Long before my time developing online professional development for teachers, in my first year of teaching middle school, I received a gift I would never get again. My principal gave me one day and three rules:
After working with a substitute to get my class rolling, I spent the rest of that day observing veteran teachers. Much of what I learned helped me improve the way I taught in the coming weeks. But the gift was much more than a chance to make these small changes. The real gift was an expanded sense of possibility and new energy to improve.
I saw my future self in veteran teachers. And because I was not the only young teacher observing from class to class, I saw that my team was on a journey to improve their interactions along with me. The three simple rules were both motivation to improve and a method to do so.
But these rules are hard to follow. We break them even as we try to improve, not because we lack determination, but because they are in many ways unrealistic. Still, they’re rules we should abide by, and online PD can help us follow through even when we don’t have a sub in our room.
I spent years breaking these rules. We all do. And while that doesn’t mean we aren’t improving, it might mean that we aren’t improving as much as we’d like to. Online PD is built to help us follow these rules and get better every day. So next time you have a few precious minutes, wherever you are, take a break from work and step into another teacher’s classroom.
Teachers everywhere have yet another new challenge—supporting students and their families from home. We know that high-quality interactions, including interesting, hands-on experiences that are facilitated and supported with feedback, scaffolding, and higher-order thinking questions, best support young students' learning. So how do you help your students' caregivers offer the same high-quality interactions while at home? Well, Rachel Giannini has some super fun ideas to share! The following are ideas she shared during her session at our recent InterAct CLASS Summit.
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.