Wednesday, October 2, 2013

the reflection

I am 11 weeks into my my new role as instructional coach.  Because it is Fall Intersession, I have a quiet moment, though just a moment, to reflect on this journey.  

Like the first year of teaching, I have daily aha moments that humble me.  Some days I go out with guns blazing and other days I stumble over what to tackle next.  I will preface my words by saying that I absolutely do not regret my decision to take this position.  

My reflection is clustered around several key areas.  

Common Core & PARCC
Welcome to the new buzz in education.  The NCLB era has been left behind--(nice little pun for my fellow teachers reading this).  Teachers and administrators alike are anxiously awaiting any information and direction on implementation.  The problem is that the information is not coming.   Per usual educational mandates, the implementation begins on the east coast years ahead of the rest of the country and trickles to the west coast over a span of years.  Arizona is catching wind of Common Core and PARCC this year.  Right wing groups have harshly spoken out against CCSS and legislation is listening.  Arizona just renamed the standards, "Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards".  At this point we do not even know if Arizona will adopt PARCC for the assessment piece of CCSS.  This debacle is a worry, concern, and stress for educators.  It is for me too.  We all just want to be ready for implementation.  For the record, I fully support the CCSS.  Tea Party and Right wingers that have spoken out against the standards are misguided in the purpose.  Unless you are speaking from an educational background, I do not know how informed your opinion is.  Could anything be worse to the mile wide inch deep approach the NCLB era took?  I think not.  

Classroom Observations
This is a tough one for me.  I am in classrooms all day.  Sometimes it is for several minutes, which is more of a walk through, and other times I stay for an entire instructional period.  I am charged with providing meaningful feedback to the teacher about his/her practice and also to observe and record teacher and student behaviors that promote or demote student achievement.  In many ways I consider this the most crucial part of my role.  I feel that experience will give me more confidence and knowledge as to best support teachers. 

new haircut / new scarf for work
Oh data.  If I had a dollar for how many times I say the word data in one work day, I would not be working.  Interpreting, analyzing, sustaining, informing, and recognizing data is an around the clock job.  

Oh assessments.  It takes a close second to data.  Much of my role is driven by summative, formative, and benchmark results.  Facilitating, supporting, leading, and modeling these pieces is a huge part of my day to day. 

I have quickly learned that my every move either negatively or positively impacts my ability to support my teachers.  I have learned to just stay away from places like the teacher's lounge and negative classrooms.  Every word and action I take must be considered before it happens.  It is all about building rapport, respect, and trust with teachers. 

I have done a decent job of balancing all of my responsibilities   I don't feel spread thin despite the many demands I have.  Just like little Callum, I live and die by having a daily routine.  I know that early early AM is running time.  I also know that several nights a week are spent doing homework.  I also know that spare moments are given to Callum and Jason.  It works.  It is tough, but it works. 


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