Over the years I have had many opportunities to discuss with my colleagues the benefits of using eWalk to gather data during classroom visits. The amount of authentic data we collect and the information it provides us is immeasurable. If you have been reading my previous blog articles you have read it several times: virtually everything we do is monitored through eWalk.

Equally valuable are the conversations that originate from walk-through visits to classrooms.

Our eWalk protocols require us to email a completed walk-through to the teacher within 48 hours of the visit. We do this because teachers want timely feedback. After reviewing the comments provided to them on the eWalk template, teachers do not want to sit around and wait for information. Teachers want to know almost immediately what was recorded during the walk-through.

Even more so, teachers want the opportunity to bask in the glow of congratulatory remarks or respond to any comments they feel were not accurate. Everyone likes a pat on the back and teachers are no different. They enjoy receiving comments praising them for their expertise or their professionalism. Teachers are also quick to inform us when they feel comments are not accurate or if additional information is required regarding what was observed.

Ms. Stinchcomb, assistant principal discusses a walk-through with Ms. Scroggy, teacher.

Teachers have visited my office numerous times after a walk-through wanting to explain the events I observed and provide a rationale for the methods they were using during class. I have heard many times that if I would have just come five minutes earlier or stayed ten minutes longer everything would have made more sense.

Teachers want to be heard and eWalk provides them with an opportunity and a platform from which to speak.

eWalk provides teachers with a platform from which to speak.

I have learned many things about my teachers, my students, and my school from the conversations I have had just after a walk-through. Teachers come in as a result of the walk-through and great conversations ensue. The conversations almost always begin with the walk-through but often move to other areas of interest.

Despite where the conversation takes us, the sharing of information among educators is invaluable. When I sit down with teachers after a walk-through there is no limit as to what we may discuss. We often discuss their successes in class and sometimes I learn of their failures. We often discuss individual students or maybe specific classes that are quite challenging. I often learn about their family and how their children are doing in school.

Whatever the topic may be, sharing time with teachers is time well spent.

Conducting walk-throughs and gathering relevant data is only one benefit of using eWalk. The conversations that result from classroom visits are equally as important. Sharing time with professionals discussing topics relevant to students is powerful. These conversations are so powerful that they have the potential to transform a school.