#ISTE18 Session: Coaching Trumps PD

Monday, June 15 – Coaching Trumps PD

**Note: I don’t proofread live blogs due to the intensity of these conferences. So, apologies in advance for typos or ramblings!! Just trying to capture the learning here, people!

The session started by talking about the difference between PD and coaching. The research shows that teachers transfer much more (95% as opposed to 10%) when coaches go into classrooms and work with teachers, rather than a one-off sit-n-get.

It’s important to note that coaches are NOT doing demo lessons- it’s not time for the classroom teacher to go take a break because the coach is “entertaining the kids.” It’s important to work with teachers and ensure that they are working through the lesson with you. This will help teachers fully implement whatever it is that you are trying to implement.

“If I sit there making PowerPoints all day, my watch will get mad. Be mobile!” -Adam

Don’t assume that teachers know you aren’t evaluating them, especially if you have your laptop in your classroom. Be sure to tell them why you are there!

Need to create that cult following. Don’t start with the resisters first. Start with the cult following, and then it grows. Over time, the excitement will build and that will build the fan club. Your enthusiasm as a coach can be overwhelming- let other teachers get excited and talk about what they learn from you. That will help the excitement grow. Teachers are more likely to listen to each other rather than you. ***I need to remember this!

Teachers will see coaches as an authority figure, even though they try not to be.

Some tips to get into classrooms:

  • be forgetful- purposely leave little items behind in classrooms so they’ll ask you to come back
  • get work done in classrooms rather than in your office – tell teachers that you are bored in your office
  • take whole class selfie at the end of the lesson – bring selfie booth stuff in to take a fun selfie – take a whole bunch of pics and turn it into an animated gif. Then the kids start asking for you to come in, and they can bug the teacher to invite them in. So sneaky!
  • Obviously don’t forget to praise! Leave sticky notes, etc. Remember that even if you aren’t evaluating the teachers, they still naturally want to know what you thought. Give praise right away, even if it doesn’t have to do with tech.
  • Design your own post-its on VistaPrint (bitmoji with speech bubble)
  • Remember the schedule and know when people’s prep is so you can find teachers easily.
  • Use a form to automate feedback. You can use formulas (in Google forms) to automate emails- and you can pick whatever you want to go to the teacher and what you want to go just to yourself.
  • Adam does a standing Google Hangout for every Wednesday at 3:30, where he is always available at that time- helps him be in more places at once.
  • Add yourself as a co-teacher to their LMS (I do this on Haiku- yay).
  • Be sure to model the use of the technology. If something is a mandate, principals, other admin, etc. must be sure to use it, too. Everyone needs to be on the same page.
  • Don’t worry if you don’t have any appointments- get up and walk into classrooms! That will help build momentum and get the cult following. “Go where you’re needed first.” -Adam
  • Monday 8pm Pacific time #TOSAchat
  • Remember that walkthroughs are enough to help you get into classrooms if your time is limited.
  • Add-on to Google forms- event-o-matic (sigh)
  • Use screencasts to answer questions that people ask. You can curate your screencasts on a site or YouTube or whatever (I do this on my Instructional Tech page).
  • Making screencasts that teachers can send to students will help teachers feel more comfortable.
  • Sure, there are lots of screencasts on YouTube that you can send, but it’s much more personal to make your own. Teachers value the fact that you did it. It makes a difference to make your own (yay, this makes me feel better because I spend a LOT of time making my screencasts!).
  • Take pictures of students learning, not teachers teaching.
  • Look for ways to ditch that copier so you aren’t always dealing with copy jams, being out of toner, etc.
  • A lot of teachers don’t want you in their room because they are worried that they need to be “fixed” and you will change what they do.
  • Remember, ed tech is not one more thing on your plate. It IS the plate.
  • Coaches aren’t here to tell teachers to throw out everything they do. Even if you go in a classroom and it seems ineffective. Coaches are here to help teachers level up. What are they already doing well and how can they level up?

This session made me feel less alone, and I’m realizing that many coaches are probably going through a lot of the same things that I go through. It also made me remember that I need to be patient and go back to Jay McTigh’s advice (think big, start small, and go for the easy wins).

Thanks for a great session, Kat and Adam!

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