September 2020 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

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2020-09 September Must Reads header.min

The official start of fall and the 2020-21 school year is here! 🍂 Check out the top articles from September's Weekly Coaching Roundups and learn some discussion tips to engage students, a few ways ICs can cultivate compassion, how one coach re-frames trust-building as a continuous cycle of self-reflection and reaching out, strategies for admins to increase their teachers' confidence in remote learning, and more. Enjoy!

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6 Classroom Strategies

Kara Newhouse passes along one teacher's classroom discussion tips for engaging students, both in the classroom and virtually.

"Before getting to the discussion, though, Woodard gave students time to think and write down ideas. She would set up the problem with the full group, then set her timer for two minutes. That time allowed students to develop their reasoning and helped eliminate the anxiety caused when speed is prioritized in math. It also gave Woodard insights into student thinking."

Coaching with Compassion

Megan Harding explores a few ways that coaches can cultivate compassion for themselves and those they work with.

" As instructional coaches, we have to remember that those we work with may have different values and beliefs from us. This doesn't make them wrong or right—or make us better or worse—but we must acknowledge that these different perspectives exist. . . . While I agree that skills like pausing, paraphrasing, and questioning are hugely important to coaches, I have also found another tool to help me stay focused and compassionate: I set an intention for my listening in each conversation I have."

Helping Teachers Succeed Remotely

Mellisa Roy provides four strategies that admins can use to increase their teachers' confidence in remote learning.

"The most powerful way for a person to build self-efficacy is to master a task. Create a space where teachers feel safe to take risks, but make sure to set them up for success with the right support. Research suggests that planning responsive professional learning as an effective way to support mastery experiences. Providing multiple layers of support for learning new technology would be the best place to start. Be careful to avoid overload by breaking the learning into smaller chunks and providing coaching support for teachers who are technology novices."

Building Trust: Going Inward to Go Outward

Before we can focus on relationships with others, we must first look inside ourselves. Carolyn Beardsley re-frames trust-building as a continuous cycle of self-reflection and reaching out to others.

" I go inward to see where my strengths lie and where I can grow . This process has helped me develop in a number of ways. I'm a recovering over-deliverer and I've had to learn to simplify my promises so that they are realistic and doable. . . . I am currently learning to press the brakes, be present, and open my mind up to where I listen to learn."

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Virtual Strategies for the PLC Process

Ashley Taplin walks through a virtual PLC session and provides a few questions you can use to guide the your own from afar.

"The whole time I was reading, I was focused on the screen—on my reflection—making sure the book was in the frame, ensuring that kids would be able to see the stunning illustrations as I engaged in that awkward I-think-I-need-to-go-left-but-really-I-need-to-go-right-because-the-image-is-mirrored-dance. . . . It was very strange, sitting in an empty room, reading aloud to what felt like myself. After the read aloud, I went back to gallery view so that we could talk about the book. Kids had plenty to say—they seemed engaged—but something didn’t feel quite right."

Three Ts: Toss, Tweak, and Treasure

Anabel Gonzalez asks educators to take a second to reflect on their current routines, practices, and health in order to stay positive this school year.

"Most of us could have never imagined having to teach through such challenging times. And while we may feel as if we barely have time to breathe, rethinking and prioritizing our workload will not only be good for our health, it will make us better educators, and impact our personal lives as well. Being intentional and reflective, figuring out what can be tossed or tweaked will help us to find the treasures in our practice that will restore our energy and love of teaching and learning."

Impacting Student Motivation

Steve Barkley dives into a few of Mark Gould's elements of classroom climate and teacher relationships that both encourages and supports high quality instruction.

" Conscious practice with our language can create a desired unconscious execution. Teachers promote student motivation when a meaningful rationale is provided when asking students to do something and feedback is perceived as informational, not judgmental. Specific and clear positive feedback about what was done well tends to enhance autonomous motivation."

Taking a Leave of Absence: Planned, Unplanned, and How to Return

Life happens and sometimes we need to take a step back from our professional lives to focus on our family and health. 👨‍👩‍👦 Lindsay Deacon shares a few tips for ICs who need to take a leave of absence and how to ease back into coaching on their return.

"As coaches, we are natural problem-solvers who spend our time caring for others, but we must remember that our family and health always come first. You don't have to apologize or make excuses for your new priorities in life: at the end of the day, a coach who feels prepared and centered in their own life will be positioned to set others up for success, too!"

🎉 Bonus Infographic: 4 Ways ICs Can Support Teachers and Students Virtually

Relationships between teachers and ICs have never been more pertinent as many continue to work from a distance. Amber Van Den Berg, instructional coach with Westfield Washington Schools in Indiana, relays a handful of her go-to techniques to support both students and educators in remote learning environments. 💻

Check out our (very shareable) infographic to learn four ways you can support teachers and students virtually this school year. 🙌

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