I take my hat off to Todd Williamson and Kelly Hines. They each have taken the time to list on their blogs the five things they would do if they were brave. I started to think about my job as an instructional coach. What would I do differently if I were truly brave?
1. Summer Book Study.
I love to read! I know there has to be other teachers and instructional coaches out there that would be interested in learning a new learning strategy during our summer vacation. If I were brave, I would set up a fabulous book study where we could meet either online or on my deck throughout the summer.
2. Individualized Meetings with Downtown
In our district, I report as an instructional coach to my principal first. I am fortunate, as I highly respect and enjoy working with him. I also kind of report to administrators in the Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Office. After two years as working as an instructional coach, I still get a little nervous when I speak to them. Because of this, I sometimes wonder if they really know me, my strengths, what I do as I coach… If I were brave, I would suggest that instructional coaches would get a chance to meet with the CI&A department every once in a while in a smaller settting–so everyone could get to know each other a little better.
3. Find an online community
If I were brave, I would fight to ensure the instructional coaches developed a social network, such as a Ning, to facilate communication and collaboration between us all.
Many teachers have tried to go paperless this year, myself included. While I wasn’t completely successful, I will say that I reduced the amount of paper I used in my classroom by well over 90%. I had originally planned to challenge our new technology committee to reduce their paper use by 50 percent. If I were brave, I would ask the entire school, not just the committee of 8.
5. Accept My Mistakes
When I started coaching, I was so worried about being perfect. I had this vision that a great instructional coach had unparalleled wisdom on matters of content knowledge, pedagogy, learning theory, technology–you name it. That wasn’t me. If I were brave, and I think I am on this one, I will acknowledge that I will make mistakes, and to know it is ok. Thanks to Heather Radar for her great blog post on Learning from Coaching Mistakes.
How will you be brave?