Reflections on #r10idcc
I have a slight obsession with Amazon. I’ve made purchases after waking up in the middle of the night in response to a dream. I can tell you the date my Prime subscription expires without looking. I even have a few packages from this summer that I haven’t opened yet. When I first became interested in instructional coaching about a year ago, I immediately went to Amazon and searched: INSTRUCTIONAL COACHING. This week, I was lucky to hear in-person and ask a question to the author of the first search result (and my first of many coaching book purchases): Dr. Jim Knight at the Region 10 Instructional & Digital Coaching Conference (#r10idcc).
I’ve attended many conferences in my professional life, and I ask myself two things at their conclusion: 1. Did anything change my perspective or mindset? and 2. Am I walking away with something I can do immediately to improve myself and/or my work with others? I said yes to both on the long drive home. Here’s how:
1. Did anything change my perspective or mindset?
What’s truly my approach?
One of the first things Dr. Knight talked about was knowing your approach to coaching. I’d say I’ve been intentional about knowing the type of coach I want to be. However, that may be different from what I am in reality. What do the results of my coaching and the relationships I’ve developed say about the type of coach I am? Another speaker remarked that you know you’re being an effective coach when teachers are leaving school neither loving or hating you. Instead, they’re fully empowered by your partnership with them. That’s the type of coach I want to be.
Observing vs. Showing Reality
Another huge light bulb for me was Knight’s list of ways to assess what he calls teachers’ current reality. He ranked four methods from most effective to least. Observation data, which I’ve come to use the most, was at the bottom. He believes merely observing teachers, and leaving feedback or conferencing with them afterwards, places “the coach in the big seat and the teacher in the small seat.” Using observation data removes the opportunity for teachers to think and solve problems for themselves. I’m unsure of how exactly I will approach this going forward, but I’ll be definitely moving towards a video + reflection approach.
Finally, this quote was quite profound in regards to school culture:
2. Am I walking away with something I can do immediately to improve myself and/or my work with others?
Developing my own instructional playlist
I’m unsure of whether I should do this for myself, as a team with other instructional coaches at my school, or both. However, this will be so helpful in my work with teachers. We were recently introduced to Lead4ward, which has their own Instructional Strategies Playlist that is quite extensive and great. However, I feel developing our own could better cater to our teachers and even highlight what they’re already doing. This could be combined with an idea I had of creating a Google Site that highlights our teachers’ best instructional practices with video (+ aligning with T-Tess dimensions). This would be really useful for not only new teachers, but all.
Becoming more familiar with new accountability standards
I attended a session that presented an overview of the new Index Accountability System. I initially thought this would be a boring session, but I couldn’t be more wrong. The new standards really stress the importance of making sure ALL students are reached, and it’s important for us to be proactive to make sure practices from district level to teacher classrooms are allowing such.
If you caught a scorned look on my face at all on the first day of the conference, it was because I was extremely jealous of attendees with nice iPads that somehow churned out amazing drawings that were both packed with information and extremely pleasant to look at. At the end of day one, I was on my 3rd Google Docs page of notes. I don’t see myself going back in December and opening the doc to reflect. However if I had a nice sketchnote, I definitely would. Therefore after a midnight Amazon purchase of a Sketchnoting book and some really helpful tweets with resources (see below), I will begin learning how to do so immediately. It would be so cool if there was a district hashtag that chronicled cool sketchnotes from people in the district, so we can share out our learning and professional growth. Find more resources here: