Week two of the challenge shifts from thinking about the purpose of my blog to reflecting on my purpose as an EdTech Coach. You would think it wouldn’t be a problem to come up with challenges, but I became stuck sorting through various challenges as I tried to separate the urgent issues from the important issues. Before going further, I read Penny Christensen’s blog post on this topic, which helped me focus my thoughts, or at least come to the realization that I needed to separate the urgent from the important. We all face challenges throughout the day, but are we addressing those as a reactive response, or as a proactive priority? If we identify the truly important challenges, we have taken the first step to meeting them mindfully and with a plan. Anything not on the important list may present itself as an urgent challenge needing attention, but it shouldn’t consume the majority of our time and energy. As Shaina Glass said in Tuesday night’s #ETCoaches webinar, everyone else’s priority can not always be your priority. There isn’t enough time or energy to make that happen. How much time do we spend reacting to urgent problems that would have been better solved by addressing the underlying issues in a proactive manner ? I know I’m not the only EdTech coach that feels like I spent too much time addressing symptoms without focusing on the underlying causes of those symptoms.
While it may appear that I’m just rambling on in an effort to avoid defining my important challenges, I may be illustrating one of my biggest personal challenges–my tendency to over-analyze things. I admit that I’m a compulsive planner and would love to plan every detail for any given coaching session, PD event, or meeting. If you’ve been doing this for any amount of time, you are already thinking of all the variables that make that impossible–primarily the variability of adult learners and their needs. A friend recently told me that I could find the potential pitfalls and loopholes in any process or project and I really couldn’t argue with him–he had called me out leaving little room for debate. As Penny said in her blog post for this week, balance is the goal. I am still searching for the proper balance of planning and flexibility as I fine-tune my coaching practice.
My next big area of improvement is empowering teacher leaders and sharing the great things going on in classrooms. I am working with the instructional coach in my building (she is a planner too, which sometimes reinforces my own compulsion to plan) on implementing instructional rounds as part of our PLC process. We are starting small with the coaches visiting classrooms in the first phase, then in the second phase we will bring PLC leadership team members with us on the instructional rounds, and the final phase will be giving the whole faculty a chance to participate in the instructional rounds. We are hoping this promotes collaboration and supports the goals of our PLC.
As I begin my third year as a coach, I can see successes emerge from the groundwork of the past two years. I am continuing to build relationships both with staff in my building and my international PLN, and I am comfortable with how my role as an instructional technology coach fits into the structure of the building.