Imagine this scenario: As a coach, you walk into a classroom to conduct an informal CLASS observation followed by a coaching conversation. During this conversation you might ask the teacher to share some of the highlights of her week and challenges that she has been facing. You also plan to share what you observed during your time in the classroom, some areas of strength that you noted, and opportunities for growth. You have grand plans of how this visit will go.
Just when things are getting started and the ball is rolling, you suddenly realize that the entire morning has flown by. It’s just about time for you to leave and head to your next classroom visit. You know that you won’t be back in to work with this teacher for at least another week, or possibly two, and you hope that you can pick up right where you left off. You assure her that you will bring in some extra resources on concept development during your next visit, something that she shared has been challenging for her, and set a date and time for the next conversation. Then you’re on your way.
How much of what I just described sounds familiar to you? I'll be the first to admit, that as an instructional coach, I had the responsibility of supporting and coaching teachers in 21 classrooms. And some of those classrooms had multiple teachers. Think about the amount of time in your day. How much actual face to face time are you getting with each teacher over the course a week, a month, or even a year? Probably not as much as you had hoped.
I used to say to myself, “if only there was a way for me to continue these coaching conversations with my teachers in between each face to face visit, I could get so much more accomplished.” Well, you’re in luck, because there is a way, and it's called Coaching with myTeachstone.
Coaching with myTeachstone, or Cwmy/TS, is an interactive, on-line coaching program. As a coach, it will extend your access to professional development resources and increase opportunities for communication between you and your teachers, and among groups of teachers. It will also help you keep track of how your teachers are doing in order to help you individualize learning opportunities to best support their growth and development.
As a coach, the most impactful way to implement professional development is to use individual teacher data to drive the PD plan. Teachstone offers a 2-day training in which coaches are trained on navigating and using the data and resources available on myTeachstone. You will also learn how to coach effectively online by engaging in both individualized and group learning conversations. myTeachstone is not just about recommending content to teachers, but about facilitating their learning through discussion.
I think you will find that having myTeachstone available to you and your teachers will open up a world of opportunities. Gone are the days when you can only communicate with your teachers once every two or three weeks. With Coaching with myTeachstone, you can continue your coaching conversations, individualize professional development for your teachers, and recommend resources that are relevant to them throughout the year. And you can do it from anywhere—your office, your home, or even laying in bed in the evenings. OK, I know, maybe that is taking it a bit too far, but imagine the possibilities.
For more information on starting your Coaching with myTeachstone journey, please call us at 877-401-8007 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
Every state, every district, every school, every teacher faced decisions that they had never anticipated in the last academic year. As the end of the 2020-2021 school year approaches, it’s time to reflect on those decisions, learn from others, and prepare for the fall ahead.
This past year of hybrid and virtual learning due to the pandemic highlighted the gaps in learning and the inequities that we already knew existed. It is apparent, now more than ever, that there needs to be a narrow focus on bridging the divides (e.g., digital) that exist and meeting students where they are in order to promote growth and put less emphasis on standardized testing. This would allow teachers to concentrate on curriculum with greater impact, differentiate their instruction, and utilize effective strategies that they know make a difference for children’s outcomes.