People talk. They gossip. They gripe about their colleagues. As a coach, I feel like I hear it all. To be successful, though, I can’t participate, no matter how tempting. It isn’t because I don’t enjoy gossip. And certainly, it isn’t because I have no […]
Remember your college days, where you were assigned to a group of peers who did not always have your work ethic or attention to detail? Did you carry that group to an “A” or mourn when they brought your grade down? The outcomes were important […]
It’s September and whether you’re starting school after Labor Day or you’ve been in school for a month, there’s no wrong time for helping your teachers take care of themselves. Use this printable to build relationships with your teachers.
To download this in a PDF, please click here.
Moving to a web-based assessment platform can be daunting. The hype is real. Here are twelve reasons it is totally worth it (and a couple of reasons to be cautious). Collaboration- It is possible to collaborate with teachers from all over the world with a web-based […]
Core competencies in business are typically “soft skills.” Core competencies in academics have potential too. This year, I have the opportunity to facilitate curriculum writing through the lens of core competencies. I define core competencies as the 10-15 essential skills a student can expect to […]
Learning your teachers you coach is hard work. What do you need to know? What do you want to know? How can you establish a positive, productive working relationship? Where is the balance between coach and friendship? Coaching is inherently relational. Taking the time to learn the teachers, just as you might your students, is an important component of effective coaching.
As the new year starts, working with a new group of teachers can be challenging. There are a number of things I find helpful to learn about my teachers.
- Personality-Whether it is True Colors, Strength Finders, or any other personality “test,” these exercises can be really revealing and helpful. Both the results and the way teachers approach and respond to the results provide valuable information.
- Processing style-Observing how each teacher processes information is incredibly important. Some teachers think out loud, others need time to contemplate information. Certain teachers are linear, while others have thought patterns that resemble a bird’s nest. Some teachers prefer to write before speaking. Paying attention to how teachers process can increase your effectiveness as you adjust your coaching moves to the style of each teacher.
- Learning style-Teachers learn in different ways, just as students do. Do first, see first, read first? What works for each teacher as a learner? Not only does this help the coach support teacher learning, it helps the coach fully grasp why each teacher makes certain instructional choices.
- Communication style-Are you working with any teachers who are conflict-averse? Who goes along to get along? Are you working with teachers who are natural contrarians? Who loves to debate? Are some teachers naturally blunt, introspective and reserved, outgoing and social? Communication style is like learning style-identifying how your teachers communicate can help you both understand certain instructional choices and increase your effectiveness. If you are working with PLCs, learning your teachers can also help you facilitate and mediate group meetings.
- Love language-What makes your teachers feel appreciated? This one is easy to overlook; however, it can be the key to establishing positive, productive relationships. Who needs words of affirmation? Maybe that teacher isn’t ‘needy;’ maybe she needs words to feel validated, not just reassured. Who appreciates acts of service? The teacher who melts when you make his copies probably isn’t totally overwhelmed–he just takes your help as a sign of genuine caring. Who gains strength from simple touch? That teacher who feels supported by a shoulder squeeze isn’t more or less difficult to coach-just different. Who responds best to your undivided attention? A teacher who appreciates your extended observation isn’t being selfish-she feels cared about when you gift her your time. Love languages are not a typical teacher kind of tool. On the other hand, when teachers feel that you care and appreciate them, they are likely to be more receptive to your coaching.
- Professional boundaries-Which teachers keep their personal lives strictly private? Who hosts their teacher friends for regular social gatherings? Do some teachers have few friends outside their teaching circle? Are some teachers reluctant to socialize with those they see as “administration?” Learning how teachers view the line between professional and personal relationships can help you avoid potentially awkward situations. It can also increase your awareness of perceived bias. Some teachers will see bias towards teachers with whom you socialize more even if they desire no such relationship. Some teachers will see bias against teachers as a group if you elect not to join in social activities. As a coach, you can plan to negotiate the social balance more effectively when you recognize how your teachers view professional boundaries.
I create a spreadsheet (that I absolutely keep 100% private) where I can note these things about each teacher. Doing so improves my individual coaching. It also helps me design professional development and group activities that meet the needs of all my teachers.
Learning your teachers can be time-consuming, but it is worth the effort. Even the lens of learning your teachers can help you start the year in a positive way. In the long run, learning your teachers, in whatever ways work for you, will pay dividends later.
Harvard’s Project Implicit is an on-going research project collecting data on implicit bias through a series of online quizzes. Anyone can anonymously attempt as many quizzes, on as many topics, as many times as desired. Demographic data is optional and results are provided with explanations […]
It is vitally important to have systems to manage coaching tasks effectively. Every coach needs systems to give teachers feedback. Without systems in place, coaches can easily become overwhelmed by other tasks and lose track of observations, feedback, and coaching conversations. Coaches also need tools […]
Tracking professional development can be a huge headache. It doesn’t have to be. A simple add-in for Google Forms can save hours of work. It is called Certify’em.
Other bloggers such as Alice Keeler and Free Technology for Teachers have written about this awesome little add-on. If you are looking for detailed instructions on how to use Certify’em, I’d recommend you read their posts. It is quite simple, but my purpose isn’t to create a tutorial.
This post is about how I am using Certify’em to track professional development hours for my teachers.
There are two amazing aspects to how I can use this add-on. First, I am able to acquire a database of recorded hours with minimal effort. Second, teachers automatically receive a certificate for the hours they complete.
The first step is to make a Form. I named it “PD tracking form” in my Drive. It has just 8 questions:
- Hours Completed
- How would you rate today’s PD overall?
- What did you learn today?
- What questions or needs do you have at this time?
- What could be improved in the future?
- Who is wearing blue?
I set it to automatically collect email addresses as well. I set it as a Quiz and I select one question (such as location or overall rating for the day) and make it multiple choice. Next, I set the point value to one and designate all the answers as correct. Finally, I turn on Certify’em and make sure the settings are correct.
The last question ensures teachers are in attendance and paying attention. Can they still cheat the system? Of course, they can. But really, who will? Most teachers will just be grateful their exit survey is so short!
At the end of each PD session, I assign this form to teachers through Google Classroom. I change the title to reflect the topic of the session so it will appear appropriately on the certificate. I ask teachers to complete this form.
A certificate is emailed to teachers as soon as they submit their Form. Google, of course, records who has completed the Form in Google Classroom. It also produces a spreadsheet of responses and responses can be viewed in the Form itself. In addition, Certify’em creates a spreadsheet in my Drive that holds only certificate related information.
Voila! I now have a three-fold method of tracking PD hours. And I have provided teachers with a certificate to use as documentation of completed professional development. Even better, I consistently have some simple, usable and descriptive feedback to develop future sessions.
It took a couple of tries to get everything working correctly, so don’t be surprised if you need to experiment a bit.
Now that it is working, it is an incredible time saver. No more time-consuming certificate creating for me. No longer will I have to calculate total PD hours for each teacher.
My teachers appreciate the immediate feedback and I appreciate the minimal effort.
Finding meaningful team building activities can be a challenge. Recently, I crafted an introductory team activity I want to share. When I planned this activity, I was hopeful it would work well. It surpassed my expectations. I call this activity “Creating Collective Commitments.” I did […]