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Kim Cofino

Sep 20, 2018

The Coach

Coach. Better: Going Deeper with Coaches Featuring Tanya LeClair

In this episode we chat with Tanya LeClair, Elementary Innovation Coach at the American International School of Guangzhou. Tanya talks about the importance of being a great collaborator in her role as a coach and shares her insight on advocating for teachers and building a coaching culture with her admin.

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Featured Guest:

Tanya LeClair

Host:

Kim Cofino

Clint Hamada

  1. Building Rapport in your teaching community, what are your routines (walking the hall, eating lunch in the staff room) “The Coaching Bank” – how do you make connections with colleagues on a professional level, not just a personal one

  • I eat lunch with fellow teachers and try to find time during the day to chat or connect

  • International educators have a relationship mirroring college in a way so closeness is par for the course

  • I often try to pop into classrooms, but don’t get to as much as I’d like

  • Organize the Twitter chat #PubPD

 

  1. Building a Culture of Coaching: Where/How do you start? Being an advocate for the importance of your role

  • Beginning of the year speaking to teachers in meetings about my role. Defining role of a coach vs. role of IT dept

  • Attending kickoffs for UOI – relating my suggestions to learning goals. Starting with the WHY.

  • Weekly bytes emails to teachers featuring how-tos and resources

  • Innovation goals for ISTE Standards for Educators

  • Being a salesperson

  • I’m not pushing my agenda but their agenda/the schools agenda

 

  1. Staying motivated as a coach when you’re “the only one” who cares about tech rich learning

  • My PLN keeps me highly motivated – Twitter is a huge help for me

  • Attending conferences/running conferences

  • Getting in the classroom to model lessons or co-teach

  • Finding ways to make PD awesome and engaging

 

  1. The challenge of being “understood” as a coach – teachers don’t know what you do / think you just have free time

  • Making my schedule public

  • Sharing through tweets and weekly bytes

  • Attending planning meetings

  • Being transparent

 

  1. The many hats of coaching: coach, consultant, co-teacher, etc

  • I love the many hats – keeps it interesting

  • Sales person

  • Learner

  • Collaborator

  • Professional resource

  • consultant

  • cheerleader – giving them opportunities in pd etc

  • FAIL – first attempt in learning

  1. What does data look like from coaching? What are you using to help motivate teachers to make improvements/changes? Assessing tech & tech integration, how do you give it value (teacher evaluation, teacher growth): “More Than Ticking the Box”

  • Finding ways to celebrate what they are doing – even if it’s small

  • No data (except anecdotal) changes in the culture of innovation in the school

  • Self-evaluation – collaborative Padlet and other platforms

  • Displaying what’s going on in classrooms as much as I can

  • OneNote NoteBook/Padlet – innovation goals ISTE

  • TTT (teachers teaching teachers) PD opportunities

  • Polarity mapping in PD and comparing results at the end of the year with regards to the ISTE Standards for Educators

  • Regular meetings to talk about growth and next steps

 

  1. What are ways that you make yourself invaluable as a coach? What are the things that teachers love that you do?

  • I give chocolate and other treats

  • I keep up on trends in educational technology and innovative initiatives. I make sure I am always learning so I can be valuable when approached. I pilot things with teachers so we can troubleshoot and solve problems fast.

  • Established myself as a problem solver

  • I am approachable and try to make it fun

  • Always bringing in the WHY – relating it to curriculum

  • I provide opportunity for them to build themselves up

  • I work my butt off to make their dreams come true – seesaw, padlet, flipgrid, apps, resources – I push agendas in meaningful ways!

  • I work myself into what they are doing

  • I offer PD’s based on surveys, questions, observations

 

  1. Where do coaches fail? And what can we do about it?

  • Only helping techy keeners – It’s good to spend a lot of time to do great things with a few tech savvy, but also ensuring that you make time (even if it’s much less) for others so are not so eager, or don’t know what they don’t know. Finding some balance is good.

  • Not actively listening in meetings

  • Not following up – setting steps/goals (calls to action)

  • Taking things personally

  • Not being proactive – with freedom (great power) comes great responsibility

  • Not empowering teachers – being the only expert

 

  1. Tips for getting started as a coach in a new school

  • Find out how they communicate – In person is great, but is there a digital backchannel (ie. Slack) or usual way to reach staff that works for everyone?

  • Explain how you can be “booked” and how people can find you (over and over again)

  • Be visible – run PD’s, attend meetings etc

  • Make sure to communicate that you are not just IT – know your purpose and communicate it to others

  • Not relating what they do to learning objectives

 

  1. What’s one resource you would recommend and why was it impactful for your practice?

  • Twitter is a huge resource for me. I am always finding ideas, sharing, and gaining insight from the educators I follow.

  • Certificate programs that have helped me grow in my practice – COETAIL, Harvard Grad school

 

Useful tools:

 

  • For coaching – ways of curating – how do you keep and develop ideas? How do you organize what you want to share. Being a smart consumer

  • Mailchimp – making communications attractive and something people want to read rather than just another boring email

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