014 (2017-18) Where have I been?

It has been a very long time since I last wrote a blog post.  Day 44 of last year!  I’m so embarrassed it has been that long.  But since there’s nothing I can do about it – I’m just going to move on.

A lot has changed this year.  For one, I’m now an instructional coach while still teaching 2 classes – Pre-Algebra and Geometry.  When I learned of the position, the only thing that enticed me to the position was still being able to stay in the classroom.  I love teaching.  I love designing lessons and seeing how they may or may not work with my students.  But I very much enjoy working with other teachers too – so this is a perfect position for me.  Over time I hope to discuss the challenges of teaching while coaching but for now – I’m so happy I get to do both.

Here’s a brief overview of the last 13 days.

  • I have an office AND a classroom and had to MOVE again out of my previous classroom.  In the last 4 years I’ve been in this school district, I have moved 3 times.  All my choice.  I’m absolutely insane.  I’m so over the moving classrooms novelty.
  • I started out my year with a lot of Sara Vanderwerf‘s activities.  I particularly loved doing the name tents.  I used the 5 questions from George Couros.  I learned so much about my students.  One of the most tragic is that many of my students do not know what their strengths are (school aside).  One of my goals this year will be to help them discover their strengths.  The students enjoyed the 100 Numbers activity a lot, and I loved seeing how well they worked together in teams.  This has definitely transferred into other activities as well.  I see their heads together a lot trying to solve problems.  Very promising for this year.
  • Because I’m an instructional coach in the same building where I’ve been for the last 3 years, teachers appear to be comfortable asking me questions.  I’ve been somewhat bombarded (in the best of ways) ever since we’ve been back.  Mainly technology questions but most all related to pedagogy.  There’s definitely some of “how do I get my calendar on my webpage or how do I set up my gradebook” – but there’s also “how do I set up musical cues to help with my classroom structures?”  I’m also getting questions on how to restructure a class to increase student engagement – bazinga – how exciting is that?  I will skip meetings to help a teacher tackle that question.  (If any admins are reading, don’t worry – I’m not going to skip meetings)
  • I’m being challenged by my Pre-Algebra class.  This is a class that I took on to help alleviate the number crunch – what is has become is not at all what I thought it would be.  Traditionally I’ve been the teacher people go to when an extension is needed.  I can challenge the best of them to think deeper and solve problems.  Teaching students how to add/subtract/multiply/divide integers with conceptual understanding is NOT my strong suit.  Patience isn’t either – but I’ve got a #growthmindset – so I’m learning.
  • My Geometry class is amazing.  I love it.  I can’t even begin to describe how much I love it.  They’re engaged and working hard.  I’ve designed the class so I give very little direct instruction.  This will be a true workshop model classroom.  I’ve rotated through groups, used my collaboration station (large screen TV that I attach to my computer and use at my back table with smaller groups), and responded to formative assessments according to need.  I have a really good feeling about this class.

I’m going to try and blog more often this year.  I need to reflect and share.  Actually I want to reflect and share – I just so happen to need it too.

 

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