Inspire with Passion

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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

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Trust the Process

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Photo Credit: flickr

It’s been a while since I’ve posted but with good reason. I started a new job July 31st and have been very busy. I am now serving as the instructional coach at Washington Co. High School and I absolutely love it! 🙂

I can’t express enough thanks to all of my family and friends who have faithfully encouraged and blessed me during the process of getting here. And most of all I thank You, Lord Jesus, for teaching me who You are and for loving me in the most amazing ways as I stumbled and doubted You.

As I continue to learn new things, meet great new people and serve the wonderful staff and students at WCHS, I am amazed at how life works out. Here are some things for me to remember…

Never count yourself out. You are strong and capable.

You have family and friends you can count on – let them help you.

Continually surrender it all to the Lord and He will guide you.

NEVER lose hope!

Always believe the best is yet to come.

Focus like a Leader

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“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

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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. 🙂

Tell the Story

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While most Americans celebrated Independence Day today, I spent the day finishing Cole Knaflic’s book Storytelling with Data. I’m sure that spending my day like this today makes me the queen of all nerds. 

I’ve never been a numbers person, but I got involved with strategic planning several years ago at work and added data analysis to my professional growth plan, which has taken up residence there. Do you ever really get to a point of taking data analysis off of your growth plan? Maybe for some, but I’m sure it will always be an area of growth for me. Both professionally and personally, data analysis will always be one of my growth areas that will require focus and dedicated time spent learning how to better collect, analyze and share data in a narrative that invokes action. 

What drew me to Knaflic’s book was this video. In the video clip, she speaks to the need for creative and artistic data visuals that help you tell the story you’ve discovered in your data.

Leverage design to indicate to your audience how to use and interact with your visualizations.

As I read the book, the importance of pretty and functional visuals was not lost on me. I’ve seen some graphs and visuals that did nothing to help me understand the purpose for which they were intended; a lot of bars, lines and dots colorfully displayed but devoid of a conclusion that I should reach. 

If there’s a conclusion you want your audience to reach, state it in words.

By keeping it simple, highlighting what the audience needs to see and framing the data in a story that the audience can emotionally connect to, you help the audience understand the importance of what you’ve discovered in your data analysis. 

In conclusion, if you bother to take the time to collect and analyze your data don’t lose sight of the most important part – design visually appealing data communications that pinpoint a call to action for your audience. 

If you know any data visualization experts who might have time to mentor or coach me as I practice what I’ve learned, leave me a comment or send a private message via email. melsuzfer@icloud.com