Ah, back to work after a three-day weekend, feeling refreshed and energized to tackle the week ahead. I have been preparing for tomorrow’s professional development for months – I still had documents and articles on my phone that I saved in December! After attending Julia and Lisa’s presentation last week, I realized that I was not capturing the essence of teaching Collaborative Conversations in my presentation. So, I decided to re-do the entire thing. Only when I got home, the computer had not synced and the presentation disappeared. I worked since fourth period on the presentation, all the way until the end of school at 2:10, so it was quite unnerving to wonder if all the work had been lost. I made some notes on the changes I still wanted to make on a print-out of the revised presentation, and will check tomorrow. Hopefully, it works out!
One problem many coaches have shared about this position is the constant tug-of-war between being a classroom teacher and being a coach. My students are awesome this year, and out of all the absences I’ve had for official business, they have only ever received one negative report. I think they enjoy the freedom to work on their own. I am there at least a few days a week and try to communicate my love for them, explain concepts, and answer questions when I am there. So, I don’t know if they feel neglected or abandoned, but they seem to be thriving and I do not see any indication that my high absence rate is bothering them or affecting their work.
I also want to be accountable for where I am so that there are no questions about whether I am doing my job or not. Here are some of the ways I try to promote transparency:
This blog – I don’t have many “likes” on this blog (see image), but it’s here as a record of my life as a coach.
I use it to share ideas and discoveries, display various approaches I have when assisting teachers, and document my thoughts about this job. It would be nice if people followed my blog and I became famous for being so open and honest about my work, sharing my vulnerabilities and insecurities for the greater good, so others can know they are not alone…but realistically, this is mostly my record of what I do every day so that coworkers can see that I am earning my salary and I can reflect on the choices I made and work on improving my craft.
Any time I am out, I leave a sign on my door indicating where I am and when I am expected to be back.
I put a calendar on my whiteboard showing every day I will be out for the month and important events and due dates.
I also let students know that they can always reach me by email or website contact form. I even tell them that if they send me a message on Twitter, I receive the notification on my cell phone. That was big for me, almost like giving out my phone number! But I teach high school kids, so I know better than that!
Despite all of these efforts, people still question why I am gone so much or where I am. I think I have only taken 3 half-days off this school year. That means I have only been absent for 1 and a half days. I am not shirking responsibility. Each day I am out is a legitimate, excused absence. It’s not like I am trying to avoid staff/department/committee/data team meetings.
So, I shall press on, knowing that the work I am doing is benefiting society by helping teachers to lead students to success.
I had three scheduled meetings with coachees today and two had to be rescheduled. One dropped by for a few minutes and we discussed some technology issues. I am going to the Ed Tech Coordinators meeting on Thursday, so I am now prepared with many questions about our learning platforms and available programs.