In March of this year, I know great timing!, I started a micro-credential called The Coach from Eduro Learning. My main reason for picking this course to get coaching training was because I was very much interested in people who had a similar background to mine being my mentors. For me this was very important because of the nature of my job and the way coaching fits into it.
One of the big things that has come to the front of my mind while doing this course as well as getting our coaching team at school fully set up at school is how different tech coaching is. For one thing you have to get past the “Oh, can I just ask you a quick question about email or my board or my laptop” questions out of the way 90% of the time you talk to a teacher before you can even get into the conversations about practice and learning. This is not generally something that a Literacy or Math Coach will encounter. You might say well that isn’t your job, but the reality is that if a teacher is bogged down by the tech or a tech issue they will not get past that to talk to you about other things. Also there is nothing worse for relationship building than telling a teacher “that’s not my job” when they know that you can help them in 2 min fix something. I have no issue letting them know that I don’t know how to fix something or that the tech team needs to fix it because they are better at fixing those things but if it is something simple and fixable by me it is hard to say “sorry that isn’t why I am here today.” That being said, solving minor tech issues has done a lot to actually build and create relationships with teachers that do lead to coaching conversations.
Most of my coaching sessions up until this point have not really included a good post conference meeting I am realizing as well. This means that the teacher does not get the change to reflect on the process they took and think about next steps in a way that may lead to even more growth. This is definitely something I need to work on trying to include more.
Another thing that I have noticed recently and reflected on is how teachers deal with tech issues in the classroom, live. I have seen teachers who just shut down and stop the tech, I have seen teachers who call for help and ask me to come in, and I have seen teachers who have sorted the problem on their own. I think that this is an area of tech coaching that I should consider looking into more. How can I support teachers so that when they do run into issues they trust themselves to solve it. I think I don’t help myself much here in the eyes of some teachers because these sorts of things have never really flustered or bothered me so even if a pretty major issue comes up in a tech related lesson (like the time the power went out 3 mins before my first ever Kinder tech lesson and stayed out the entire lesson!), I personally just roll with the punches and my seem to others like it doesn’t bother me at all. In reality it does frustrate me but I try not to let it derail learning happening in the class. I might not get to the exact type of learning that I was hoping for that day but learning will be happening somehow! So how can I get teachers to identify how they feel when tech goes wrong and then plan for solutions that they can have ready, just in case, so that they don’t feel like they are floundering when tech issues pop up?
Part of the course this month had us stop and reflect on where we are now. As part of this I recorded myself answering a few questions about the program. Here is my recording.