Gina has been in the field of Early Childhood for over 15 years. With a Bachelor‘s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Florida State University, the bulk of Gina’s experience has been in working with preschool age children. She was a classroom teacher, a preschool director, and later a coach for Early Childhood Educators before coming to Teachstone.
Gina enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Kayla and Lucy, going to the beach or pool, or enjoying one of the many sights in sunny south Florida. In her free time, she enjoys running. Gina has completed 12 half marathons, and eventually one day hopes to complete a full marathon.
Favorite Teacher: Ms. Oliver, Kindergarten Teacher
We recently saw a comment on the CLASS Community Facebook Group from one of our MMCI Instructors and CLASS Observers, Candice Smith, and this is what it said:
“Well, you know you are a CLASS Instructor when you find yourself in the jury room telling your fellow jurors to remain objective, opinions do not matter, and to put on your lens and focus on the evidence only.”
This month we’d like to take a minute to spotlight one of our awesome Making the Most of Classroom Interactions (MMCI) Instructors, Tonya Schadle. Tonya went through the three-day MMCI Instructor training in September 2016 and completed her certification requirements to become a certified MMCI Instructor. She is also a certified Infant CLASS Trainer. In her journey to become even more “CLASSy” than she already is, she agreed to speak to me about her work with CLASS in education.
Today, after the school day is over, you will be conducting a CLASS training (in this case, Making the Most of Classroom Interactions, or MMCI). The teachers who will attend have just spent the day with a room full of little humans that have pretty much used every ounce of energy they had. These teachers have sung songs, read stories, wiped noses, organized art activities, helped settle disputes over toys, cleaned up spilled juice, put fifteen children successfully down for naps, packed folders, and now ... sit through a training? These teachers are probably thinking: “You expect me to sit through a two-hour training on how I can be a more effective teacher? How about a nap?!"
We CLASS Specialists are always thinking about the complexity of the CLASS tool as we prepare for our trainings. As a trained CLASS observer myself, I am comfortable observing and recognizing quality interactions that fit in the tool. But I needed a strategy to convey this information to a group of teachers that may not be as familiar with the tool. As it turns out, using an analogy is a perfect way to make the complex relatable, less overwhelming, and more familiar to our participants.
I just spent the last few days, weeks, and even months preparing to deliver a new training. I read over all the material until I am confident that I have it down pat. My office walls are plastered with posters listing key points that I need to cover, and all my terminology is written out on note cards (you know the ones - domain, dimension, indicator, and behavioral marker). I’ve run through my PowerPoint presentation countless times and made sure that I was aware of time and pacing. I’ve practiced in front of a mirror, or even some willing family member that has been so kind to listen to my delivery. When I go to bed at night, thoughts of what I will say and how it will go continue to run through my head, long after the time that I should be sleeping. I just know that the time I have spent and the dedication to this work has prepared me to be an effective facilitator.
I’ve just begun my journey into the world of coaching. I am eager and excited about this opportunity to help pave the way for more effective teaching. I’ve recently been given my list of classrooms that I will be working with and I’m anxious to get started. I get ready to meet my first teacher, Ms. Linda, and I just know that she will be excited to meet me and we will form an instant bond and work together for the benefit of the children in that classroom. I will not get many opportunities to have face to face visits with Ms. Linda, so I know this first one is crucial. I walk through the door, introduce myself, and am immediately brushed off. Ms. Linda does not have time to talk to me right now, she shares that several children need her assistance, she’s got to get the morning snack ready, and her assistant is out for the day so she is flying solo. Ms. Linda does not seem as excited about this meeting as I would have hoped. She quickly shares that I’m the third coach that has been in to work with her, and although she knows that I have to do my job, she’s fine and really doesn’t see how I can help her. A CLASS Observer was in her room last week, and she just doesn’t understand what the big deal is. She’s been teaching for over 10 years and she’s tried it all. So anything I have to share with her is stuff she’s already heard.
Have you heard the news? Teachstone has just launched our newest training—Pre-K CLASS Observation Training in Spanish! We kicked off this training just this month in sunny Miami, Florida. That's right, two whole days of learning how to become a CLASS certified observer, all delivered in Spanish.