One of the teachers I’m coaching this year shared the following story.
A large group of important people came to her classroom a few days ago to observe. Her students were engaged deeply in sustained silent reading. After a minute or so, one member of the group approached the teacher and asked, “Are you just reading?”
Her response: “Yes, you are correct. We’re just reading.”
I’m not sure if the observer understood — that there’s something big and beautiful about “just reading.” But I’m happy the teacher stood her ground and didn’t become defensive.
I’m hopeful that we can change our expectations of strong teacher practice to be able to notice that there’s nothing wrong with students in classrooms lost in their books.