The below excerpts are highlights from Iowa educator Kathy Perret's recent blog post, "A New Administrator's Journey." Once again, we are thrilled to read real-life stories that illustrate how TeachBoost supports exceptional instructional leaders. You can read Kathy's first story on working smarter (not harder) here.
On the delicate balance between meaningful feedback and micro-management:
As a new administrator, [Tara Notz of Andrew Community District] felt it important to be visible to staff and students. Her main goal was to be in classrooms often; she wanted to provide teachers with ongoing feedback and assist in their reflection process. She wanted her conversations with teachers to be specific and goal-driven.
Yet she knew there was a fine line. She didn’t want to overwhelm teachers—she wanted to build meaningful relationships with them as she developed a team approach to professional learning. Most importantly, she wanted to empower teachers be successful so that students would thrive.
On the results of leveraging TeachBoost to manage teacher observations and support instructional goals:
During the third quarter, Tara found TeachBoost, a web-based instructional leadership platform that facilitates more frequent and meaningful classroom walkthroughs. . . .The TeachBoost staff helped her upload her existing informal walkthrough form. Now, not only would the information collected continue to guide her dialogue with a more specific focus, but the TeachBoost platform would also allow her to schedule observations, get automated reminders, review data over time and across teachers, and monitor progress along the way.
By the fourth quarter, teachers were starting to embrace the feedback. They were excited to be growing as educators. One-on-one meetings with teachers generated new ideas that could be immediately implemented and observed in the classroom, as well as longer-term goals the teachers could be working toward. And because Tara had a seamless tool to record this information, the process was more about goal-setting rather than the recording mechanism. Goals were handy; goals were monitored; goals pushed teachers and students to new heights.
And here's our favorite part: "Best of all, these informal observations and feedback sessions weren’t viewed as evaluatory—they were empowering teachers, and in turn students, to be more successful."