This Wonderful College Prep teacher shares ‘bad lesson’ videos on purpose. Here’s why

Amy Henderson, 11th grade English teacher at the Wonderful College Prep Academy in Delano, CA, first used video as part of her teacher credentialing program. But she soon realized that it had a permanent place in her teaching practice.

We sat down with Amy to hear how she, in her second year formally teaching, uses Edthena as a powerful tool for professional development.

What has been your experience using video and Edthena as a professional development tool?

At first, I recorded videos on my phone and uploaded them to Google Drive. I would have videos of myself teaching and talk about them with other people teachers.

When I switched to Edthena, though, it was infinitely easier. I could use the Edthena app to record, and it would upload directly to the platform. So, I didn’t have to use Google Drive and wait for it to upload. It could just do that automatically. From there I could share immediately with the people providing feedback.

How has your use of video transformed from an evaluation into professional development for you?

Amy Henderson shares classroom videos for professional developmentI think sharing videos of my teaching felt pretty natural when someone asked me, “We want a video of you teaching and we want to highlight all of the great things you’re doing.’ I would take some of my best lessons I prepared and video those. I would get feedback from them, and they were fairly nice because, as I said, they were my best lessons.

I realized soon that this was an opportunity to fix things that were going on in my classroom that I wanted to work on. I would send a video to my supervisor and say, “Hey this is what happened in class and it just happened to be on video.”

So instead of selecting the best pieces, I was selecting the worst and asking for feedback. It turned into a tool for using video to improve as a teacher, even if the person I was getting feedback from was long distance.

What are some of the benefits that you’ve noticed from using video as a tool?

As a teacher, I only see my perspective. So what I think is funny, what I think is interesting, or what I think are good directions sound completely different from the other end. What’s really great about video is that I can go back later and view a video from three months ago. I have a little more time removal from that to say something like, “Oh wow, I did not give clear instructions there at all.”

With video, I can get this outside perspective that I usually don’t get with teaching.

What would you say to a teacher starting to use video as a tool for improving their classroom teaching?

My advice would be to start where I ended, and do not be afraid to highlight the bad things that you’re doing to use that as a means of learning. Also, try and get over the awkwardness of seeing yourself on video and hearing your voice. It’s kind of an odd experience, but it’s so helpful to be able to see what you’re doing. Lastly, try to get someone to do it with you the first time. And if you’re using Edthena, share the benefits of it that your partner can use right away.

Amy’s interview was the latest in our Teacher Voices series. To watch the previous Teacher Voices installments, click here.