Coach & Learn

Standard

 

Reflections on the first week of my first intensive coaching cycle.

Monday, Sept. 25th, marked the first day of my implementation of an intensive, educator-centered coaching cycle and 8 of the 9 teachers chosen for this four-week cycle are engaging in the process. The process is fully described in the book, Instructional Coaching in Action.

During the cycle, my coaching roles and responsibilities will continue with all teachers in the building, but the educator-centered model provides a structure for focused coaching in which teachers can experience leading the coaching partnership. Teachers have the final say on the purpose and activities of the four-week cycle and coaches ensure that teachers have what they need to meet their PGP goals for the year.

During the initial meeting, we developed background knowledge about the model, outlined a plan of action to support the teacher’s professional growth plan (PGP) and scheduled observations and debriefing meetings for post-observation reflections. Each meeting went well, as measured by teachers who were prepared with their PGP goals and my facilitation of the meetings; we accomplished meeting goals and kept within the timeframe (30 min.- with the exception of a couple of meetings).

During this first week, I was also able to get in an observation followed by a reflective conversation with the teacher so that this teacher will be ready to implement a new classroom management plan after fall break.

In between meetings and other duties, I was able to combine block scheduling ideas and learning strategies into a guidance document (it’s in draft form as others review and provide feedback on it). Once it has been reviewed, I will share the document with all staff. Hopefully, it will support the implementation of classes within a block schedule as well as supplying ideas for differentiating instruction.

Now, I’ve given a brief overview of intensive, educator-center coaching and some of my experiences during the first week, but what did I learn?

What did I learn?

  • Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. Not everything you need to know will be said with words; be very observant.
  • Keep moving forward. You will make mistakes; keep believing in the process and learn from it.
  • Be vulnerable. You are not an expert; you are learning along with your colleagues.
  • Admit your weaknesses. Cultivate an environment in which it’s ok to admit your weaknesses; we can’t improve until we are totally honest with ourselves.
  • Develop strength. Be brave enough to look at yourself through the lens of your struggles which highlight your weak points. (Thank you to the teacher who showed me that bit of wisdom during our debrief session.)
  • Have some fun! Live a balanced life every day. Laugh at yourself; in a hundred years from now, no one will remember the little details that are bringing you down.
Advertisements

Give Thanks

Standard

8292524381_b60676ca4f_mI am taking a moment to give thanks for all the great people I work with and who are helping me become a better instructional coach. On the days that are a little more challenging, I can look at this and remember to give thanks in all things and that the dark times are only temporary.

I can count on the dark to give way to the light and sooner than later if I will focus on the positives and be grateful for the blessings. Even the struggle has a purpose and will make me stronger and wiser if I choose my attitude.

So, if any of my WC colleagues read this post, THANK YOU! I’m so glad to be working and learning with you. 🙂

Photo Credit: flickr

 

Inspire with Passion

Standard

BWlit

As I reflect on my new role as an instructional coach, I’ve noticed that my most powerful tool is passion. I’ve been in classrooms these last few weeks and have seen excitement become contagious – excitement for learning, writing, creating and for sharing.

“The best partnerships aren’t dependent on a mere common goal but on a shared path of equality, desire, and no small amount of passion.”  — Sarah MacLean

If a coach can bring an energy of hope and passion into a classroom or into a conversation, she can ignite or renew a passion in the heart of teachers and students. I’ve not only brought that energy with me but have received energy given by those teachers and students who are passionate and driven to learn. Together, we are creating a synergy that I hope will spread to others inside and outside of the school!

I’ve seen it happen several times this past week and today – bright-eyed excitement at the prospect of creating an online portfolio, enthusiastic planning of a school website, smiling faces finding joy in the writing process, thoughtful reflections on how to make learning more accessible to all students and satisfaction in learning new things like setting up a video camera.

Seems really easy, right? Yes, it is easy to inspire others to passion and excitement when you possess those things yourself. You can’t give away what you do not possess. I believe the best instructional coaching is inspirational coaching. And so my mission continues…

My mission in life in its purest form is to inspirePrompt to extraordinary actions – that’s the definition of inspire and that’s what I most love and value doing. In order to best inspire and serve those with whom I work and do life, I apply the following.

Inquire

Nurture

Support

Play

Imagine

Risk

Encourage

My Mission Statement

Focus like a Leader

Standard

“Effective leaders focus laser-like on the quality of instruction in their schools. They emphasize research-based strategies to improve teaching and learning and initiate discussions about instructional approaches, both in teams and with individual teachers.”

taken from The Effective Principal: Five Pivotal Practices that Shape Instructional Leadership, The Wallace Foundation

Watch and be Inspired

Standard

Yesterday, I watched the 2001 documentary The Accidental Hero: Room 408 and am still thinking about it. The success these students have with Mr. Lindsey is incredible. These kids and Mr. Lindsey have inspired me. The love, care, discipline, guidance, dedication and hard work are evident in this classroom from not only teacher to students but among the students; they study together, encourage one another and even pray together. This is an example of a true learning community in which these kids are working their way into exciting opportunities in high school then college and beyond. What a blessing to see that as of 2015 Mr. Lindsey was still teaching! I hope he still is. 🙂