top of page
  • Writer's pictureJim Mercer

SamTastic Weekly Tip: 1/15/24 - Try Seeing Instruction Without a Plan, Rubric, Checklist or Pre-conceived Opinion.

Today’s Tip, on MLK Day, is: “Try seeing instruction without a plan, rubric, checklist or pre-conceived opinion.”


In an effort to be intentional, many leaders use tools, formal and informal, when observing teachers work.  These tools can, sometimes, help lead to improved teacher practice.  They can also prevent a leader from seeing the larger picture and miss opportunities to truly assist teachers in improving their work.


Teaching is more about art than science.  Teaching is more about relationships than conformity.  Perhaps observing instruction by participating as a student, with a focus on learning and enjoying the lesson, might allow you to see a larger picture?  Perhaps suspending your professional role will allow you to have a few Ah Ha moments that you can use to benefit teachers and students.


A former SAM High School Principal, Michael Bregy, liked to go to school as a student occasionally.  He said this different perspective helped him learn how to better assist teachers in their quest to improve practice.  During the day, he would shadow one student from arrival to departure.  He would go to every class, do every assignment and follow every rule the student had to follow.  He did not take a break, use tech or leave his role as a student.  He wanted to immerse himself in school the way students do every day to spark his own creativity as a professional leader…and learner.


I never tried this idea when I was a principal.  I did like to spend a complete day in a classroom as an aide to gain a better understanding of, and relationship with, a teacher.  I found this helpful and teachers seemed to like it, a lot.  I then began doing this in shorter classroom visits.  That early experience in my leadership work led to “Working with Students” to be a SAM instructional descriptor.


One of the best things about teaching is there isn’t one way to do things.  Creativity and curiosity may be the best pre-cursors to the surfacing of ideas to improve teacher practice.


PS:  You can find Mike Bregy’s “go to school as a student” summary, and hundreds of other one page ideas from SAM TimeTrack users, at this link: 



Music Video: I Am a SAM


Executive Summary: SAM team Success:

18 views0 comments


bottom of page