The Coaching Chronicles: Small Victories, Big Impact

Wednesday, November 30, 20165:45 PM

A few weeks ago, I published The Coaching Chronicles: Breaking Down Walls, the first in an intended series. It’s gotten a great response and led to an #EdcampNJ session on coaching, along with plenty of future blog posts. This afternoon, I received a great surprise, and learned that the first Coaching Chronicles post won an Editor’s Choice Content Award from ASCD SmartBrief. You can learn more about SmartBrief and the other winners this year at SmartBrief Honors Education Bloggers.

Thanks to SmartBrief and to all of my readers for reading, commenting, and sharing. I look forward to continuing to share and learn with you.

It’s great timing, too, since I had planned on a second Coaching Chronicles post this week. November’s Tech Tuesday drop-in professional learning took place yesterday. Last time, I wrote about the struggle in getting attendance for this kind of optional time. This week, there were three participants. Only three. And it was wonderful.

Small Victories, Big Impact

I would love the day when there are dozens of educators in and out of Tech Tuesday, but as a classroom teacher I know how busy we are. I know that it’s hard to find the time to drop in when there’s always grading, planning, and so much more to do. And it all matters.

So with a positive attitude and lots of hope, I opened the office door to wait for the drop ins. And over the course of the day, three teachers came in. Only three. Over the course of eight periods, we only worked with three teachers.

But we worked together for almost three hours. That’s around four class periods. One teacher stayed for a half an hour to learn about Pear Deck. Two more spent time designing lessons with Pear Deck and Scrible. Those two both came back for a second period. All three asked follow up questions and wanted more coaching help.

Sure, we only worked with three teachers, but all three left with new ideas, technology skills, and a strong pedagogy to implement the tools in their classroom. We focused the time on integrating technology to support learning objectives; to promoting active student engagement; and for more meaningful formative assessment. I’m proud of the work I’ve done as a coach, but too little of it involves actual coaching. But this work really did--this was the coaching that I’ve hoped for.

Make Every Interaction Count

Did I only work with three teachers? Or did I have the opportunity to dig deep into working with three teachers? Imagine the disappointment in my tone for the first question and the accomplishment of the second.

To help make things count moving forward, we’ve decided to focus most of our opt-in professional learning, like Tech Tuesdays, on purposeful use of our two new tech tools: Pear Deck and Scrible. The goal is to help build capacity in their use to promote active learning, engagement, and meaningful data.

We will keep the momentum growing, but I’m happy to count the work with these teachers as a success.

Towards Teaching Tech Tuesday

In two weeks, we will return to the Teaching Teach Tuesday described in the first post. My hope is to be able to encourage other teachers to open their doors, so that educators can experience technology used effectively across subject areas. Instead of being the model classroom and coach, I want to help build capacity for technology leadership and growth everywhere.

How do you make the most of your time working with teachers and students? Share your tips, feedback, and experiences in the comments or on Twitter @MrSchoenbart.

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