On August 1 I joined Teachstone as Chief Impact Officer. If my name sounds familiar, it may be because I am one of the authors of the CLASS and a co-founder, with Bob Pianta, of Teachstone. For the last 20 years, I’ve spent my days researching ways teachers can best support children’s and adolescents’ development and learning. I’ve conducted many studies, written many papers, and trained doctoral and post-doctoral candidates who have gone on to do even more and better work in this area. Most of those 20 years I’ve worked at the University of Virginia’s Center for the Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL) and have had the privilege of working with incredible colleagues at UVA and elsewhere. Honestly, it’s a dream job: getting paid to think, write, and travel to talk about our work and find inspiration in the ideas of others. So, not surprisingly, when I tell people about my new job, I get a lot of quizzical looks.
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 professional development program.
We remember when we first learned about CLASS (it was a long time ago!). It was EXCITING! Interactions are at the core of every moment of the classroom day. And CLASS seemed to draw out everything that we knew would lead to engaged learners and long-term success for children. We wanted to shout CLASS from the rooftops!
Facilitating a brand new training can come with a mix of emotions like anxiety, nerves, and excitement. I recently experienced every one of those emotions and then some as I prepared to deliver a new training. I wanted to ensure that I learned the new content to fidelity, so I spent hours reviewing and studying. I viewed the training videos. I prepared some awesome reflective questions to ask my participants. I brainstormed activities to engage the group, and I rehearsed my PowerPoint slides. My facilitator binder and manuals have never seen so many highlighter marks!
With preparation complete, it was go-time! I put on my “CLASSes” and knew that if I focused on the importance of interactions, it would all come together. And it did.
This weekend the city that Teachstone calls home was taken over by hatred. Some of us witnessed the violence first hand. Others watched from afar through social media and television willing that our friends and coworkers would be safe.
Have you been noticing, in many of our recent blog posts, how the authors have been referring to themselves as CLASS Specialists? And have you been furthering wondering why your favorite CLASS Staff trainer, or your equally favorite Professional Development Specialist have both been referring to themselves as CLASS Specialists? Wait, what? What happened?