Listen to Episode 22
In this episode we’re chatting with Lissa, Geoff, Tanya and Diana from the #isedcoach slowchat team!
Bonus: Watch the video of this episode on YouTube!
We talked about everything from the different types of coaching roles we all have in our schools, to the power of social media for professional growth. Learning more about how this team works together to bring you a monthly slowchat on Twitter gives us some great insight into the value of connected learning. Hosting the slowchat is a testament to importance of sharing as an opportunity for professional growth. After you listen to the podcast, join the #isedcoach slow chat to learn even more from these superstars!
You As Coaches: What’s your role in your school? What does it look like? What does it mean to you?
AISG: Diana: Secondary, supporting teaching and learning in the classroom & leading PD
Geoff: KL: 450 students, works across the school from early years to DP. In addition to coaching, teaching grade 6 maths this year, and manages IT team. Lots of PD, light coaching, after school programs. A little bit of everything. Role is all about supporting the teachers, making life easier and gentle prodding for how they can push a little bit further.
Lissa: AISK: In 6 years shifted from tech coaches to instructional coaches, focus was on building a culture of coaching across the school. Pre-K-12. Focus was tech integration and improve student learning.
AISG: Tanya: No day looks the same. Main goal is building capacity in teachers so that learning can trickle down to the students. PD, preparing videos for teachers, building resources.
The value of K-12 connections as a coach: it’s a powerful aspect of the role to have a broader perspective of teaching and learning across the school.
How do you learn as coaches?
Tanya: Twitter and podcasts: walking to school is a great opportunity to learn when I probably wouldn’t learn otherwise.
Geoff: personal relationships, attending events (like L2 in Nanjing) that provide time to collaborate and workshop ideas among the presenters, and then debriefing the feedback immediately. This collaborative environment is something he wants to bring back to his school.
Diana: taking advantage of social media, more and more connecting with online connections in person at events. Working with coaches through Eduro. When you teach, you learn. Working with other educators who are already coaches, or learning to be a coach, helps me learn.
Lissa: More formal learning opportunities, including the Coaching From Theory to Practice course from Eduro, and the in-person Cognitive Coaching course, as well as courses led by Christina Botbyl for NSRF Critical Friends Group.
What do you use for professional growth? What else besides Twitter? How do you improve your skills? What resources and opportunities did you use and take advantage of?
Tanya: Diana is a great resource, her session at L2 was fantastic and she has a great website full of resources relevant for coaches
Geoff: Listening and empathy are so important. Building trust, spending time and effort to build trust. Starting at a new school try not to change things immediately, understand the culture first.
Kim: looking to more formalized structures and frameworks for more established coaching models. Having to structure and organize those resources while designing online courses about coaching for Eduro has been a great way to build my professional capacity.
Diana: looking to instructional coaching references like Jim Knight, Elena Aguilar.
Clint: looking at coaching as a larger team of people: librarian, EAL, instructional coaches. There are more coaches than we realize in our schools, bring everyone together under an umbrella of coaching.
What has been challenging for you in your roles? What are your areas for growth? How do you identify what is an area for growth for you?
Geoff: making use of data that has been collected. Documentation and writing policies. Planning, building a scope and sequence – need to put my head down
Tanya: started collecting data using a simple form, name of teacher, kind of help they received (kick off meetings for UoI, full hour PD, in-class modeling, co-teaching, 5 min check-in, tech support), time spent. She fills it out informally on her phone. Easy to see who has been getting more time (or less time), and the kinds of things she spends her time doing.
Lissa: Shifted to a new role as EAL teacher and is now getting to be the coachee instead of the coach
Diana: Being in a new school, transitioning back to Secondary from the last 5 years in Elementary, in a re-building role.
Building the Slow Chat: How did you all come together to form the #isedcoach slowchat?
Organic growth about a year and a half ago. Hashtag started at an L2 cohort. Came out of a conversation with some coaches in 2015. Thomas Hammerlund and Victor Boulanger were participants in Diana’s cohort of the Eduro Learning course Coaching: From Theory to Practice in 2015. Diana happened to be in Taiwan and met up with Thomas and Victor in Kaoshung. L2 was the following week in Manila, and the hashtag started. It didn’t have huge momentum, but about a year and a half ago, it started rolling with Nici Foote, Tim Bray and Lissa. First formal chat was March 2017.
How does facilitating this chat support your learning? Has it built your personal learning network?
You learn by actually doing – by being a student again. Thinking about how you would ask specific questions as a teacher. Being able to connect with others before the monthly chat: using shared documents, backchannel chat. It’s not possible to have this opportunity in my office on my own. Creating the questions gets you to be more thoughtful about your own practice. It’s fun to think about things in different ways. There’s a void in finding support as coaches, particularly because coaches are often the only ones in their school. Provides a platform for a lot of coaches who don’t have access to the same support that we do. Very active hashtag!
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