Timing is Everything

When the content, context, and process of professional learning intersect at just the right moment for the learners, magic happens.

I had such a great day today, and I wanted to share.

I was in Crowley ISD (TX), engaging my first day of observations with some of the candidates for Dell EMC Certification for Instructional Mentors. As part of that coaching experience, I had the chance to work with two of the teachers I worked with last year, but in a completely new capacity in their development as site-based mentors.

Last year, I really tried and tried to push them in their practice toward a more student-centered approach to learning. While had good conversations, there wasn’t what you might call wholesale shift in practice. They would agree with me on my observations and recommendations, and they took the next steps to try things with their students if I would instigate them. But as far as long-term change, we still had some work to do.

Today, we worked together in a completely new capacity: in their role as mentors with other teachers looking to take strides in their own practice. We observed two classrooms together at a different campus, using the Teaching Innovation Progression (TIP) chart to debrief what we observed. All was good in that experience, as we had quite a few takeaways and they had ideas for next steps.

I then asked if they would be willing to role play the debrief conversation as if it were with the teachers we had just observed. That simulation quickly turned into one of the best coaching conversations I’ve had the privilege of witnessing! Their work together quickly shifted from the role playing situation into a real coaching session, and it was extremely powerful.

Evidently, one of the teachers had recently attended a two-week PD course at a local university and is implementing an inquiry-based math course for students that will receive a college credit. She shared that the university course has been a challenge because it’s a new way of teaching. It’s…student centered! She’s really enjoying the course but struggling with her new role within the classroom.

Her younger colleague had some really good ideas for helping this teacher. She led her colleague through a great coaching conversation that left them both very charged and excited about working together in the future. They’re going to try co-teaching at least one but possibly several inquiry-based lessons next spring. One of the teachers noted that while her colleague had really enjoyed the two-week seminar with the local university, the Dell Certification work we did last year had really prepared her for the idea of providing more student-centered instruction. It was so cool!

Magic like that doesn’t happen every day. When it does, we need to share it.

Back to Top