In 2010, Emily joined Teachstone as an office assistant; over the years, she has worn many hats, including managing the affiliate trainer program, writing content aimed at improving child outcomes, and serving as a product manager while building myTeachstone. In her current role as Strategic Community Manager, Emily loves putting her creative problem-solving skills to work as she grows and facilitates the CLASS Community. A true people-person, she loves interacting with educators and finding out what makes them tick.
Favorite Teacher: Mr. Nye, 5th–12th grade (Drama Club)
Imagine you’re a cook in a restaurant. It’s what you do every day, you are passionate about it, and consider yourself pretty darn good at it. One evening, the owner of the restaurant decides he is going to attend a meal “as a guest” and is served one of your featured dishes: chicken pot pie. You emerge from the kitchen, excited to find out what he thinks, and his response: “Taste this. What would you do differently next time?”
CLASS observer drift is a simple concept. It is a term we use to describe what happens when an observer becomes less reliable. The more an observer drifts, the less likely the CLASS data he or she collects will be valid.
It’s hard to deny that the CLASS Observation Training is effective in its primary goal: developing reliable CLASS Observers. Our impressive pass rates are proof of this. However, there is a lot more to conducting CLASS observations than just “being reliable” (AKA choosing valid scores). Field assessors must also learn the observation protocol that is outlined in Chapter 2 of the CLASS Manual. The manual provides guidance on field protocol; however, it is often up to organizations to develop their own standards for data collection.
Think about the biggest challenge you’re facing in your role today.Perhaps it’s handling teacher turnover, managing your time while coaching over large geographic regions, or dealing with the disappointment of not seeing the results you thought you might see when you implemented that new PD program.
A couple weeks ago, a friend shared this short video below from The Atlantic with me. Turns out, this video was everything I love about good media: it was concise, included simple takeaways, and gave me something to think about (long after the video ended).
If you’re a Teachstone blog-reader, you may have noticed that we focus on being “strengths-based” instructional coaching all the time. But sometimes it’s equally healthy to reflect on the stuff that didn’t go so well so we can avoid it next time. (By the way, if you’re looking for something purely strengths-based, Gina Gates recently wrote this fantastic post for the myTeachstone blog on ways to support resistant teachers using an online platform.)
This post is about what not to do. These are the seven deadly sins of taking teacher learning online:
You’re a CLASS observer. You arrive to a classroom to conduct an observation but you quickly realize that there are multiple absent children. You wonder: What’s the minimum number of children that need to be present in order for this data to be valid?
Have you ever meditated? One of the most challenging aspects of this practice is clearing your mind from day-to-day thoughts that pop into your head. If you meditate, you know that trying to push those thoughts away doesn’t work—in order to free your mind you must first acknowledge those distracting thoughts before you can return to your “moment of zen.”
Imagine sitting down beside a music student as he practices a new song. As a mentor, your role is to provide feedback to the student on how well he’s interpreted the piece, translated the notations into an audible melody, and literally used his fingers to create music as dictated by the sheet music.
Now consider this: How successful would you be as a mentor if you did not know how to read music?
As I sat in on an Infant Train-the-Trainer session, participants reflected on their previous experiences with CLASS: learning about it, using it to observe classrooms, supporting teachers, and training others to observe. One participant spoke up:
“CLASS is a measure you have to get wrong to get right.”