Although it may not feel like it, the last few weeks of the year are a great time to set goals for the following year. May is often an intense summary of the school year when we are most keenly aware of the consequences of our decisions and actions throughout the year, and with the exhaustion of fourth quarter comes the opportunity to reflect on beginning the next year better than the current year.
As I’m reflecting on my third year of EdTech Coaching, I’m encountering many questions–questions that demand an honest answer to make my reflection relevant and productive. Here are a few of the questions I am considering and the resources that are helping me evaluate my own coaching practice in the final days of this school year. I hope they are helpful during your transition between this school year and the next.
Start with the ISTE Coaching Standards.
If the Coaching Standards were your job description, how would you be evaluated at the end of this year? Where did you excel, and where do you need to spend some time building skills or knowledge? How can you better organize your time to meet these standards? What tasks can you give up or delegate that don’t meet the standards?
I encourage you to pick a standard and commit to strengthening your implementation of this standard throughout next year. Depending on your mindset, you may pick a standard where you are weak, with the goal of gaining proficiency or pick a standard where you show proficiency, with the goal of reaching excellence in that area. I chose to focus on teaching, learning, and assessment at the beginning of this year and have spent time throughout the year, along with our instructional coach, developing a system of instructional rounds that facilitate non-judgmental classroom visits across my building. The results have been encouraging and we have plans to develop the rounds further next year, giving me more opportunities to focus on this standard. Even though the process has required time and energy, I am comfortable with the required effort because it aligns with the personal goal to strengthen my implementation of this standard. This standard also guided my planning for next year as I worked with building leadership to create our professional development schedule.
Look at your mission statement
You can use either your district’s, school’s, or personal mission statement for this–or a combination of these. My building adopted a new mission statement in November, and we have been very intentional in aligning our Professional Learning Communities and Professional Development with the new mission statement as we plan for next year. If your mission statement were your compass, is it heading you in the right direction or getting you lost along the way? Do you need to revise or rewrite your mission statement to align with the role you play within your building or district? Does your mission statement align with your district’s and could a misalignment be the root cause of any conflict, frustration, or confusion?
Listen to your teachers
What are your teacher’s needs? Where have they grown and what are their next steps? What are their goals for next year? How will you help them grow to meet their own professional goals in the coming year? What is their mission statement, and how do you fit into helping them achieve this?
Take time to look at the revised ISTE Teacher Standards when they are released in June. We will focus a portion of the EdTech Coaches PLN Annual Membership Meeting (June 26, 5:30-6:45 pm) on these new standards, giving our members time to discuss our role as coaches in supporting teachers as they work towards meeting these new standards. If you are attending #ISTE17, please join us and contribute to this conversation.
Listen to your colleagues
Every coach needs a team of coaches in their cheering section. Talk to your colleagues about their successes during the year. How did they achieve this, and can you duplicate their success in your own setting? Where did they struggle and how can you learn from their challenges? How will you grow your PLN and how will you actively contribute to your PLN next year? Along with our Annual Membership Meeting at #ISTE17, the EdTech Coaches PLN will host a Networking Event June 26 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm and the EdTech Coaches Playground on June 27 from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. These events are designed to facilitate sharing and listening opportunities that will grow and strengthen personal learning networks.
Attend a conference, host an EdTech Coaches Meeting during a local conference, read blogs, participate in the EdTech Coaches Blogging Buddies, participate in a Twitter chat, post a question to the EdTech Coaches PLN Discussion Board or Google+ Group, answer a question posted to the PLN Discussion Board or Google+ Group, or post a comment on a colleague’s blog. Don’t forget that your colleagues are also listening to you–so don’t hesitate to share your successes and challenges as they learn from your experiences.
Use the summer to recharge and sharpen the saw
Make plans to begin the first day of school with enough energy and enthusiasm to share with anyone needing the encouragement to begin the year. How will you spend your time over the summer to meet your personal and professional needs that will, in turn, enable you to meet the personal and professional needs of your staff? What problems or failures will you leave with this school year and forbid from influencing next year? Take advantage of the opportunity to start fresh next August–don’t bring baggage from previous years that will destroy this fresh start and set you on a cycle of repeating the past. How will you devote your energy to tackling the challenges of the present rather than the failures of the past?
Share your thoughts
How are you reflecting on this year and what is driving your goals for next year? How do you plan to meet your goals for next year? Please share in the comments or post your own blog entries (and share with #ETCoaches through Twitter) to keep the conversation going.