This month, I had a chance to interview MMCI Instructor, Shawn Kaplan. In her time as an MMCI Instructor so far, she has facilitated an impressive number of teacher cohorts, impacted CLASS scores, and has some insightful reflections for new instructors. 

Tell me a little about yourself and your background in Early Childhood Education.

I have been in the ECE field for 21 years--that's a long time! My professional journey has provided me with a range of opportunities from classroom teacher up through directorship for an infant through pre-K program. The highlight of my career, by far, has been getting introduced to CLASS and using this knowledge to coach teachers in a variety of programs across California.

Tell me about your experience with MMCI and your journey in becoming a certified instructor.

As with much of life, I was in the right place at the right time and had an opportunity to attend MMCI training with Jacquelynn, from Teachstone. At the time, I wasn’t sure what I had signed up for; however, the colleague who told me about it had me at "CLASS." I didn’t even understand that the training would prepare me to become an instructor until the end of my first training day! Once I completed the training, I was more in love with CLASS than ever before. I was also at a great loss: How was I going to ever find enough teachers to train to achieve my certification? Thankfully, it all worked out, and then some.  

What are some of the challenges you faced facilitating MMCI and how did you overcome them?

My first challenge was figuring out the content, slides, and pacing of the teacher training I had to deliver. Session one went well over time and I quickly realized I needed to pick up the pacing and make detailed notes by the minute. Another challenging aspect was that I started off conducting four MMCI cohorts per week; one on Wednesday and three on Friday. This meant I had just one day in between to reflect and smooth out any bumps. Because of my schedule, I overcame these challenges through trial and error. When a session went well, I learned to repeat the same flow for the next groups later in the week. And when I had to adjust on the spot, I did! 

Can you tell me a success you have seen as a result of MMCI? A specific “ah ha” moment from a teacher?

I have seen several successes over the course of delivering ten MMCI-teacher cohorts. Here of some of my favorite responses to MMCI:

  • When teachers share comments like, "MMCI has made me think about and reflect on my own personal habits, buttons, and issues in a different way."  
  • When teachers become more aware of what has shaped their views, beliefs, and habits. This allows them to make deep, long-term changes that result in higher quality teacher-child interactions and higher job satisfaction.
  • When teachers share reflections like this one: “This was like a great therapy session that actually worked! Now I realize how I contributed to the stressful times and I don’t do that anymore.”

I am also incredibly proud to have been part of a larger project that included MMCI and has received data showing that the teachers who completed my cohorts impacted score changes, raising the bar on the national average across all CLASS domains.

What is your biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI?

My biggest takeaway from facilitating MMCI (so far) is the powerful impact you can make as a facilitator on your teachers. By engaging in parallel process and adjusting each session to meet the specific needs of your group through relatable examples--you can make a huge difference in their teaching practices and in the lives of the children in their classrooms.


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