Restart Recharge Podcast

016 - Coaching Cycles Part 2: Impactful Coaching Conversations

September 21, 2021 Forward Edge
Restart Recharge Podcast
016 - Coaching Cycles Part 2: Impactful Coaching Conversations
Show Notes Transcript

Listeners will walk away from this episode with a clearer vision on valuable coaching conversations and having a meaningful reflection in goal setting with educators to ensure that coaching cycles achieve deep impact for student learning.

Links mentioned in the show:


Google's Certified Coach Curriculum

Follow Tyler on Twitter

Follow Annamarie on Twitter


Podcast Team

Hosts- Katie  Ritter & Justin Thomas

Editing Team- Megan Whitacre, Mallory Kessen, Michael Roush, Mark Gumm,

Social Media/ Promo Team- Annamarie Rinehart, Lisa Kuhn, Molly Lutts, Maggie Harris

Creative/Content Team- Brooke Conklin, Emily Cowan, Tracee Keough

Producers- Tyler Erwin & Katie Ritter

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Coach Mentorship Program
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Unknown:

hit the restart button to recharge those batteries

Katie Ritter:

Aloha everyone, I am Katie Ritter

Justin Thomas:

and I am Justin Thomas. And this is the restart recharge podcast, a podcast for coaches by coaches. We bring you the tips and tricks to help you in your everyday work as an instructional technology coach or whatever they call you in your school district.

Katie Ritter:

So hopefully you're going to leave this episode with us today feeling just a little bit less on your own coaching Island

Justin Thomas:

and today we are continuing on with our coaching Cycle series. We are in part two today. And we're hoping that what you will walk away from this episode is a clearer vision on valuable coaching conversations and having meaningful reflection in goal setting with educators to ensure that coaching cycles achieve deep impact for student learning. We're basically talking about coaching conversations today. And we have two awesome coaches here with us. I will first introduce Anne Marie Reinhart and Anna Marie taught as an intervention specialist for five years she worked with students in grades one through 373 and 10. She also taught all four content areas and worked with a wide variety of learners. Annamaria is now a instructional design coach in a pre K through eight building and one of our largest school districts in the state. She also was placed in the school after the building was awarded a grant for a one to one iPad program for the fifth through seventh eighth grade students. And now she is with the entire building is one to one and she is in support of all staff members including paraprofessionals classroom teachers, administration, social workers, custodians related service providers, just everyone within the school district. She's there supporting them. And as always the students in the building as well. So please introduce and welcome Emery Reinhardt like a drum roll

Annamarie Rinehart:

Should we do the applause?

Katie Ritter:

Oh, hands off the sound effects Katie. Okay. And then I have the pleasure of reintroducing you to Tyler Irwin. He was most recently with us at our last episode, he's going to be with us for all four parts of our coaching Cycle series here. But Tyler Irwin is our Assistant Director of Curriculum and technology integration here at forward edge. He has six years of classroom teaching experience, including four years as a seventh grade language arts teacher at a local middle school. Currently, he serves as a Google Certified Trainer and mentor coach. He has four years of experience as an instructional coach for multiple school districts in the Cincinnati area. And he works with the entire forward edge team to ensure high quality technology integration across your partner districts. And what's not included on his bio here is that he is my right hand savior. So welcome back, Tyler.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, good to be back, everybody. I felt like I also wanted a drum roll for mine. So Justin, if you provide that. But no good to be back for sure.

Katie Ritter:

I think I think you need the jazz music.

Tyler Erwin:

And it's ready, we can play it whenever you want. So

Annamarie Rinehart:

I'm just dying to hit one of those buttons. All right, everybody. So

Katie Ritter:

part one if you if you didn't have a chance to tune in two weeks ago, but even if you did, it's a crazy time of year. So we're gonna reorient you here with what we're talking about. Part one of our four part coaching Cycle series, here we discuss setting up your coaching cycles, all the way from getting the admin support, first and foremost, to going through and recruiting teachers to laying out the structure of what the coaching cycle looks like everything kind of pre implementation of the coaching cycles. So now that you've got them, you've got them in your mitts, that makes it sound kind of bad, but you've got them and you're ready to start having those one on one conversations with teachers. That's where we're kind of kicking off with this episode. So to both of you, what have you learned really over the past two to three years that has made the largest impact on the conversations that you're able to have with teachers to drive growth?

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so I'll start with this one. We thought about this a while and we were going over the questions earlier. But I feel like for me, one of the biggest things that I had to let go of was always being ready with a reply or an answer. So yes, you want to feel like you're bringing a value add you want to feel like you are an expert in what you do. But you want to keep the teacher at the focus of the conversation. And you kind of want to like lead them to some of the answers that they'll discover on their own, or even some questions that they want, they might want to explore further. So that was one thing you know, we're always ready at As teachers, we like to feel like we know what we're talking about. But it's good to like, let go of that a little bit. And let the teacher kind of lead and guide the journey as you're doing it with them. I would say one other thing is, this was mentioned at the very end of our previous podcast, but just having that level of empathy. So no matter what stage of the game the teacher is, in, that you're working with, being ready to just be open minded to what they're going to say what vulnerabilities they're going to share with you. Even when you start diving into some of the lesson planning and working with them in a coaching cycle, just being empathetic to the challenges and the problems that they're facing. Because for many of us, yes, we were in the classroom at one point in time, but we might, it might be a while ago. So we've maybe lost touch a little bit on what it's like to be a teacher currently, right now, with all the realities of COVID, and all the different things that are kind of coming back. It seems like the hunt people again this year, which is craziness, but I think that's the biggest thing, just being empathetic, being open minded, and letting the teacher guide the conversation so that they feel like they're in control of where the coaching cycle goes.

Annamarie Rinehart:

Yeah, and I can add to that a little bit, I think that my experience with coaching cycles has been very different. Because I didn't really get a chance to do that my first year, you know, I was trying to build those relationships, kind of establish what my role was, and get to know everybody. And then the second year, school was closed. So I've gotten to do two rounds of coaching cycles. But they've been in a very, very bizarre setting. But I think the thing that has been kind of the area of personal growth, for me the most is not avoiding those somewhat awkward conversations and questions that that was really hard for me to kind of get over. Because I never wanted to offend anybody or make them feel like they weren't doing a good job. And so that has just been kind of, I think, an area of personal growth. For me that really does have a huge impact on the effectiveness of the coaching cycle. And, you know, ultimately the impact it has in the classroom. Yeah,

Katie Ritter:

that's a big one. And we're gonna dive into that a little bit more to dig into some tips of getting over that because I don't think you're alone, Annamarie I know, I felt that a lot too. But I just want to I want to circle back around on something that you said, Tyler, with the always feeling like you had to have a response ready to go that resonates so deeply with me my first year as a coach, I was the youngest person in the building, therefore had the least amount of experience. And I'm like trying to gain the trust of everyone. And I'm in a brand new building brand new role. And I felt like I always had to have a response and an answer to prove that I actually knew what I was talking about. And I too learned very early on that I was really listening to respond, not listening to hear, which I think just hurt my ability to then ask the right questions, to ultimately drive to deeper conversations, and help them with maybe an even better solution, because I just wanted to have a solution ready to go so that they knew they could come back to me for another solution. And I think I probably cut a lot of conversations off short that way. So I was like, I didn't want to cut you off. But I was like, Oh my gosh, yes. Yeah, I get it.

Tyler Erwin:

It's a hard thing to learn. But it's an important one to learn for sure. And I feel like that does come with time in the role. Definitely.

Justin Thomas:

Let's talk about these goal setting conversations for a minute. What did they usually look at at the beginning of these coaching cycles, and in particular, obviously gonna have a lot of teachers that might be really gung ho about having coaching conversations with you. But it's a little bit more tool based, as opposed to actually really diving into that pedagogy. So how do you kind of look at these different conversations as they start?

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so with this one, you know, Anna Marie, and I talked about this beforehand, too. And I feel like this can be tricky. Because many times teachers are signing up for coaching cycles, under the idea that, that's what they're going to learn about, they're going to learn this new tool, they're going to learn how to implement it in their classroom. Maybe they learned about it at a conference they attended, or some webinar that they watched. And like, that's the whole reason they signed up. And so when you kind of break it to them that yes, that can be a part of what we learn about. But we want to drive more towards a problem of practice or a challenge that they're facing in their classroom that can kind of flip the script on them right in the first meeting of your coaching cycles. So I think that's the biggest thing. When you do sit down for that first conversation, you want to spend some time getting to know what their current classroom reality is like. So that then you can start to get a sense of what are some of the things this teacher does really well? What are some of the areas they might struggle in? What are some things that could be done more efficiently, possibly with the help of technology? And then once they start to reveal some of the things that they too are concerned about, or that they have challenges with, then I think you can start to pair maybe a tool that they're really interested in With a problem of practice, that I think will have the deeper, more lasting impact that you're looking to solve at the end of the coaching cycle. So it's a bit of a balancing act. But if you can still say, Hey, that's a, you know, a great idea or a great tool, there's so many good ways to use it, let's have a little bit more conversation about what your classrooms like, or what the day to day routine is like in your class, when you can start to get them talking about that, then you can start to plug in some of those gaps and make, I think the larger change that you're looking for.

Annamarie Rinehart:

Yeah, and kind of piggybacking off of what Tyler said, I think that once you get them starting to talk, if you kind of like listen between the lines, you might even be able to kind of identify some areas that maybe they need to improve upon. But maybe they haven't come out and said it right away. So then you can ask those guiding questions to kind of help them realize like, Oh, that is something I could improve upon. Or maybe I really don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about student choice or, you know, having them kind of question things or, you know, so I think that it is key to get in there and just have them tell you about their day to day observe it too, if you can, I think that that definitely helps. But the more that we can I, you know, this is going to be a theme throughout, the more that you can get them realizing and kind of identifying the problems, because we don't ever want to point out a weakness really, you know, that can be very defeating. The better. So the more talking that they do, I think the better chance you have of identifying a specific goal for them to tackle

Justin Thomas:

listening between the lines like that.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, I always like to ask them to like, what is it about that tool that draws you to it? Or why Yeah, you want to use that tool? Like, you know, or even pointing the things out? Like, is it the formative assessment, it will provide you, you know, like, the purpose behind the tool in the first place a little bit has helped me do. Okay, so Anna Marie, I'm going to circle back around now to what you mentioned at the beginning, you know, because I know a lot of us, myself included, especially early on can really avoid, avoid the awkwardness of having to push deeper and try to challenge teachers, maybe because you don't want to maybe have that challenging conversation, or you're not sure how to address this. So how, what what things have helped you sort of overcome that? Or how do you handle those types of conversations with teachers now?

Annamarie Rinehart:

So I think that kind of coming to those conversations with an idea or maybe it's actually like a physical copy of questions, starters, or conversation starters, that if I get stuck in a situation where, you know, I'm almost tempted to like point out the problem or point out the area of weakness, where I can ask some more of those leading questions to help them come to the realization of what it is they're truly struggling with. I also think, you know, I know I've talked about this in past episodes, using something like a grape jam, where the teacher truly is the one identifying the pain points. And then, you know, it's not me pointing it out. And typically, if you start off with something like that, where they're the one leading the conversation, or they're the one, you know, identifying the struggle areas, you do avoid some of that awkwardness, because it's not on you the coach to point out, this is what you know, maybe you can improve upon, or this is what I saw as an area of weakness. So, I think just like using all those coaching tools that a lot of times we use, or I learned about in the Google certified coaching curriculum, that's super helpful just to have those handy. So that I kind of have something to fall back on. And just trying as best you can to frame things in a positive way, I think, cuts back on some of that awkwardness, which all goes back to kind of that empathy, part that, you know, Tyler was referring to, you know, if you, if you put yourself in their shoes, just think about how you may have wanted this information delivered to you, like put yourself back in the teacher's shoes. And just keep that in mind. And I really do think that that that goes a long way and really helps.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, it's interesting, because this is such a tricky situation, I can think back to some of the conversations that I've had. And at times, you'll go observe and the lesson bombs because it is Teacher error. Or you'll look at a lesson plan that they show you and they might think that it's like an exemplar, like this is one of their best lessons. And you kind of look at it and you think to yourself, all right, there's a lot to be desired with this one, right. So, I mean, right? Those things happen, especially when you are having coaching conversations with all sorts of different teachers of all experience levels. So like, how do you actually have that conversation? A lot of what AnaMarie said is spot on. I think another thing too is, the less directive you can be, the more you can kind of lie You can talk around the issue and let them come to that conclusion that like, I probably should have changed that, or I probably should have prepared more in that way. Or I should have tweaked that part of the lesson. When they're the ones that say it. I think it has a deeper impact overall, because not only are they like recognizing it, but you also get to be the tactful one. And you get to say, Yeah, well, maybe we can work on that together, or whatever it might be like after the fact. So maintaining that level of tact, asking some questions that help them come to those conclusions. And, you know, like she mentioned before being empathetic, because if we come in with that mindset, we're going to be ready for anything, we might encounter even some of the worst lessons or some of the worst classroom observations. And we do have to tell a very tricky line, because this whole process should be non evaluative. So like, how do you go in and have those deeper, more meaningful conversations that might be a little awkward, while also not being their evaluator, to where it's something they dread when you come to meet with them, or you come into their classroom. So all of those things can be really helpful. But you know, just keeping the right point of view, understanding your role, and asking good questions to draw them out, will always help.

Annamarie Rinehart:

And that's hard. This is just like, just remembering that this is a very, very hard part of coaching. So it's not like you know, any of us were like, oh, like piece of cake avoiding awkward conversations day one, no, it's something you have to work out for sure.

Katie Ritter:

It is an Annamarie, I really liked your tip of bringing something tangible with you, if you had it to fall back on, I have found it really helpful to have some kind of guideline, like a non evaluative rubric, if we're looking at, you know, the four C's and breaking that down and that look like as you kind of move up with meaningful technology integration, and we can use that is a guideline to discuss or, you know, I know, Brooke mentioned in our PD series that, you know, our team loves a good digital roadmap, like having that in front of you to help guide some of the discussions to help them identify sort of where they're at has been really helpful. I've also found like directing the conversation to the students and how it impacted the students is also really helpful. Because then you're not putting it on like, Well, how did you do this? Or like, how did you feel like this one, you know, it's like, how did your students respond? How do you think this improved, you know, like, so putting it on them? I mean, that's what we're, that's, that's what drew us all in is the students. So I think that's where you really get to see teachers like, inspired to change or or to continue the growth when they know that it's impacting the students. But I'm also hearing you both say that, we as coaches really need to embrace our inner toddler and just ask question after question.

Tyler Erwin:

Well, and I found two, so you mentioned a bunch of like tangible things you can bring to the table. One thing that's really helped me is having teachers do a self evaluation. So if you can have them fill that out ahead of time, then you actually already have some of their like answers and their own self analysis in place. So it's not on the spot. I think that can be an issue too. On the spot. Now, we're going to break down how this lesson went together, that can just up the awkwardness 10 times, have them kind of think about it on their own, fill it out, you know, write some responses, and then you can talk about it together. It's a lot less threatening, I think that way too.

Annamarie Rinehart:

And that's a time saver, too. Because if you're going in and taking up a very precious plan Bell, you know, you might get more bang for your buck, if you do have them do that self reflective piece beforehand. Love that.

Justin Thomas:

Okay, so let's talk about another kind of hard part that deals with coaching and that's when you have a teacher that's excited to work with you, but they think that you're going to do the bulk of the work we'll get into that here after a moment. Break from our sponsor, looking for a program that reaches all teachers in learning new tools to integrate in their lessons, and you badges is the answer and using anytime anywhere badging program that is designed to take bite sized tools for instruction, and teach teachers how to use them as he has received the STC of alignment for Educator Standards. And each badge in our expanding library is aligned to the ISTE standards and the Samer model. Learn more about the program that teachers call addicting at Ford hyphen edge dotnet backslash and you badges. Instructional Coaches support teachers, students, administrators, and really everyone in the district. In fact, research shows instructional coaching is one of the most impactful forms of professional development that results in improved teacher instruction and soon achievement. But who is supporting the coach Ford Edge provides multiple year long mentorship options recommended by the Google for Education certified coach program to help you gain the value and support you need as an instructional coach. Visit Ford hyphen edge dotnet to start giving PD to the ultimate PD providers. Welcome back we have Tyler Irwin and Rory Reinhardt. Katie Ritter as always, and myself Justin Thomas here for the restore recharge podcast timeout coaching conversations. And our question before the break was If you have this teacher that you're excited to work with, they're excited to work with you. But there's a conversation where they think that you're going to do the bulk of the work for them to help them towards his goal. How do you handle that conversation?

Annamarie Rinehart:

So this happens a lot, especially in a building where maybe they've never had a coach before they've never had somebody like you before. And it is so hard to resist these requests. And I think it you know, it just depends on the situation, honestly. So, this past year was obviously crazy. We've talked that, you know, we've talked about it just ad nauseam. But I was a little bit more willing to do some of those just quick, easy things for the teacher that it was like, you know, they've done this before, I know, they know how to do it, but they literally just don't have the time. And it's easy for me to, you know, quickly print this out, or, you know, make a flyer for them or something. But, you know, that's a really fine line, because you don't want that to be the expectation and for them to tell their other team members Oh, like just asking Rachel make your copies for you, you know, right. But I do think that there is a very kind of creative way to do it, and that maybe you come to some sort of compromise, right. So, you know, I worked with teachers who were using Schoology, and a lot of them were very new to it. And, you know, they really needed help with basically how to set up an online course. And so, you know, even if I could just provide some models, or examples that I had seen, you know, from some of our other coaches, or maybe other buildings, you know, that is helpful, that's not doing the work for them. But it's kind of giving them inspiration, and, you know, a goal to work toward. And then if there is something small that, you know, I could do that was helpful, but wasn't doing everything or the bulk of that thing that we're working on. You know, I think that they do appreciate that, that help and that support. So I think it's just, it's kind of a balancing act, you know, identifying which teacher you're working with what they all have going on, and just, you know, helping enough, but not too much. And then providing models, I think can be super helpful without you actually doing any of the work for them.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, I thought this was an interesting question, because I feel like sometimes you have to be frustrating to them. And I say that, and I want everyone to pause, like a different sort of frustration than you may be thinking, but legitimately in some coaching cycles, you will just have to put your computer up. And maybe when you're working through a lesson plan, or you're helping them learn a new digital tool that they want to implement and use, just have their computer up, and you stand behind them. And you kind of direct them through the process, but you have them do each step, you have them build the lesson, you have them go in and make the changes that you're talking about. And legitimately you at times will have teachers say, Well, you just do this a lot quicker, do you want to just go ahead and do it for me, and you just have to be like, no, like, you know, that's okay, I want you to try it, I want you to give your best effort or you to familiarize yourself with this tool. And so that can be frustrating to them at first, but you're actually helping them to make real change in their own practice. So that would be one thing.

Katie Ritter:

You got to teach them how to fish. Yeah,

Tyler Erwin:

you got to teach them how to fish. I'm all about that. So that's definitely one thing that's helped me and you know, I can literally think back to situations where teachers legitimately have handed me their computer or like, slid it across the desk and expected me to do it for them. And you just kind of like push it back like no, I want you to try, you know. So it can be something as simple as that. I think the other thing is setting the expectations up for co teaching. So oftentimes during this whole process, yeah, we build the lesson together, we come up with a great plan, they have all of these things in place that they're going to use. And then they think, Well, hey, do you want to co teach with me, and then you come into co teach and it ends up you just teaching the lesson. And so yeah, maybe on all of the backend work, they were helping, and they were a big part of it. But when it's actually used with students, you kind of come in and take the place of the teacher for the day. And so I think that's another important part as well, is yes, we may be the expert on how to do the tool or use this certain instructional strategy. Or we may be really passionate about whatever challenge or problem of practice that this teacher is trying to solve. But if we come in to co teach, we still want the teacher to be like the most prominent part, the one giving the most of the instruction, we really want to take a backseat to them so that they can see that growth. And so honestly, that just comes down to setting good expectations. Like here's what I'm going to do. Here's what I think would be great roles for you during class or here's how you can support me as I help you co teach just little things like that, that you can help frame the conversation so that when you come in, the expectations are in place, and the teacher is still the one doing the bulk of the work or giving most of the lesson throughout class.

Katie Ritter:

Such a great tip. I know, in the first time I co taught with the teacher, I was so excited just to like get back with students for a change that I was happy to lead it the whole way. And I remember an admin coming in to observe what this teacher was doing. And then we had a follow up conversation afterward. And they said, I really wish that they had like taken over to do more like you'd already done it a couple of times for them, I felt like by that point in the day, they might be able to take it over and do more. And I felt like that was more of a disservice that I had done by not setting up those expectations. And by sort of allowing them to take a back seat. So that was a growth moment for me, but excellent tip that you just gave. So okay, so really, I think the conversations that you have, and all of this questioning that you guys are are talking about and sort of teaching them to fish making them do it by themselves. But really, I think the conversation piece is really where the change takes place. And a lot of those aha moments happen for the educators. So tell us about how you push teachers to really kind of think outside of the box, or really get into those meaty, productive coaching conversations throughout the coaching cycle.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so this one was, this one was tough for me, because I think at times, like naturally teachers, and by extension coaches, we can sell ourselves short a little bit. So when I was thinking about previous coaching conversations, and some of the things I might have said, or how I might have pushed the teacher in a certain direction, that I feel like it was super innovative or like outside the box, like maybe not, but then some of the questions that I do remember asking, I feel like might fit with this. So one of the things I'll typically do, especially if they're having problems, setting a goal, I will have them think about maybe their favorite lesson, or their favorite unit that they get to teach, you know, what's the thing you're most passionate about. Or on the flip side, I may have them think about the unit that they dread the most, the one that they detest teaching, the one that they have to do just a meet a standard. And I think that when you get them thinking about something they're super passionate about, or kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum, something they're maybe not so passionate about, then you can start to draw out like, why what do you love about that lesson? Or what do you love about that particular unit? And then you can start to kind of see their mind working? How did they make certain lessons within that unit? What are some of the things that they enjoy the students enjoy. And when you start to break down all of those pieces they already have in place, that's when I think you can start to make those little tweaks that just take it to the next level. So that's a great place to start. And then another one that I really enjoy asking is to have them think about like a PD session that they really enjoyed, or a webinar or they've watched or, you know, a conference they've attended. What was it about that drew you to that particular session that you absolutely love that you took a ton of notes on that? You ended up making changes in your own teaching practice? Because of it? What about that particular presenter? What about their content? What about the activities, they used, all of those different things that kind of get them thinking like, Oh, I could do that too, in the lessons I use with my students. So just giving them like those real tangible things that they can look back to, or remember themselves that were really transformative for them as learners, or even that make the job super enjoyable for them as teachers. Because I think when you play off of those passions, then you can start to see how they think how they design lessons, and where the little tweaks can be made to just take it to the next level.

Katie Ritter:

I like the play on the anti passion.

Annamarie Rinehart:

Yeah, Tyler, you know, as you were talking, I was picturing like, very, very specific situations that I've been in that matched up to exactly what you were saying. And I know we're talking about like official coaching cycles. But a lot of times I think those conversations, were teachers coming up, like the kids hate this, I don't know what to do. They're so bored. They hate this is like someone flagging you down in the hallway, or sitting down and talking with you at lunch. And, you know, it's not meant to be a coaching conversation necessarily, maybe they don't know what they're getting themselves into. But once you start asking those questions, well, why do you think they hate it? Why do you think they're so bored? And I don't know, I think a lot of times teachers are kind of boxed in with very scripted lessons and things like that. And that's a lot of times where the frustration comes out. But that's also a great opportunity to say, It's okay to push, pause on that and do what you would normally do to get them interested in this thing that you have to teach, right? Like, you can't change the novel. You can't change this, but think about what you would have done, you know, if you didn't have the script in front of you just push pause and do some of those things that you know you're good at and that have been successful in the past. And that's not me telling them what to do at all. Like I may not know what those things are, but you know, just getting them to kind of Understand that it's okay to pause on something that maybe they don't really feel like is working, revisit it, maybe just after like a day or two, but do something that like Tyler said they felt was successful in the past. And that got students really excited about learning. And that got them really excited about teaching the thing that students historically don't love.

Justin Thomas:

Awesome. Let me give you guys a scenario, you're observing a teacher is very excited about what they're doing. But as you're kind of looking around, you realize students are just not engaged. It kind of looks like that classroom from Ferris Bueller. We're all there just staring at the teacher like what is going on? So it's not the best practice for instruction. And there's a million things you want to change about this about their lesson. But how do you initiate that conversation without crushing their confidence, crushing their hopes and dreams? Maybe they're so excited about working with you, and you just see it just the sink? The ship is sinking? And you're like, Okay, how can I help bail water out and have this conversation with them? When I know that's going to be a very difficult conversation?

Katie Ritter:

Oh, I want to say right now, or when? Nine?

Annamarie Rinehart:

Yeah, so, you know, assuming this teacher like has signed up for coaching cycles, because I feel like if you did a drive by and just popped in and saw this, I honestly wouldn't know what to do. Maybe Katie or Tyler or somebody with more experience and speak to that, but this teacher is in coaching cycles. So you automatically have that in right to talk about, you know, how do you think that lesson one this morning, and, and you know, assuming you're there to observe it, because you see the things that aren't really going? Well. I think the key here is just picking one thing, to kind of tackle with that teacher, you know, even you know, hopefully they've identified areas of weakness, but I think if you can just say, you know, I heard you say that the students didn't seem all that engaged, like, tell me why you thought that. Okay, that's something we can definitely work on together. Because even though we know there were a lot of other things that we would like to fix. I mean, just like you said, if you said, well, they weren't engaged, and you know, someone was sleeping. So that was pretty obvious. And then like, you know, nobody was participating. And if you start listing all these things, like, why would that teacher ever want to come back and meet with you, you're just kind of raining on their parade even? And they already thought it didn't go? Well, right, probably. So I think just picking one thing to improve upon is the way to handle that. Because more than that, you might lose them, they might feel overwhelmed. And they ultimately might just feel a little bit down on themselves, which is not the goal of meeting with us at all

Tyler Erwin:

right? Yeah. And the situation you described, you know, I picture, that teacher almost being like on cruise control, because to them, like the ride is enjoyable, everything's going well. But it's likely because they're really comfortable. So this is something that they know very well, it's like the back of their hand, they're comfortable teaching every aspect of the lesson they likely have experienced doing before. And so to them, they're excited, it feels good. Like that went super smooth. I did such a good job teaching this or showing the students this. And so you know, like Anna Marie said, When you see those scenarios, and then think about all of the things that went wrong, I think you kind of have to help the teacher, press the pause button, and like, get off cruise control for a moment. And just think about, you know, asking a couple of questions. Well, did you notice such and such? Or, what did you think about how this went or about this aspect of your lesson, or what might be a way that you could change this up next time to make it even more exciting for your students. And so I think building on the positives that you did see, back when I taught seventh grade, we would call it two stars in a wish, right? So you almost want to like pad the bad with the good, right? So you definitely want to have some positive things to say to build their confidence, keep that confidence level there. But layer the constructive criticism or some of those questions that might reveal some of the weaker parts of the lesson, kind of patted in between the good. And so when you can do that, help them press pause, help them break down a very specific part of the lesson that might be easy to tweak next time. You can take those little small victories and build that momentum, you know, really, with each lesson that that teacher does in the future. And so yeah, really, I just picture those teachers like in Ferris Bueller. That guy's on cruise control, he doesn't know what's going on around him, because he's comfortable. He's done that a million times before. And so he thinks it is successful. And so we just have to help ask the right questions, help them reflect on small narrow areas of their lesson, and then make the changes that need to happen.

Katie Ritter:

Well, and in my experience, too, I feel like I observe this a lot with those teachers, like you're saying not even necessarily on cruise control, but like they're not very comfortable with technology and doing anything with technology with the students is super out of their comfort zone. And so just the fact that they have kids on technology feels like a big win to them. Um, you know, and so like, especially if they are really excited, and they think it went really well, I don't know, I just like you're saying, Tyler, I always try to pick something that did go well, or even, you know, if they're really not identifying anything, and it's very clear like, were we just in two different classrooms right now. You know, I will sometimes like just like, Oh, I'd love to, like meet with you, did you know that you could do this with that tool that might make that even easier for you or like something that's like super, like, almost like a quick fix to a little problem that is maybe more of a hook to get me back into the classroom. And then it can kind of open it up. I think to allow those conversations like, once are a little bit behind the teacher and they see other things that can happen, you can kind of point out like, oh, you could prevent this, or this would keep them engaged and actively answering along the way or, you know, I don't know, those things kind of kind of tend to, then they realize, oh, maybe I could have done this a little bit differently or done this better. But, you know, it is kind of it is a tough role, because we are there to help them improve, but not necessarily like to fix them, you know, that that really is coming from like the admin to have those those conversations, for observations and walkthrough. So I think as long as we're just continuing to be that helping hand, I think that is really where we want to be.

Annamarie Rinehart:

I have one more thing that Yeah. So something that I've seen be really effective, and it wasn't set up by me and I, you know, depending on your role in your building, you may not have the ability to do this, but maybe you could suggest it, kind of taking some of that responsibility off of the coach learning walks, I've seen to be a very effective thing for a lot of teachers. So, you know, that also might be for the teacher who's on cruise control, right? Or maybe thinks that they're like, absolutely doing all these innovative things, to see somebody else in the same building, ideally, who is maybe doing something just a little bit differently. Or maybe they realize, oh, that's what engagement looks like, or that's, you know, I think it can be extremely effective. And that can also likely lead to them signing up for something like a coaching cycle, like I need help with this, like, I thought I was doing everything. Great. But you know, I saw this other teacher doing this one thing. And so, you know, sort of a little off topic, you know, for what the question was, but I just I started thinking about, you know, some very real life examples of people that we've all worked with, probably who you know, might fit this. And sometimes those people need to see a peer, doing something really, really awesome and really cool. Because, you know, especially if you're a first year coach, or you're someone who isn't super familiar with that teacher, us coming in, trying to change something about their most prized perfect lesson can be really, really hard for them to hear. I think, well, I

Katie Ritter:

love that too. Because like That's why Shadowing is so important to our team members. Yeah, like actually getting to see someone else do it in action is just so valuable. No matter if you are like struggling or really successful or whatever. Just seeing someone else to your point. So yeah, thanks for adding that. Okay, so speaking of reflection, as a part of those conversations, anything that you want to add, like thinking specifically about okay, you've gone through the coaching cycle, you're now at the end of that, that coaching cycle, and you're looking back at the entire process, instead of maybe just one lesson or one aspect of the of the coaching cycle? And how what types of questions do you ask to get teachers reflecting on that entire process and their growth so far, and in particular, with a with a mindset toward like next steps for them? Sure.

Annamarie Rinehart:

So I had a couple of, you know, pretty specific ones that came to mind that ultimately came from the end of coaching cohort reflection that a lot of us have these teachers fill out, one that I liked, that's very simple is just what did you hope to gain by signing up for coaching cycles? Because I think it helps them, you know, jot down those very specific thoughts, reflect on those goals. And then, you know, do you feel like you you accomplish that? Or do you feel like you met those goals? Because not only is that great for them to reflect upon, but it's really good feedback for us as coaches too. Because if they're like, No, that was not at all, like I didn't get any of it, then obviously, that's an area of improvement for us as coaches. But in terms of thinking about next steps. I think, you know, how was student learning impacted by your work in this cohort? I think that's a really great one, because again, it brings it back to the student, and there's a very good chance that that answer could make them maybe want to get a little bit more coaching, maybe they want to sign up for the next cohort. So those are two you know, I think really good reflective questions that help them, you know, see their journey where they started, where they ended, and just bringing it back to student learning is super important.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so for me, I think about a couple of different teachers like I could they always kind of go through my mind when I, when I hear these different questions. And one of the first groups of teachers that you work with a lot with during coaching cycles are those with like, low tech confidence, low self esteem, you know, and they'll tell you right away, I just don't use any technology. You know, I signed up for this, because I want to try and prove my skills, I want to gain some confidence. So that's one of the questions I'll ask, especially to those kinds of teachers, like, do you feel more confident? Like did this help with your tech self esteem? Do you feel a little bit more self sufficient? And most of the time, they'll say yes, like they do. That definitely helps in that way, they feel a lot better about themselves and what they're capable of after coaching cycles are over with. So that's a really nice one to ask. And then one of the questions on my end of coaching self evaluation is, how do you feel like your teaching practice has changed, and then what part of the coaching cycle process benefited you or your students the most, and sometimes the answers will really surprise you. Sometimes it won't be about the technology. It will be about like the nitty gritty, deep lesson planning that you do together. And they think, or they'll say to you, like, I've really haven't ever thought that systematically about how I plan things, or how I develop a lesson or how I think about how this will impact students. And then other times it will be about the technology. So it just surprises you sometimes on what really does impact the teachers when they go through this process with you. And then next steps, I'm telling you with these coaching cycles, it will set some of these teachers on fire. And it will be some of the ones that you least expect. And they will be asking you about what certifications can I earn? Or can I do this again? Or are there opportunities for me to like, show what I did with you to the rest of the district? And I'm like, Yeah, present at a PD day or sign up for one of these local conferences and present there. So those are some of the questions that I start to ask after the fact is, hey, what's next for you? You know, what do you think about possibly sharing this with your team sharing this with your grade level? Or your content area folks, or whoever it is? And then would you be willing to maybe look into getting Google one certified? Level two certified? Do you want to present at some of these local conferences all present with you if you want, like what you did was amazing. So just like validating their work, and letting them know that just because our eight weeks are over, the journey doesn't end here.

Justin Thomas:

Love that? Yeah, that's awesome. The journey hasn't ended here. I like it. Let's talk a little bit about some lines to prompt these teachers to dig deeper into the reflections. Both of you had some really great lines have kind of been going through the entire podcast here. But you can pull from there, you can add some new ones, whatever you would like. But just think kind of quick, memorable. Where are these conversations stems that are allowing coaches to tuck away for later to use throughout the school year. So these two to three lines that are prompting teachers to dig deeper into their reflections and the conversations you have with

Katie Ritter:

them? I love a good one liner. Oh, yeah.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so we had to write these down. Because like, right on the spot. We don't, we don't necessarily carry around conversation.

Annamarie Rinehart:

Take note,

Tyler Erwin:

our little our pocket guide to how to hold a conversation. These have likely been mentioned throughout the rest of the podcasts, but one that I love when you're initially trying to help them come up with a goal and get to know them better, is just tell me more about and then you can add in whatever you want. After that. Tell me more about your students. Tell me more about your favorite lessons. Tell me more about what a typical day looks like for you. Just leave it super open ended so you can get to know them better. So your suggestions will be more spot on and so that they will kind of guide the journey. So that's a key one after they've done a lesson, or maybe after they've shared a lesson with you that they really enjoy. What about it? Would you like to change? Is there anything in there that you feel like could be better? Those are some areas that it's just a nice way to get them to think about what they've already done and how they can make those small tweaks. And then I think Katie mentioned it earlier, but bringing the focus back to students. So I like to ask how do students respond to this? Or how do students respond when you do this? You know, whatever you add in there at the end. So getting the teacher once again to yes, they're going to focus on their own growth during coaching cycles. That's important. But ultimately keeping the students as that underlying foundation for the work you do. That's a great question to ask them. And you'll be surprised sometimes what they tell you, you know, how do students respond to collaborative work? There might be teachers that say it's a complete mess. And so there's your problem with practice. So there you got it, you only had to ask one question and now you know, something you can work on. So that can unlock a lot of key insights for you as a coach, as you're working with these teachers.

Unknown:

Great starters. Yeah.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, those were really good.

Annamarie Rinehart:

So mine are sort of, you know, once the conversation has already started, right, maybe we've identified a problem of some kind. So one of mine is Why do you think that this is the case? You know, you know, given any problem, why do you think that's the case? Why do you think that's happening? You know, like, what have you observed? That gave you the clue to XY and Z? Something else are kind of different hypotheticals. So, you know, what would happen if fill in the blank? Right? So what would happen if you incorporated more collaborative, you know, work time into your classroom, and just like Tyler said, they might get really nervous about that, or, or, or feel like it was going to be a total mess. But that's definitely an opportunity for growth, not just for the teacher, but for the students. And then what would have to change for fill in the blank. So what would have to change for you to feel like the lesson was successful, or what would have to change for, you know, your students to maybe just seem like they're taking more of an interest in the content. So I think those are both really good, open ended questions, those last two that could allow for some really cool conversations and new things for that teacher to try and tackle in their classroom that maybe they were a little bit nervous about, and had never really considered

Unknown:

awesome, like your guys's lines.

Justin Thomas:

Remember those for the for the upcoming school year here,

Annamarie Rinehart:

you just have to write them down, and

Tyler Erwin:

you got to create your hockey guide,

Justin Thomas:

guide, write it down. All right, awesome. So we've been talking about coaching conversations. This is bringing us to the end here of our coaching conversations conversation, is there any final things that you want to add in before we head out here?

Tyler Erwin:

If I had one thing, it's what was stated at the very beginning. You don't want to do anything to cut conversations short. So however, you can lengthen them by asking better questions, by letting the teacher guide more of the discussion. by pumping the brakes a little bit on being the expert in the room. Anything you can do to just keep that conversation going. Because it will last well past the eight weeks of your coaching cycles, if you do a good job of prioritizing relationships, relationships and conversations First,

Annamarie Rinehart:

I would say all of these things take practice. If you feel a little bit nervous after even after listening to us to you know, start your first one, I think it's probably safe to say everybody feels that way. And just go for it. And just like anything else with being a coach, I think honesty goes a long way. So if you're honest with the teachers, and you say, you know, in your first meeting, this is the first time I'm doing this, so you know, just be patient with me, we're here to work together. And you know, if I don't know the answer, or we're having a hard time coming up with a goal, like we will get there, you know, I just think that that's, that's really important. And that takes a little bit of pressure off of the coach. Because I know, I was really nervous to do this for the first time. I, you know, I had no coaching experience before. So it was kind of like, you know, Am I really in a place to do this, you know, like Katie spoke to, you know, experience. And so I think just being honest, and trying to keep it relatively light helps a lot.

Katie Ritter:

Oh, and I love that you said to I know you're trying to wrap it up just

Justin Thomas:

hours and hours.

Katie Ritter:

I just I liked that you said Anna Marie, that takes practice, because it really does. And I have encouraged people on the team who are not as comfortable. You know, and some people are introverts and that's okay. So like walking into teachers in a classroom that you don't know is intimidating on top of everyone has imposter syndrome on top of am I experienced enough and you're doubting yourself and you've never done this before. But like just practice having conversation with random people like when you're checking out at the grocery store, I don't know if people still do that anymore. If you actually go to a store, like just engage in conversation with the clerk and practice asking some questions, and just the more you do it and the more you do it in a non threatening environment where there is no judgement because you may never see this person again. You know, it just it becomes easier to actually do these things in a meaningful way with people that you are developing like real relationships with so I like your advice about practicing thanks, man

Justin Thomas:

and listening between the lines. Alright, well, I want to thank Tyler Irwin and Anna Marie Reinhardt once again for joining us for this one. Tune in next time for part three of our mini series on coaching cycles. We're gonna be discussing what it looks like when you are right there in the middle of it, and you're right in the thick of it. The cycle will talk about what it looks like to set those goals and co teaching while also looking at the non evaluative observations and sharing resources that you'll be doing with teachers. Once again, this will be in two weeks. I believe Tyler Irwin is joining us again, I'm back, he's back. Awesome. So he's gonna be back for a third time here as well.

Katie Ritter:

And with that, please be sure to subscribe to restart recharge wherever you listen to podcasts. We would also love it if you would give us a rating and review to I know on Apple podcasts you after you hit subscribe at the top you can scroll down to the bottom under the description of the podcast and that is where you can rate us we would love a good five star if you feel we deserve it. And add a little comment to a review if you feel as well too. And of course, you can always follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at our our coach cast.

Justin Thomas:

And as always on your social media. You may be you're going to be diving into the coaching cycles and you're right there in the middle of it and you want to know what's going on. Feel free to reach out to us connect with us on social media. Maybe it'll be featured into our

Unknown:

little mini series here. So press the restart button,

Justin Thomas:

recharge your coaching batteries and leave feeling equipped and inspired to coach fearlessly with the restart recharge podcast

Katie Ritter:

at Tech coach collective