It is not common for a teacher in this country to be observed by other teachers. It is a shame, as I think, and apparently lot of others as well, that it is a great practice. Here is another excerpt from The Teaching Gap:
As researcher Catherine Lewis found, teacher collaboration can create a profound motivation to improve. A young teacher she interviewed recalled that after watching a lesson by her fellow first-grade teacher, she burst into tears: "I felt so sorry for my own students. I thought their lives would have been so much better if they'd been in the other teacher's class."
Past semester it has become apparent to me that not only majority of people are not critical of themselves, but are not critical of others either. There is a constant fear of hurting other people's feelings. Criticism can be expressed in a manner that is not offensive (ok, maybe I am not the best example, but I am sure it can be done :) ), but rather constructive. Not to be blunt, but I'd rather have one person's feelings hurt, than thousands of children not learning what they are capable of.
In any event, this book is truly amazing, and I recommend it to everybody who aspires to be a teacher (or is one). One of the major points in my view is that majority of U.S. teachers believe that having finished their studies they are ready to teach and the only area in which they might seek improvement is in HOW they teach. But not in WHAT they teach.
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