I’ve read about inviting guests into the classrooms for a day. Would you recommend that for a new teacher or would it be best for students to see me as the expert initially? Also, how can we get experts into the classroom?
—A., North Carolina
I loved bringing guests into my classrooms! I think it is perfectly fine for a teacher to act as facilitator and guide to help students learn rather than be seen as the expert in everything. This approach is very conducive to inquiry and questioning.
Professional organizations in many fields often have outreach programs and volunteers who visit classrooms. Agricultural groups may offer speakers and demonstrations. Zoos, animal hospitals, animal shelters, and conservation organizations might have an educational “roadshow.” Don’t be too shy to ask friends, acquaintances, and your former professors to share their expertise with your class! Videoconferencing can open up amazing opportunities to connect with scientists in the field.
Check with your administration on the protocol for inviting guests. Talk with your guests about what they will bring (literally and figuratively) into the classroom. Help them modify anything that might not fit with your curriculum and your students. Also, have students submit written questions to you the day before so you can vet them and don’t have the awkward silences when you ask, “Does anyone have any questions?”
I always had some kind of gift for guests. Ask the principal if there is some school-related bling you can hand out.
Hope this helps!
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