learners together. Creating a community of learners requires thoughtful planning that cannot be found in a program; on Pinterest; or photocopied from a book. It must be thoughtfully envisioned and planned. Teachers shared with me how they provisioned to support student agency; encourage collaboration and ensure each student felt welcome. Tools were arranged, seating was flexible, and classroom libraries beckoned readers. Feelings of inspiration, peace, and trust were tangible in each room. The rituals of their classroom and the structures they created reflected their pedagogical values.
Provisioning … I think it really is a hidden practice. It requires us to think about the moments we will have together and how we want them to feel. It makes things seem so easy and effortless. In reality it is a thoughtful, intentional practice that requires time, vision, and care.
Thank you to all the teachers out there who spent their personal time and, more often than not, money to create classroom communities that honor and welcome all students. I hope you know how important you are and the impact you have on the lives of your students.