My first days as an instructional coach have mostly involved helping out with new and returning teacher orientation. I have already learned a lot, including just how complicated it is to set up and implement teacher orientation activities at the beginning of the school year. It is truly humbling to finally see this process from the other side. I wonder how we might all benefit from a greater awareness of the work and thought that goes into this process every year.

Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 1.59.30 PMI have decided to keep track of whom I help, when I help, and how I help individual teachers using a simple Google form (image, right) and its corresponding spreadsheet. Thus, even if I’m in a hurry and too busy during the week I can eventually look back at it, reflect upon my work, and blog about it. In Brian and Cory‘s blended learning session we were encouraged to “be more dog,” but I’m also going to attempt to “be more blog.” More blogging is something I have said I want to do, and I know many other educators say the same. Maybe this will finally be the way that I preserve accurate memories to do so on the weekend when I have more “free time.”


Science teachers discussed the finer points of their courses’ curricula with me, and they have made some decisions regarding the placement of certain Next Generation Science Standards to better accommodate vertical alignment within the science program. I have served as both an ear and an additional opinion on these matters. As former science department head, I am a logical choice for help and guidance with these decisions.

Character education teachers sought my guidance for the promotion of student engagement in their course, and I offered my passion project resources. When it came to questions about the finer points of the character education curriculum I felt out of my league and I was grateful that my colleagues, Melanie and Andrea, were there with us. I had no idea that there were four temperaments, let alone how one might use backward design to achieve student knowledge and understanding of them!

The bulk of the remainder of my face time with individual teachers was spent helping them to import their class rosters within Haiku Learning. There is a video to help with this process, but sometimes you just need someone to remind you where to click a few times and then you are set. I was astounded at how much extra work is involved if a teacher teaches several middle school quarter courses, and importing rosters into Haiku Learning is just the tip of this iceberg!

With only a little over a week under my belt as an instructional coach, and in the absence of students, I have already gained a greater awareness of the diversity of roles of my fellow educators. This knowledge is not easily gained by one classroom teacher about another, especially not if they are in separate hallways and/or separate departments. If we can grow awareness we can grow empathy, and empathy is essential for any group of people working together toward a common goal. I will continue to contemplate this connection going forward and I can’t wait to see what Week 1 and the arrival students holds for us!