Thursday, August 18, 2011

Where to Begin?

As I begin my role as strategist a "shift" has taken place.  I am choosing not to use the word change, as to me it has developed a negative reputation.  My role has become that of an instructional coach, or as Jim Knight referred to it as an instructional collaborator.

Upon learning of my role shift in June, I began to form questions, collect resources, and reach out to as many people as I could. I have even made the time to join in a fantastic Twitter chat #educoach on Wednesday nights at 9pm central time (shameless plug) Throughout this fantastic process I have discovered a few things about being an instructional coach and am working hard to create a reputation for the position and debunk some myths along the way.

Some of the things that I have found valuable so far in my new journey have been:
  • It takes a supportive principal with a clear, aligned vision to make this possible
  • Building trusting relationships is vital and takes time
  • Communication is needed to form, maintain, and sustain relationships
  • Confidentiality is critical for this to be effective
  • Feedback is crucial during the process
  • Deep reflection can happen if you take the time and allow it to.
  • One size doesn't fit all
  • Building upon strengths is a great way to begin
  • Anticipating is important to any interaction, especially if there is a belief that there may be resistance.
  • Listen, listen, listen!
  • Having a clear goal for the interaction or collaboration is key to remaining focused
  • I am not a "fixer" I am a partner
I realize this is not the end of the list, it is only the beginning in a journey that I believe I have been waiting a long time to take.  I couldn't be more excited or more proud of where I am starting.  The time is right.  We have a hungry staff, ready to jump on board.  They see this as an opportunity to deepen their capacity in an area they choose, as long as it is student achievement and learning focused.  I believe they see this as an opportunity to explore and receive professional learning differentiated for them, that their current structure is not able to provide.  I am thrilled to be part of that process!

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