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Scepticism to Certainty: Rewriting my Narrative

Updated: Jan 30

As a pessimistic optimist, I was dubious about the value of peer observation. The thought of being scrutinized while teaching made me more nervous than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

But, as they say, "You gotta try it to believe it!" So, against my better judgment, I signed up for hashtag#PGCAP - and there it was - peer observation! right in the first module.

By the time the first observation session was over, I had already assumed it to be just as cringeworthy as I had anticipated. I was sure that I must have stumbled through my lessons like a drunken giraffe, waiting for the hammer to fall.

But the real magic happened during the debriefing sessions. The feedback from my peers was like a bolt of lightning to my soul. Suddenly, I felt a sense of optimism that I had never known before. It was like discovering the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything (which, as we all know, is 42).

The most transformative part of the experience was the chance to examine my own behavior. I went from being a skeptical educator to the polar opposite. And, let me tell you, it was like a switch had been flipped in my brain. Suddenly, I saw opportunities to find encouragement and inspiration in even the most mundane situations in a classroom session.

After some deliberate reflection on the feedback I received, observing peers’ sessions and reading through the gold mine of works shared by my mentor, Shalini Gupta, I was able to improve my teaching by being more present and conscious about students’ behavior during the class. I could separate reasonable doubt from genuine uncertainty about the efficacy of my teaching strategies. And, let me tell you, it was a game-changer.

Reflecting on the feedback I received from peers and friends was only part of the story. I also took a hard look at how my students were behaving in and outside the classroom and toward their own careers. I also looked at students’ behaviors in other teachers’ classes and in varied settings. It was like looking into a mirror, and what I saw wasn't always pretty.

But, with the help of my newfound approach and methods - thanks to Shalini Gupta, hashtag#PGCAP Peers and collegues at Pearl Academy, I began to transform my classroom sessions. I started to see my students as individuals with unique talents and challenges. I learned to tailor my teaching strategies to meet their needs. And the students started to respond in kind. They were more engaged in class, and they started to take ownership of their own learning and career paths.

It was like watching a flower bloom before my very eyes. The bond between myself and my students grew stronger with each passing day. And, in the end, I realized that the value of peer observation lay not just in the feedback I received but in the transformation it sparked in me and in my students.

In the words of the great Douglas Adams, "I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

Related Works: Refer to my essay "Reflections on Observations of Self & Peers" from PGCAP Module 1: Reflective Practitioner: Pedagogical Development & Classroom Management.

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