Laural Matthews reflects on her transition back to the classroom and the tools she uses to prepare for a year of teaching.
"At the beginning of my career, I can state that I built lessons and units first and then, hopefully, adapted the learning to the students during the lessons. As I reflect back on this approach, I should've thought about my students first, identified their barriers to learning, and used their interests to plan more effectively. After all, it's my job to understand my learners and plan accordingly. . . . We must assess, make observations, and have conversations. We cannot be too rigid in our long-range vision as our students may not achieve at the speed with which we have planned."
Ellen Eisenberghighlights how a collaborative partnership between a teacher and coach can be a cure to the teacher retention epidemic.
"Teacher retention is not just about salary; it’s about a change in culture, climate, beliefs, and practices so that teachers feel supported. All teachers need to feel valued, appreciated, understood, and recognized for the strengths they bring to the classroom. . . . Instructional coaches sustain the momentum, break down the walls of isolation, and ensure that teachers practice with each other. Make sure you lead by example, preserve ways to collaborate, foster open communication, and support teachers in implementing literacy practices across all content areas."
Kristin Houser provides a few of her favorite tips and resources when preparing for the new school year.
"Planning PD can either be a dreaded, can’t someone else do it experience, OR something you’re pumped about and looking forward to. Something I’ve found to make PD planning and facilitation more exciting, is to make it fun! And by that I mean think about how you can shake things up this year from the standard talk, read, take notes model."
Matthew Kelly shares four strategies for coaches to get teachers involved in instructional coaching at the start of the year.
"The start of the school year is a great time for coaches to begin strategizing how they can enroll teachers in instructional coaching. . . . From the beginning of the teacher-coach relationship, it’s important to make sure that the coach respects the teacher’s autonomy and fosters a dynamic where the teacher does most of the thinking and the coach provides support to reach their goals. If the teacher is treated as an equal and remains in control of what they do, then they will be more open to the process and improvement will follow."
Steve Barkley explores some positive messaging techniques for teachers to use at the start of the year to better engage their students.
"I believe that consciously deciding a desired message to communicate assists in planning 'what to do.' . . . When a teacher goes above and beyond to create excitement, fun, passion, interest, or curiosity the students get a message that the teacher believes they are special and learning with her will be engaging."