Monday, April 25, 2011

The End of an Era (This may be too sentimental for some people.)

Today I presented what is probably my last inservice presentation as an Instructional Coach. I am really going to miss this particular duty. I know... I'm an education nerd but I just can't help it!

I have always felt fortunate that the people that make up the staff at my school are very patient and supportive. I try to engage the staff with useful and timely information, humor, interesting activities or media but these people have also sat patiently through some less than perfect sessions, technical difficulties and an assortment of other misadventures. Sometimes the speakers aren't working well and they must lean in and listen intently to the soft sounds coming from my computer. My bright ideas don't always work out exactly the way I had planned but they display flexibility and understanding and it works out. Inservice and PD days are never long enough for what I'd like to get accomplished. What I have to present isn't always what teachers want to hear but they laugh at my jokes, ask honest questions, speak their mind without attacking and take it all seriously. (Well, as seriously as they should.)

Researching, connecting, preparing, PowerPointing, creating, introducing, instructing, discussing, questioning, directing, facilitating, wrapping it up - I love it all.

It's a really good thing that I don't have to give up any of those favorite things.

Next year... I will be in a different setting. My students will be younger. The topics will be from a different point of view.

Next year... I will be able to research the best teaching strategies and interesting content to use with my own students, make connections from learning to my students' lives, prepare engaging lessons, choose just the right technology, create a successful learning environment, introduce my students to new concepts, teach them how to learn, lead them into discussions so they can learn from each other, invite them to question, direct their activities, facilitate opportunities for my students to feel successful, and wrap it all in a love of learning.

Next year... I will rejoin the ranks of the hardest working people I know. And... I'll continue to teach.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

20th or 21st Century Educator?

I read over my list of things I didn't have last time I had my own classroom today and realized that most of them are technology based. I didn't have a lot of technology in my last classroom. Over a decade ago, I had one computer for 26 students and a teacher. Even though technology is important and necessary for teaching in today's schools, there is much more to being a 21st century teacher than bringing out a piece of technology and then trying to "work it into" my lesson.

I will soon have a chance to step into the many roles of the 21st Century educator. It won't be easy. I expect to have times when I fall back into traditional methods but I will try to stay in the correct century and engage my students in a way that will help them learn best.

Technology provides many of the tools but teachers provide the opportunities to learn and apply 21st century skills. The diagram below will be my map for the next year.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Teaching Timeline

1978-1979 - Kindergarten at a pre-school
1979-1980 - Kindergarten as a long term sub
1980-1985 - First Grade full time
1985-1993 - Second Grade full time
1993-2000 - Second Grade job share
2000-2002 - Reading Resource Teacher and Core Knowledge Grant Manager
2002-2004 - Instructional Coach for two schools
2005-2011 - Instructional Coach based in one building
2011-            - Back to the classroom - Second Grade

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Change in the Wind

For the past 10 years I have served my school district as a building-based Instructional Coach. During that time, I planned and hosted professional development and inservice training for the staff at the schools in which I was based. My job also included time for coaching teachers in teaching strategies, providing resources, facilitating book studies and guiding teachers in conversations about pedagogy and data.

Last Friday we got word that the coaching program will be cut significantly because of a budget crisis. There will be fewer coaches which means traveling between buildings and less time to build relationships with teachers. In the shadow of these looming changes I have made the decision to return to the classroom next year.

This blog will chronicle my journey.