...another gift of time with students - time to help them maximize their potential in every single way we can.
And this year, everything has changed for me.
I have been given the greatest job in the world! I will be a literacy coach on the district level this year! And while I will miss beyond words the day to day work I have been doing with students and teachers in one building, my eyes are wide with excitement at the thought of working with lots of students and more teachers in many buildings across our county.
One of the charges of my new position, and something that I have embraced throughout my career, is providing professional development for teachers. And, of course, as you know by now, my passion is elementary writing. This summer I have already done one PD session for a group of amazing teachers. I am gearing up for two more sessions week after next. Coincidentally, my new supervisor handed me a book on coaching this past week, Instructional Coaching, A Partnership Approach to Improving Instruction, by Jim Knight. I have just begun reading this book, but it already resonates with my own beliefs...
...and has nudged to the forefront of my professional reflection one critical question -
Does one stop professional development work?
I struggle with this question because that is, in fact, what I have been and will be doing. And I am way too invested in building capacity in teachers of elementary writing to be okay with the idea that my sessions are possibly minimally useful in terms of helping them build best practices in their classrooms. As a new instructional coach I want to be available beyond one 4-hour PD session. I want to support the implementation. I want to be side-by-side during the teaching. I want the teachers to feel a coaching presence as they take risks in their writing practice with students.
Building our students' writing confidence, helping them discover their voices, giving them authentic opportunities to craft stories, articles, poems, essays, research papers, etc. in every content area is too important to not do right.
So, one thing I am thinking about is adding a Google Classroom piece to my sessions. That way, we could stay connected throughout the school year. Teachers might have questions for me or each other that could be shared electronically. Perhaps we might even set up additional face-to-face meetings across the year for those who want to share artifacts or stories of challenges and successes. I will be working on this idea this week.
One of the battle cries of the new school year in my county is that we need to write our own story. I. Love. This.
We all walk in this world together, but we don't always see the story the same way. So we need to tell our stories to each other. To make clear the good work that we are doing with students. It may not always be easy or pretty. But honest reflection with ourselves and with each other always helps. And we need to provide every student in every classroom the same opportunity to tell their story to the world.
As I walk this new walk of being a literacy coach, I will share my story with you. On the brink of this new year, I simply can't wait to shout from the rooftops that...
Have a great writing week!