Refining Direction: Coaching Focus

It seems like last year was a professional year of updating and revision.  I spent a lot of time researching learning venues, organizing online tools, revising units and collecting resources for learning. With a give-and-take process with students, colleagues and families, I refined many of the systems and processes in my classroom to facilitate greater coaching, independent learning and differentiation.  While I will continue to prune and tend the systems, processes and toolkit, I believe a fine structure is in place for optimal learning.

At the end of the year, I set goals for further curriculum growth and new learning endeavors.  I can see ways that we can continue to push the curriculum outward into the community in meaningful, real-world ways, but for next year, I'll put those new ideas on hold and focus on the concept of Activator.

Why the change in direction?

First, in this time of endless information and possibility, there is the temptation to spread yourself too thin by getting involved in too many disparate directions.  Focus is important when it comes to a job well done.

Next, creating and implementing new learning endeavors takes many, many hours.  For example, last year I refined units utilizing inquiry based strategies.  The process of refining, implementing and communicating the change took endless hours of meetings, emails and thought.  The outcome was wonderful and worth the effort, but when you have to spend so much time to implement a new idea, it means that time for other aspects of your professional work is compromised. It's time for me to move to other areas of growth.

Also, we have three strong curriculum leaders in my system who will be leading efforts with regard to innovation this year.  These leaders care deeply about children and work tirelessly to implement thoughtful, researched, child-friendly units and practice to serve children well.  Strong leadership like this means that I can rely on their direction with regard to innovation for the system, while I focus on the microsphere: my direct work with the children in my charge.

Finally, I want to finesse areas of my work that will help me to reach more children with strength.  I want to focus on the areas of knowing my students well, providing feedback, assessing thinking, monitoring learning and supporting challenging goals. I want to give every child the opportunity to learn as much as possible in meaningful, kind, motivating and responsive ways--ways that promote life-long learning, happiness and confidence.

Hence, last year in many ways I acted as teacherpreneur researching, creating and implementing innovative unit design and process.  This year my focus will be on the coaching aspects of my job as I work with many colleagues to teach children well.

If you read my blog, you know that I travel a road of direction, revision and change--my road is not always predictable, and I don't hesitate to change directions if I believe taking a turn will better affect the work I do and life I lead.  This turn in the road feels right for me.  I'm excited about what the new year in education will bring.

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