My philosophy of supervision is influenced by my background and experiences.
Overall, I believe that the job of a supervisor is to help teachers do their job better, and to improve instruction. All supervisory activities should be directed towards that goal. My experience as a supervisor has been as a director of a science department, as well as duties that involve coordination of curriculum. My expectation is that I will soon be transitioning to a K-12 curriculum coordinator position in the near future.
A supervisor should be helping in lesson planning, conferencing with teachers, providing models, and evaluating curriculum implementation. A supervisor needs to be doing research in the district to compare how teachers meet the curriculum goals, and what resources can be shared. However, it is clear that a supervisor is NOT the same as an administrator. Interfacing with parents, budgetary concerns, and even personnel decisions are all part of an administrator’s position in a school setting. As a supervisor, I can best help a teacher by serving as a liaison between teachers and administrators.
As a supervisor, I need to find a balance between being proactive and reactive.
To be reactive is to respond to teacher needs. In order to do that I need to find out what the teacher perceive their needs are. This means constantly talking to the teachers and being available when issues are raised.
To be proactive is to respond to proscribed needs and to look to the future. One of the advantages I have as a supervisor has is to be able to do holistic planning, by looking at the overall system and by doing long range planning. In this planning, I need to look at curriculum coordination, learning goals and objectives, instructional activities and planning, enrichment activities (field trips, special events), materials and equipment, and overall system improvement. These are the issues that a single teacher often does not have the time and perspective to look at.
Another major role of a supervisor is to focus on staff development. If a district invests time and effort into training teachers, it has a direct impact on the quality of student learning. This is where a supervisor can exert the greatest influence, in setting up teachers with the background, training, and resources to be most effective. A supervisor should be a good peer coach, and provide direct feedback. If a supervisor knows their staff well, they can realize strengths and weaknesses. As a supervisor, I should recognize growth opportunities, whether it is through conferences, workshops, reading, or just working with others.
To be effective a supervisor should be constantly communicating with teachers, as well as administrators. Because the relationship between supervisors and teachers is a fluid one, the role changes along the spectrum of directive to collaborative. It is vital that the supervisor always positively communicates with teachers, and explains the roles. Some examples that demonstrate my philosophy of supervision might be:
“Tomorrow I am going to observe each teacher to see what type of techniques we use in open ended labs. I will use these observations to lead a discussion at our next faculty meeting”
“We need to make sure that the terminology for experimentation is similar across all our grades levels, my research has found that the state test uses these terms:…. Please make sure that you use them the same way in your class. See me if questions”
Overall, I view the position of a supervisor as a proactive one, in which the majority of time would be spent working with teachers, rather than in an office. To be an effective supervisor is to work with teachers. To be a true coordinator is to have a global viewpoint of the K-12 spectrum, taking into account the developmental needs of students, as well as the instructional needs of teachers. Overall as a supervisor, I work with all teachers in improving instruction in a collaborative and collegial role, acknowledging their successes and viewpoints, while adhering to district and school mandates, and maintaining high expectations for the quality of education.