Recently, we spoke with Jane Franco, a Provider Specialist with the Sunshine Stars, a QRIS in Florida. Jane is a certified MMCI Instructor, with both toddler and Pre-K CLASS observer certifications under her belt. She currently coaches about 15 teachers through the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties; she is also facilitating two unique MMCI cohorts. Our interview is below!
Tell me a little about yourself and your background in Early Childhood.
I have been working specifically in the Early Childhood Education field for the past seven years. I assisted in starting up a preschool at the Charter School I had been working at for thirteen years and served in a director/supervisor role for just over five years. Over a year ago, I was contacted about an amazing opportunity to work with teachers in the preschool setting as a coach for a new Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS) for Pasco and Hernando Counties in Florida (Sunshine Stars). I love going into the different schools and working with and encouraging teachers to be the best they can be for themselves and their students.
Tell me about your experience with MMCI and your journey in becoming certified.
My supervisor asked if I would be interested in training to deliver MMCI teacher training. I had been certified as a CLASS Observer for Toddler and Preschool, and was excited to gain a deeper understanding of each Domain and the Dimensions within. I was asked to take the training, along with our Coalition’s official trainer, Dawn. We work well together and both have a passion for the importance of being all in as a teacher, so we know how important this interaction piece of the teaching puzzle is. We are currently teaching two MMCI cohorts simultaneously as Provisional Instructors, and hope to become official instructors by April.
What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating MMCI and how did you overcome them?
My biggest challenge is getting some of the teachers to buy in to the importance of not only learning what the interactions are all about, but the importance of actually implementing what they learn into their classroom. Teachers come for the training after a long day at work, so I am always trying to think of ways to make them part of the training and keep them engaged. I have also visited their classrooms and have made it a point to praise them when I see them being intentional with different dimensions. The visits have definitely helped me with feedback and to form relationships with the teachers.
Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of MMCI? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?
Recently I coached one of the teachers participating in my MMCI class. I did two cycles of the CLASS Assessment for her to reflect on. I felt like a proud mom while assessing her because she had implemented so many intentional interactions. From her clear expectations, to quick transitions—she was a well-oiled machine! I have seen tremendous growth!
What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI?
My biggest takeaway is how much better I see classrooms functioning and how the quality is raised when teachers who have participated in MMCI are mindful and intentional with their interactions. As a Provider Specialist working mostly in the area of coaching; I, too, have a much better understanding of the dimensions and am better able to support the teachers I work with.
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.
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