“Wait, teacher-centered tip of the week?” You might be thinking. “Aren’t we all learners, Courtney? Teachers included?”
Yes, we are. It is just that this week’s post is really more about you, the teacher, rather than about the classroom or learner-centered practices in general. Also, I wanted to see if changing the title would get new views. Did it work? Great!
Let’s talk about how you can use me. My whole purpose, my reason for existence as the k-12 instructional coach, is to support you. I realize that many people are still wondering what that means. We can get into specifics when we talk together, but here are some general ways to think about working with me.
I’m An Action Step. You know how when you are writing your goals, and they have to be SMART? Or maybe you are asked what strategies you will use to meet your goal? Courtney equals Action. Exactly what that action is can depend on a variety of things, but think:
I’m An Interpreter. I can be a bit geekish about all this teaching and learning stuff. Sometimes it is cumbersome to relate the theory-talk to actual classroom practice. Call me in. Let’s crosswalk some Marzano and Calkins, or 7 Habits, or PBL.
I’m A Mirror. It is my job to reflect back to you what I am seeing. The mirror metaphor is great, actually. When you look in the mirror, you are typically looking for something specific. Does this scarf work with my boots? Is my prill cream keeping my cowlick tamed? Do I have any toothpaste on my shirt? Likewise, having something specific for me to reflect back to you about will make the whole process more productive. It could be as simple as how you move around the room to something as complex as launching a service learning project.
I’m A Curator. I spend a large amount of my time listening to you about what you think is working well, what’s you think is next, and what you would like to change. Then I go to work putting together experiences that match what I am hearing. A particular group of teachers may have an interest in something, and I work with them to make it happen. A school may have some ideas about topics to explore or talk about, and I work with them to make it happen. While planning and supporting learning experiences that meet your interests I am also working to make sure those experiences meet the goals of the school and district.
All of my work with you is non-evaluative. I am not an evaluator, and I am not really interested in evaluating you. I’m interested in working with all of you to be the best we can be.
However you think about working with me, the most important thought is that my work really is about you. Some people have an easier time focusing on themselves, and are already jumping to get in touch with me. If you are not, don’t worry. I can support you in focusing on yourself too.
Courtney is the Instructional Coach for KIDS RSU #2 in Maine. She also hosts a podcast about personalized learning, and is available for independent consulting work.
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