We wrapped up the last full week of May by learning three tips for balancing your dual role as teacher and coach, a district's practiced techniques for supporting SEL, four out-of-the-ordinary PD designs, and more. Enjoy!
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Gathering Coaching Feedback
Lauren Smith reflects on three themes that have sustained her this year in her new dual role as both teacher and coach, and how they'll guide her work in the future.
"Trying to keep the delicate balance between my roles has increased the intentionality of my actions and also affirmed the importance of finding strength in unity through relationships, empathy, and collaboration. . . . As a coach, this included intentionality creating time and space to connect with colleagues—both in-person or virtually."
How One Iowa District Put SEL on Center Stage
Tina Halverson highlights a few of her district's practiced techniques for connecting and meeting the needs of all of their students while keeping their emotions front and center.
"The 3-tiered Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) methodology has been an integral instrument for promoting positive student behavior and feedback in our school for the last ten years. At the beginning of each year, we use PBIS strategies to remind students of the school's expectations. Then, at the year midpoint, it's used to provide reteaching of specific areas where necessary and students are rewarded for their performance."
Vicki Collet offers some advice for modifying the language of your recommendations during coaching conversations to enhance the outcome.
"Shifting the language and the focus of the recommendation can make it easier for a teacher to gracefully receive suggestions. To soften the language of a recommendations, avoid using the word you. Although you feels great in a celebratory statement, it can be rather finger-pointing as part of a recommendation. An easy way to avoid you when suggesting a change in practice is to put the focus on students."
Making the Most of Mistakes
Maleka Donaldson promotes three actions that ICs and school leaders can practice with teachers to reflect and learn from mistakes.
"Learners of all ages benefit greatly from trial-and-error practice. They expand their capacities and build confidence as they learn about what works and doesn't. . . . Before we can improve the approach to mistakes and feedback, we must consider the preconceived notions, habits, beliefs, and patterns of behavior that we all – school leaders, instructional coaches, and teachers – bring to the table."
3 Quick Points for Wrapping Up the Year
Nicole Turner extends some advice for planning fun yet worthwhile PLCs and meetings with teachers to close the year on a high note.
"While you are finishing up your personal goals with your teachers, you want to make sure you end the year with a final PLC meeting. This PLC meeting should focus on fun activities that you and your colleagues can do together instead of focusing so hard on the more serious business. You can do this by having the PLC focus on reflection."
PD in a (Fill in the Blank)
Stephanie Affinito explores four out-of-the-ordinary PD designs to move beyond tiresome, sit-and-get workshops.
"PD in a (fill in the blank) flips the script on professional development. Instead of sitting and getting, teachers move, grab and laugh, all while learning something new and introducing them to new ideas. Just fill in the blank with a fun method of learning, package it for busy teachers and then connect to later professional learning initiatives and classroom coaching."
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