We want to give you a peek inside our Coach Microcredential Online Mentorship Program. Coaches taking part in this academic-year-long journey have graciously given us permission to post some of their learning and reflections from the private coursework they are undertaking during this microcredential. Where possible, we have shared the course and the action task to give context for the guest post.
The Topic: Coaching Foundations
The Task: Share your current thinking on the coaching cycle. Think about:
How this would fit into your current school context, and in particular your role as a coach?
What would work well? What might be challenging? What makes you say that?
What ideas do you have to bring the coaching cycle to your school community?
I like that this Coaching Cycle is simple and open. I think that it allows people to see that it isn’t about a cycle but about a relationship with a teacher and allows for the reality that that may be very different with each connection.
I think that the biggest thing that will be new to me is to get teachers to see me as a means to professional growth and not a person who ‘teaches skills’ to their students. It is a different mindset for a teacher and one that many are not open to. Many feel that they do not have the ‘skills’ or ability to gain the skills to teach technology to their students. This is where I can spend a significant amount of energy and effort is helping teachers to understand that they do have the skills and knowledge to get started and that in general technology isn’t about a teacher knowing “everything” about a tool, but the teacher knowing enough to communicate expectations and the letting students learn as they go.
Many teachers are afraid of technology because there is “so much to learn”. They forget that many of the tools use the same skills. For example, inserting an image, you may not know how to insert an image into a specific app or platform but that fact that you know that it is possible means that you have the skill level to explore the app/platform until you figure it out. I also think that much of this comes from teachers being around technology in it’s younger years where it was easier to “break” your computer by doing something. Tech was not so easily reset and rebooted. This keeps them in the mindset of “better not to touch” where their students are in the mindset of “huh, I wonder what this button does?” So teachers, in general, can be hesitant to explore tech on their own to see if they actually can accomplish a task without a step by step guide.
Getting teachers to move from “Tech people come in and teach my kids things” to the Tech coaches teach me so that I can work with my students is going to be a challenge for the above reasons but also for the “You mean there is yet another thing that I am responsible for teaching my students?” mindset. Thankfully I work with elementary teachers who are sort of used to teaching “everything” so they can roll with the punches on this. But I have heard from middle school tech coaches who struggle to get subject specific teachers to jump on board with teaching tech skills since that isn’t their ‘subject’ area.
Another issue that plays into my specific situation is that teams at my school co-plan so there is sort of a mindset that we have to do this as a team, which isn’t always the best way to have a coaching conversation. This is something that I know in the back of my head I may have to manage but isn’t directly on my radar yet!
Read more from The Coach participants as they share their learning from the microcredential program …
Jo’s post: The Coach Approach
Amy’s post: What is the Value of a PLN as a Coach?
Meg’s post: Gaining Skills and Self Confidence in Coaching
Tianna’s post: Increasing My Coaching Skills
Whitney’s post: Developing a Culture of Coaching by Defining My Role