We're all on the Same Team: A Librarian's Perspective with Danny Glasner
This week we’re talking to Danny Glasner, K12 Teacher-Librarian at UWC Thailand in Phuket.
Bonus: Watch the video of this episode on YouTube!
Over the course of his career, Danny has been a classroom teacher, librarian, and a coach, so draws from lots of different experiences in our conversation about librarians and coaches today! He highlights the importance of collaborative relationships in making coaching most effective and points out some really interesting similarities and differences between being a librarian and a coach.
What do you think coaches do? (Coaches React)
Anyone who doesn’t have a teaching load is there to support teaching and learning, students parents teachers, leadership.
How do you work with the coaches at your school?
Culture matters a lot – they are middle leadership positions. The culture impacts how you can work with others.
Flexible schedule allows him to work with others, staffing at current school means that people wear multiple hats. Often working with other teachers who “moonlight” as coaches, to support them like creating a makerspace area in the library. Even splits budget.
What are some good opportunities for coaches to work with you?
Coaches that work the best are the ones that realize librarians and coaches have a lot in common, overlap in digital citizenship, digital literacy, information literacy. Agree to work together, collaborate and present together, let’s you divide and be in two places at the same.
What do you do when you don’t have the opportunity to work with a coach?
Even in schools that have coaching, there can be structures in place that make it difficult to collaborate with coaches. In those situations, it’s possible to fall back on previous experience. If you don’t have the skills you need a personal learning network to help you fill in those missing pieces.
What are the essential elements for coaching success in a school? What’s needed to build a coaching culture?
All about relationships, building rapport – from students, teachers, parents, office staff, leadership. If you want to help someone you need to know them, they need to trust you, they need to believe you’re there to add value. Understand who they are and where they’re at, so you can treat them as the individual they are. Infrastructure of the school makes a huge difference, welcoming nature of leadership, invitation to planning meetings. Big difference between coaches and librarians, is librarians have a physical space (home), the library. Having leadership that understands and empowers the collaboration.
Where do coaches / does coaching fail? And what can we do about it?
When coaches don’t seek to understand before being understood. Pushing and shoving without listening to what teachers/students need.
What makes a coach invaluable to you?
As a librarian, he’s a “fun collector” wants to have access to lots of resources that will support and drive learning. Being able to help mine the internet for all the great things that are available and be early adopters and try things out so we can share them out.
What was your “aha” moment that shifted your perspective from not caring about coaching to being on board?
Spending time in grade level meetings helped him understand the power and purpose of coaching.
In schools where there isn’t a big coaching culture it’s because “butts in seats” is the driver and coaching doesn’t do that – it builds community and relationships.
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