Restart Recharge Podcast

017 - Coaching Cycles Part 3: In the Thick of It

October 05, 2021 Forward Edge Season 1 Episode 17
Restart Recharge Podcast
017 - Coaching Cycles Part 3: In the Thick of It
Show Notes Transcript

Tyler Erwin and Tracee Keough are back with us on Restart Recharge today sharing insider secrets for making coaching cycles successful when you are “in the thick of it.” We’ll chat about goal setting, co-teaching, sharing resources, co-planning, and non-evaluative observations.

Links mentioned in the show:

Google's Certified Coach Curriculum

Follow Tyler on Twitter

Follow Tracee 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

Edge•U Badges
Edge•U is an anytime, anywhere professional learning platform made for teachers by teachers!

Coach Mentorship Program
Year-long mentorship programs to support the ultimate PD provider: instructional coaches!

Justin Thomas:

hit the restart button 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 by coaches for coaches. We bring you the tips and tricks to help in your everyday work as an instructional technology coach or you know, whatever they call you and your school district.

Katie Ritter:

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

Justin Thomas:

and today's episode is the third part of our coaching cycles series. It's called in the thick of it. So we have Tyler Irwin back with us on the restart recharge podcast today, sharing insider secrets for making coaching cycles successful when you're in the thick of it alongside Tracy Keough is also joining us too. And we're going to chat about goal setting, co teaching, sharing resources, co planning and non evaluative observations. And I'll go and introduce Tyler. If you have not caught him on the last two podcasts you need to check that out because he has been providing a wealth of information on coaching cycles, but Tyler Irwin is the Assistant Director of Curriculum and technology integration at Ford 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 the Google Certified Trainer and mentor coach. He has four years of experience as an instructional coach for multiple school districts in Cincinnati area. And he works with the entire Ford Edge team to ensure high quality technology integration across our partner districts. Welcome again, Tyler.

Tyler Erwin:

It's good to be back. I think I may have one more episode left in me and then I get to call it quits for a little bit. We'll see.

Katie Ritter:

Oh, never say never.

Justin Thomas:

That's gonna be here forever.

Katie Ritter:

Welcome back, Tyler. And we're also happy to welcome Tracy Keough back with us. Once again, you heard her on a number of our episodes most recently and one of our PD series episodes that we did that three part PD series. But just to give you a little reminder, Tracy was a classroom teacher for 11 years before taking on the role of an instructional technology coach. For the last two years. She has taught second grade fifth through eighth grades and has experience working in a personalized one to one flexible learning academy. Currently, Tracy is a coach in a very rural school district here in Ohio. And as a coach, she has worked with them achieve their classroom and educational goals through coaching and mentorship. So we are glad to have you back with us, Tracy.

Tracee Keough:

It's great to be back. And we'll probably put Tyler on a few more episodes. So don't worry about that everybody.

Katie Ritter:

Tracy's on the content planning team. So I think she just made it a personal personal goal to get you back for the years over Tyler.

Justin Thomas:

Alright, that's fine. times.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah. All right. So guys, we're gonna kick it off. And I know so last episode, Tyler, you were with us with Anna Marie. And we talked a lot about getting into deeper conversations through coaching, with the teachers that we're serving. And so we're going to kind of just sort of situate us with kind of step one of the coaching cycle process here. After you've gone through identifying the problems, it's on to setting the goal for the teachers. So when it comes to setting goals, how do you guide educators in creating meaningful goals that will then serve as sort of the home base through the rest of the coaching cycle?

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, well, you mentioned it in the question, I think it's important that they start with a good problem of practice or challenge. Something that really is causing an issue in the class. And that doesn't necessarily have to be a negative thing, but a point where there's improvement to be made. And so if you do a good grape, grape jam, and dredge up some good ideas in that way, that's always the best place to start. I think that it's crucial for teachers to focus on a couple of different areas, when they're thinking about their goals. What are some things that are affecting their day to day? Can you give them some different scenarios about, you know, what's your morning routine, like and how could that be improved? What are things like when students enter the classroom? What about when you take things home to grade? What's that feedback process? Like? What about communication with parents, there's all these little areas that you can start to bring up and as they start to break down and self analyze in those areas. I think that's when they can start to come up with some really impactful goals, things that not only maybe address a problem with practice that they're facing, but then at the end of the coaching cycle, hopefully it will make that deep impact that you're looking for. And I think another key area to look for are your students. sometimes there'll be very honest. And they'll tell you either through verbal cues or nonverbal cues, what are some things you might need to work on as a teacher, and there is no shortage of things that we can all improve in. And so if you look for those two areas, both the teacher reflecting on how they see things and perceive things, and then what the students are telling you, I think that's a really good place to dig a little bit deeper, and start coming up with some goals that address those issues. So, as we said in other episodes before, yes, it starts with the problem of practice. But then how can you tackle that effectively, that really comes down to, you know, self analysis from the teacher and analyzing what the students are giving you as well.

Tracee Keough:

I would agree with what Tyler saying the other pieces I would add in there is at the beginning of those coaching cycles, as you're developing those relationships, asking your teachers, what's worked best for them? What kind of areas? Do they need some improvement on? From their point of view? And then a great question is, what would your dream classroom be like? So what would it feel and look like? And how can we structure some goals that might get us partially there, if not all the way depending on what freedoms we have on campus,

Justin Thomas:

perfect, so you got your your goals that you're going to be able to set? Now what happens? Once you've talked to the teacher, you've established that goal, you got them to have that dream classroom in mind? What are those next six, those next steps to help the teacher in this coaching cycle? Basically, how are you giving this goal legs, so to speak?

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so this one is really important, because it all does come back to the goal. If you have a goal that's too narrow in scope or focus, well, then we might be able to solve it in a conversation or two. And so that's probably not the right goal. If it's something that you feel like oh, my, this could take us all year to figure out, this teacher wants to go through every unit they have in their curriculum, that's a little bit too much to bite off, right? And so you have, you definitely have to start with the right size and scope and sequence. And then once you have that in place, you want to start to build in some sub goals. So what are we going to do on our next meeting with each other? What about when I come in for classroom visits? What are going to be some of the things that we look for and we try to accomplish together? And then what about when we reflect? Are there certain things that you as the teacher want me to look out for, as I'm doing my classroom observations so that we can talk about those points together after. And so I think building those sub goals in and making it very clear, here's what we want to accomplish week two, week three, here's when I'm going to come in for some classroom observations, week four, we can sit down and talk about some of the things I observed week five. And so you definitely don't just have this grand goal of I want to flip instruction. And then, you know, next week, make it happen. Maybe the first time you go through and you look through some lessons that would be suitable for flipped instruction. And then you're like, Ooh, this is a great one. Now, what tool should we use? Then maybe you start looking at things like Screencastify, or loom and that's your next exploration session together? And then of course, finally, you start thinking about how are we going to implement this with the kids? Are they going to watch it ahead of time at home as homework? Are they going to watch it in class at the beginning of class? And then I think the part that really makes it challenging is let's say that is the goal. You want to flip instruction? Well, what are you going to do with all of that time that you now have in your class period, that used to be this direct instruction period, where you were maybe going through a set of slides or standing at the front of the classroom? How are you going to integrate some more critical thinking activities, or collaboration or self paced learning activities for students? So that's when the real discussion starts, like once you get it out of the way of what we want to accomplish? Now, how is that going to impact what you do from that moment forward? How does that change the way you teach? So I think in all of that, you know, it's a long winded answer to basically say, you have to have some sub goals. And you have to make it very clear what you're looking at and what you're trying to accomplish week by week.

Katie Ritter:

And Tyler, I like your your idea of the sub goals, because I also think it helps not only move things along, but I also think, you know, you mentioned specifically like components of that, hey, when I come in your classroom, what am I going to be looking for what what do you want when I come you know, so you're also setting up the expectation for essentially each part of the process. So you're not just kind of standing around, the teacher doesn't want to hear what you're doing. But I like that from an expectation standpoint, too.

Tracee Keough:

And all I have to add to that is taking it very simplistically is create those calendar invites in those meetings and put them directly on the calendar in that first meeting to hold and create some accountability of we are going through this, this is what we're doing. It may be a to be determined topic, but as long as it's on the calendar, then you're forcing, in a way teachers to really make the time to attend those meetings and can't reschedule something unless it's provided by admin. So

Katie Ritter:

love that. Yeah, gotta get those meetings on the calendar, make sure they actually happen for sure. I know if it's not on my calendar, I don't know to show up. Okay, so thinking about really, so our goals are in place, we're moving it along, what are some of the elements that might come into play when you're trying to actually support the teachers where they work toward their goals? So if you're thinking about like that Google five step coaching model, if that's what you're doing, I think we're kind of focused here on that implementation piece. Primarily.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, so a lot of that revolves around being in the classroom. You know, I will tell you, when I first started doing formal coaching cycles, I didn't make much time for that at all, I was just really focused on the meetings with the teachers and sitting down with them. And, you know, a lot of time was spent on the planning side of things. And then I almost left the teachers to their own devices to make sure that the implementation went well. And so one aspect that I would like to talk about that I feel like for newer coaches, or even more veteran coaches, that is definitely an element that you want to flesh out is that of co teaching. So in some instances, you know, this is going to be a key part of this formal coaching Cycle model, that teachers are going to ask you for help. They want that, you know, extra level of confidence and comfortability with a new tool, possibly, that they may be using with students or a new instructional strategy. And since you're the one like encouraging them and inspiring them to do it, really, it kind of falls on you also, in some ways to make sure that it goes smooth too. And so I think setting up the expectations of what is co teaching really look like, that doesn't mean that I as the coach, I'm going to drive the lesson, I'm not going to take over and do everything. I'm not necessarily even going to take the role of teacher, but I'm going to be there to support the use of this new tool or the use of that instructional strategy. And then putting things in place so that the teacher is comfortable, still taking the lead, even though it may be a new innovative practice they've never tried before. So I think that that's one thing that you definitely have to sit down and talk about, at this point during the implementation phase is just like, hey, we're going to co teach, it's going to go awesome, here's what I'm going to do, here's the part I'm going to play. And I think this is will really suit you best as the teacher to take care of these aspects during the lesson. And as long as that is flushed out, and you're there to provide that support and confidence for them. Typically, everything goes really well.

Tracee Keough:

And I'm just gonna piggyback and say, a big part of what Tyler is saying, for the co teaching is setting those expectations between you and the teacher that you're in the room with. So making sure that there's common ground on which parts you're speaking on, or how you're assisting in the classroom, for that co teaching, instead of what some teachers envision, when you say co teaching is, Oh, you, the coach are going to come in and teach this lesson. And I'm just here. So really setting up those expectations ahead of time of what does co teaching look like for this lesson with you. And I also think that co teaching and CO planning give you a glimpse into the educator in a different way. So a lot of times they feel like they have to put on the show when you're in their classroom, that if they know that you're coming, you're you're going through this CO planning co teaching phase, you really get a true north of what their goals are maybe not what they stated, but how they act and respond to those situations, as well as lets you build a relationship with that educator in a different way, because you're in their space, and you're going through something with them instead of sitting in the back and just observing.

Tyler Erwin:

And I feel like to the best coaching cycles, the first time you come in their class or the first time you help co teach, like it's not always smooth, it isn't the dog and pony show, it's not this perfect lesson, it can be a little messy. And I think that those instances actually create the best conversations afterwards and the most growth. And I think it also shows the teacher that like it's okay to try something new, even if it doesn't work out great, the very first time. Part of failing forward is just the act of trying something new and learning from it and growing in that way. And so I really encourage you know, any coaches who are doing this to make co teaching a part of it. So you do get that more intimate knowledge of what the teachers classroom is like, and you can pick up on those different things to make your reflective conversations later that much more impactful.

Katie Ritter:

Yeah, I love it. And Tracy, I know you hit on something that Justin is going to actually ask you guys a little bit more about here in just a second but just as both of you were talking it just made me think you know about when there is a new leader who takes over a position you know, the smart leaders don't come in and just make like sweeping changes right away without actually like getting to know people getting to know the culture. are getting to know the background on different decisions. So that moving forward, like the smartest, best, most impactful change decisions can be made. And so I just, I don't know, just the way that you guys kind of said, that made me think of that, from the coach perspective, you know, you're bringing a lot of suggestions to the table. And essentially, you know, you're suggesting a lot of changes to take place in their classroom. So I just think like, as much as you can get in the classroom as possible, whether you're teaching, whether you're just observing, like, whatever that looks like, to help you make the strongest best recommendations to like really tailor them, not only for that individual teacher, but ultimately, and most importantly, for the students that that teacher is serving. So really smart advice from both of you.

Tyler Erwin:

And I was just going to add one more thing, because you made me think when you were saying that, that teacher sometimes want to see that, like, we have some skin in the game as well, like that we're not just, you know, these little idea factories, and we're here to just stir it up for the, you know, for the sake of trying something new. But like, you know,

Katie Ritter:

sometimes I feel like we're a little Idea Factory,

Tyler Erwin:

well, you know, maybe sometimes we can be but you don't want to get to that point where you don't have some skin in the game. And you're not there to like see it through to the end as well. And so when they know that you're ready to like roll up your sleeves and come into the classroom with them. They're so much more willing to try those ideas that you do bring to the table. And I think that's really important as well.

Katie Ritter:

Tyler now I can't get Idea Factory. I mean, like Willy Wonka's factory, like tech coach ideas, right? Look, conveyor belt casting room, and here's the flip grid room. You know what?

Justin Thomas:

Hopefully, yeah. Hopefully, there's no like little Oompa Loompas running around our idea factories. But speaking of oompa, Loompas, and extra people, right, having extra people in your room as a teacher can definitely feel uncomfortable. And sometimes, like you said, they feel like they have to like perform in a certain way. So in a moment, we are going to talk a little bit about what are some of your strategies to, I think build that relationship to get it to that point where it's not as big of a deal that you're in there. So let's pause for just a moment for a break from our sponsors. Looking for a program that reaches all teachers in learning new tools to integrate in their lessons, and you badges is the answer and she was in anytime anywhere badging program that is designed to take bite sized tools for instruction, and teach teachers how to use them, and she has received the SDC 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 and for hyphen edge dotnet backslash edu 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. The results in improved teacher instruction and student 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 valued support you need as an instructional coach, visit Ford hyphen edge dotnet to start giving PD to the ultimate PD providers. Alright, welcome back to the restart recharge podcast we're talking about coaching cycles in the thick of it what happens when you're right in the middle of the coaching cycle? We've Tyler Irwin Tracy Keough, obviously, myself and Justin Thomas and Katie Ritter. But before we went to break, it talked a little bit about having extra people in the room, how that can really be kind of uncomfortable for a teacher and make them feel like they have to try to like perform at a new level or something like that. So how do you establish a level of comfort comfort with teachers when working in their classroom? So they don't feel like you're invading their classroom? Or they're kind of like looking at you? Like, what, what are you doing here? Why, why are you here right now,

Tracee Keough:

I would say one of the biggest pieces for me, is again, building that relationship ahead of time. So in all of those beginning, coaching meetings, is really getting to know that educator, as a person, and different things that are going to help communicate with them, you know, is your daughter getting married next month, maybe remembering the things that they're talking about that or what their favorite subject is to teach or different things like that, to really have a conversation beyond just the purpose of why you're in there. And then something else that I think really helps to kind of take that pressure off from our teachers is either sending an email the day before, I'm so excited to be in your classroom swinging by at the end of the day, the day before, so the students might know who you are. So it's not just a Oh, we've got a new person here and everybody kind of loses it depending on their age. Also swinging by in the morning to check in and just gauge their feelings. How you feeling today, is it something we're still going to do? Do you want to move it to tomorrow? And just making sure that they're feeling okay with everything, as well as just those consistent reminders that they are doing this and it is okay. and they are going to fail forward. And we're here to help them step through all of that learning. And if they're not failing and falling, then they're not really learning and growing.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, those tips. Yeah, like that as well, I feel like for me, it starts to feel invasive. When the students you can see like the hair on the back of their neck stand up when another adult comes in the room. Yeah, don't forget the students. So I feel like it's important for the teacher or even you as the coach to kind of clarify who you are to the kids. I feel like when they're at ease, the teacher is at ease. And we've all seen it, the principal walks in for an evaluation, and the kids sit up a little straighter in their chairs, and, you know, maybe act like they're paying better attention and all of those things. And not to say that we don't want them to like pay attention and be good students while we're in there we do. But we also can kind of let them know that like, Hey, I'm here to help your teacher out, we're going to try something fun, when I'm here, they should almost when they see you think oh, today's going to be like, maybe extra fun, we're going to try something new or different. And if they know who you are, they know what your role is, they know what your name is. And maybe even the teacher takes a moment at the beginning to introduce you the first time you come into the class, that always helps as well. Because I do feel like the vibe that the kids give off, really sets the tone for how the teacher treats the class. And so that would be my biggest tip to those of you who are listening is just get familiar with the kids. Yeah, everybody may not know your name, because you are primarily working with teachers and not students. But the more you can make the kids feel comfortable, the better the class will go.

Tracee Keough:

And relating it to something that they understand. I know for me, I've had lots of teachers that have introduced me, as you know how I'm your teacher, guys, well, this is a teacher that comes in and helps me make sure that I'm doing better to better support you guys. And just kind of giving them a point of reference of it being not necessarily another teacher in the room, because occasionally that will also cause that moment, like Tyler was talking about where the hair on the back of their neck stands up, and they're a little bit more worried. But giving them some context to what we're doing in there.

Katie Ritter:

Those are all really great tips, guys, thanks for those because I think that that is on a lot of teachers minds. And I've definitely seen coaches when they feel like the teacher is a little bit hesitant then they hesitate from getting in the classroom. And I can see that, you know, I've seen that be a little bit of a roadblock from people actually carrying this out. So those are excellent tips to put the the teachers and of course, our students, Thanks Tyler for bringing those back into that to help put them at ease. And so, so speaking of, you know, in terms of putting people at ease, so they don't feel like they're being evaluated, or, you know, some some type of evaluative observation in the classroom, it still is important to keep the teachers accountable. You know, and we definitely talked about getting the admin on board with coaching cycles in our first episode of this four part series, and how we really need them on board to help get teachers to sign up and get them invested in the first place. But but they, you know, these coaching cycles, and the coaches role really shouldn't be non evaluative. If you are serving in an evaluative role, you may want to talk to your admin to rethink that to get your teachers to trust you. But that's not this episode. So how do you guys as a coach, keep your admin involved in the coaching cycle and kind of keep them up to date progress teachers are making, you know, maybe if teachers need additional support, they're doing really great, whatever it may be? How do you keep those admin involved to help hold the teachers accountable, but at the same time, kind of create some sort of a barrier to keep that anonymity and trust with teachers.

Tracee Keough:

So I think you pointed out that this can be a gray area for some coaches, where they feel like they're teetering between evaluative and non evaluative and really trying to figure out where they lay in that whole world.

Katie Ritter:

Right? It's hard to even get the question out, right? I felt like I was struggling, because I'm like, this is a gray area for people.

Tracee Keough:

It can be for sure. And I think a big piece to keep in mind when you're talking with your admin as a coach is making sure you have consent from whatever teachers you're working with in that coaching cycle. Hey, this went really well or I loved our meeting today, can I share this with the admin, I really want to point out that you're going to try this again on this day after we've worked together. Ken, do you mind if I tell him to swing by your room and just see what awesome things are happening with your students and always bringing it back to the students not necessarily the teacher. So that admin has a chance to see it happening because we know admin are always very busy. And so giving them a bright spot that they can shout out a teacher or feel like okay, that they're not just taking this for granted, can really brighten things up and take the ease off of the teacher and the admin as far as you know, that gray area of relationships. It's also important on the flip side to make sure that if you are seeing something that's not supposed to be happening, that you do let admin know in a safe way, so that they can understand that because again, admin is not everywhere, every all the time. And so we do need to be looking out for those safety of our students, to keep them involved with all of that. And I also think it's important. One of the things that I know I've done with admin is through conversations of, hey, I'm seeing a lot of, you know, we need work on this is sitting down with admin and creating a Google forum, to have teachers then give feedback on different sessions they want to learn about. So it feels like it's coming from admin, we're getting some feedback, even though you as the coach might already know, these are the areas I need to push for. You still have input from everybody, including admin to build that session.

Tyler Erwin:

Yeah, I think that's really important. Tracy took a couple of the things I was going to say, but I want to build on that last one. And it is, you don't have to, like, call anyone out. But you can certainly meet with admin occasionally and say, hey, here are the trends or patterns I'm seeing in your entire staff. I feel like these sorts of topics during PE days would be really helpful, or, you know, maybe we circle back around to this topic and another staff meeting. So that's one way that you can definitely, I think, call out some of the areas you see for improvement. But I think for the most part, what we want to do in this way is share those bright spots. And let them know when we're meeting with teachers who we're meeting with that day, let them know if they pick out a goal that aligns maybe with some of the building or district goals, like, Hey, I know one of the big district goals this year is improving student engagement, you should check out what this teacher down the hall is doing her kids are absolutely loving it. They're so engaged, they're so excited when they get to do this lesson. And I think that that really speaks to administrators ears because they do have so many things on their mind. But when you start to hear, you know, they start to hear you say, Oh, this teacher is working on this, and it aligns with the building goals or the district goals, you know, that is music to their ears. And that definitely not only makes them happy, but intrigued to go visit to go see the great things that are going on. Another one would just be to, you know, shout, share out bright spots in different imaginative ways. Social media, see if the admin will loop some of those bright spots into a newsletter if they do a building newsletter, maybe some sort of email or an LMS, create a group on your learning management system to share those things out. Any way you can give credit and kudos to the teachers who are doing great things, the better. Because the admin will see that. And in some ways, they might even get some credit for it. So they're gonna love all of that the more good things you can say about their school and their staff. They're gonna love it.

Justin Thomas:

I love that idea with the building that school culture, right? So teachers start to work off with each other and kind of see what are the amazing things they're doing. And then, like you said, you put that on social media, you put on the LMS, you let the community know what's going on, and amazing things going on in your school, it continues to build that up. Now, obviously, those are some really great spots, your bright spots, as you said, but what would you say as a coach, what is the most difficult part of being in the thick of a coaching cycle.

Tyler Erwin:

So I thought about several I feel like for me, it's just keeping track of everything, and keeping everyone on track, you know, and that includes myself. And so I'm thinking back to previous coaching cycles that I've done, you know, you may have a cohort of 12 to 14 teachers, they can span across multiple buildings, multiple districts in some cases. And if you're not good about taking notes, and collecting data, and having that constant line of communication open with everyone in your cohort, you can start to lose track, you can start to mix up where this teacher is or what they were working on, or what they were supposed to bring to the table for your conversation. Or maybe what you are supposed to bring to the table, what ideas you were supposed to research or some of the things you need to accomplish before a meeting with your teacher. And so I feel like for me, it's so important to keep those dates to have some sort of schedule or calendar to find the time to visit teachers in person. Even if it's just like a little simple. Hey, don't forget we're meeting later on today. Like that's a good mental cue for both of you. Because I feel like that's the hardest part when you are in the thick of it is just to stay on track. Keep that goal in mind and keep progressing towards it with all of the different teachers that you're working with, because they all may be doing very different things.

Tracee Keough:

And if you have an amazing memory like me, where it really is terrible. Having all of those things in place that Tyler just talked about are really important. Taking really good notes, making sure you share those notes if needed with a teacher. Skip putting it in the calendar right away so that you know exactly when you're meeting and what you're going to be talking about because I know I forget what happened three days ago, let alone calm. frustration I might have had two weeks ago. The other thing I would say is probably a difficult part for me when you're in the thick of coaching cycles, is remembering that there are still other educators on campus, and you still have to be checking in with them, or helping out them on the side if they need other, you know, assistance pieces, but they're not in a coaching cycle, it's still important to build those relationships with other teachers, and educators on the site. And so juggling time between your coaching cycle and the other educators in the building to make sure that they still understand who you are and what you're doing. So that the next coaching cycle, maybe they'll sign up.

Tyler Erwin:

And I was thinking to when you were talking through all of those tips, you know, we have to remember too, that like, things come up, you know, teachers are out, or they're things that happened during a building schedule. Like you have to be flexible and adaptable, even though we do maybe have this crunch schedule of dates and times and agreements and meetings together. Having that empathy and flexibility and adaptability is key too.

Katie Ritter:

Excellent tip there, Tyler at the end, for sure. But I want to circle back around the first thing you said Tyler in terms of like having your notes in one place having data. I just want to remind listeners if you didn't listen to our episode 14 Go listen to it after this episode, we interviewed Susanna summers from connect hub, that is the tool that our team uses to track all of our notes and interactions and also serves as a means to stimulate conversation with admin from an aggregate perspective with data. So check that out. You can hear all about it and kind of the importance of data. And then also Tracy, I want to pull out just a little bit more from from what you said in terms of like having your notes potentially sharing it with a teacher, will you share what you have done because I think that you have had a really great system in the past of like, keeping notes in a place where both you and the educator has access to it.

Tracee Keough:

Sure. So something that I created when I was doing coaching cycles with multiple schools and multiple teachers, I called it the collaborative learning log. And so I would take down notes of when when we were talking of things that they felt like were going really well, things that they felt like they needed to work on to help better meet that goal that we were doing. And then the bottom two pieces to our collaborative learning log, the first one was, what their next steps were going to be as the teacher. And then the other square was what my next steps would be to help support them. So it gave us a very clear vision on what's working, what's not working, where do we go from here who's doing what, and then I would share that with them. So we each had a copy of it. And then at the bottom for my purposes, on the spreadsheet, I used Google Sheets, I would change the color of their tab. And for whatever week we were on, it would be a different color so that I knew okay, if it's blue this week, that means I have something that I need to do to help support them. Because not every coaching cycle not every time you meet with those teachers are you as the coach going to have something that you have to go back and help prep or research or get ready for that educator. So by changing the tab to blue, I knew that I needed to go back in and check on that when I had a chance not necessarily right in the moment.

Katie Ritter:

Great, thank you. Um, okay, so now both of you also kind of touched on this at the end of your answer to buy. I want to speak but or have you speak specifically to if there's any tips, or just kind of big picture ideas here? How do you balance? You know, Tracy, you said it like when you're in the coaching cycles, you have to remember, there's other educators that you're supporting, too. So any words of wisdom that you would share with other coaches on how you actually balance all of those responsibilities and manage your time between coaching cycles, and all of the other hats that you wear as a coach in schools?

Tyler Erwin:

I think for me, I had to realize that you have to guard and protect that time. And that may come down to you know, analyzing your schedule, and just seeing you know, what would be the best use of my day, what hours or of the day are going to be spent doing this or that or coaching cycles. And you really have to then stick to that the best you can. I think reflecting on like my initial coaching cycles, I had two cohorts of six, and I was at this district one day a week. And my entire purpose was to do coaching cycles, nothing else. So you would think, Oh, he doesn't have to worry about other responsibilities. But even that was too much because there I was every bell of the day, visiting with another teacher during their plan bill. So that left me no time for classroom visits left me no time for co teaching. And so even in that instance, even though my entire role there was to do formal coaching cycles, the cohorts I was too big. So first of all, guard the time, protect it, stick to your schedule. But also make sure that, you know, if you do something the first time and it doesn't go so well, or your time feels a little mismanaged or unbalanced, you know, make those adjustments for later cohorts that you do, I feel like I should have, you know, reduced the size of my cohort by 30, or 50%. Maybe work with three or four teachers instead of six, so that I had time for other things throughout the day. And so that would be my biggest encouragement to you is just guard that time and then be ready to adjust, it's not going to be perfect the very first time you try it.

Tracee Keough:

Yeah, definitely be willing to be flexible, balancing all of those parts out in your schedule, I would say a big one, as well as a coach is just remembering to include and specifically intentionally mark it on your calendar if you need to, is that time to remind yourself of what you're doing and your why behind coaching with these other educators, so that you ground yourself a little bit because I know as coaches, we can get a little lost in the school culture, or how many teachers we're working with. So just giving yourself that intentional time, once a week, once a month, whatever it needs to be to remind yourself of why you're doing things and include, you know, a chance to just breathe, because we all get a little overwhelmed and forget that if we just take a step back and and intentionally breathe for a few minutes, it's all going to be okay. And also to include moments where you can celebrate teachers, even in the small wins, like, hey, we had this meeting last week. And I know you were really anxious and nervous about being able to try this piece or find time to research this, but you did it. And that's great. And you're doing it. So just reminding them, even of the small pieces for both parties can be super important to balancing things.

Justin Thomas:

And I think even trying to just create kind of a schedule to I know, this is something that I'm trying to plan with, with coaching cycles, not trying to run Google, you know, certification sessions and everything, but just almost trying to set up kind of a week like this is our coaching cycle week. And you know, things happen outside of that that's okay. But um, we're going to really try to stick to this because this is my week dedicated for the coaching cycles, and the next week is dedicated to Google certification. So I think even to coming up with kind of an idea or strategy that way is really perfect. I mean, you you've heard it so many times hitting it on Google, Google Calendar, right? Get it up there on Google Calendar, CC, and you can know what's going on with it. So I think that's really super important. Our next question here is really what do you do to ensure that teachers achieve success and have a positive experience throughout the cycle? Because if teachers don't have that positive experience, they're not going to, you know, recommend it to another teacher? So how do you really make it to the teacher feels that is worthwhile and get successful at the end?

Tracee Keough:

I would say for me, the biggest thing that I try to remember every year is just being their biggest cheerleader, being in their corner for the ups and the downs, reminding them that they are making a difference no matter how small it is. And also holding them accountable for their goals. And you know, showing them that even in the smallest pieces, they are moving towards that success in that goal. Whether it's listening to their concerns and their down moments, or celebrating even the smallest greatness that's happening, just being their cheerleader, in their corner where they know there's no evaluation behind it, there's no outward, you know, things coming in, I'm not being paid extra to tell you great things, that it's truly sincere and listening to listen, when they are talking, not just listening to respond to their needs. And I think for me, that's the biggest thing is making sure it's a positive experience for them, is supporting them in all the ways.

Unknown:

I love that. I want you to be my coach.

Tyler Erwin:

I want Tracy Tracy is my cheerleader as well, I think that'd be awesome. I think for me, I thought about this for a while. Because I don't know everybody's experience can be different in a coaching cycle. But I feel like for me, the one thing I want them to recognize is yes, the coaching cycle is a finite amount of time, you know, six or eight weeks or however long you do it. But the habits they build and the behaviors they change that should really never stop. You know, we're as coaches we are trying to change behavior. And so that's what I want them to see is like yes, you tried some of these things out you met this goal. You had this problem of practice that hopefully we came up with a solution for but how can you use that same thinking that same mindset for the next thing you have to encounter for the next challenge that you have to overcome? And so for me if I kind of like feel like I've instilled that confidence in them, and I can see I don't know there were they themselves feel like okay, this was successful. Like I have grown I can see the tangible growth my in myself. That to me makes it a successful coaching cycle. And I start to see the change in behavior in the as well. And that's really an awesome thing to see. So that would be the biggest thing for me is, you know, just trying to let them know that yes, this is a temporary cycle but doesn't have to stop here. You can keep growing even after this ends,

Tracee Keough:

isn't there some unwritten rule of like, it takes 21 days to make a new habit happen? Yeah. So that's kind of your coaching, the beginning of your coaching style cycles is to get through that 21 days of changing their habits and ways. Oh, okay. Well, you

Katie Ritter:

guys have given us so many good tips. So I'm going to top you with this last question challenge here. But if you could give us your top three tips for managing coaching cycles when you are in the thick of it in the coaching cycle,

Tracee Keough:

Tyler is going to read off our three favorite top tips.

Katie Ritter:

What do you mean, read off?

Tracee Keough:

You guys, we just asked you these? Well, he's going to go through the top three tips that we believe I'm just joking,

Katie Ritter:

collaborative questions,

Tyler Erwin:

right, we know, we did kind of think about these, this one kept coming up over and over again, map out a schedule and stick to it. That is key to maximizing coaching cycles and surviving the thick of it. The second one, keep in constant communication with the teachers and your cohort. And I do not mean to be an email warrior, yes, you got to send out some emails, you got to send out some things in your LMS. But like go in person, it doesn't just have to be during your scheduled meetings, pop in and say hello, remind them that you're meeting later on in the day, be kind of that ally throughout the whole process, and keep the channel of communication open. And then the third one, I think is the most important, don't get too bogged down with over planning. When I first did coaching cycles, we spent so much time planning and planning and tweaking and looking at their old lessons and making these little adjustments. And I didn't spend an equal amount of time in their classroom. I didn't spend an equal amount of time, you know, doing observations and co teaching and then reflecting with them on how it went. And so yeah, they might have had this wonderful, awesomely planned lesson that they could have printed out and handed to their administrator. But what were the results? Where was the growth? What sort of reflective conversations that we have, in my first iterations of coaching cycles, maybe not very much. And so that would be my advice, is however much time you spend planning and tweaking the lesson that is working towards your goal, spend an equal amount of time doing the implementation, the co teaching the observations and the reflection, because that's where the real growth is.

Justin Thomas:

I mean, they talked it, they hit all these different tips. I'll tell you what, you know, you guys putting those together that don't be like a tech coach collaborative, right? In a way. Yeah.

Katie Ritter:

That's what we're here for.

Justin Thomas:

That's what we're here for. So it's all good, you guys, you know, put it together. Alright, so any final thoughts that you want to put out there, and then you guys have covered a lot of really good content. But if there's anything else that was on your mind, before we wrap up our episode here.

Tyler Erwin:

I think for me, you know, this lesson or this not this lesson, this this podcast recording that we're doing has this theme of like in the thick of it, this is the most fun part of coaching, like you want to be in the thick of it can be a little stressful. And teachers may pull you in a million different directions. But I'm telling you, if you haven't done formal coaching cycles yet being in the thick of it is what our role is meant to be. So make the plans, put it in place. And do it because you're gonna enjoy every second of it.

Katie Ritter:

Love that.

Tracee Keough:

Yeah, what I was gonna say, enjoy the moment. Be in it when you're in the thick of it. I

Justin Thomas:

mean, this is the journey, right? You plan for the journey, and it's finally here, and it's always exciting. So awesome. Well, Tracy Tyler, thank you for coming on on this episode here. Tune in next time for our final episode of this four part series entitled time to shine. Well, I'm Tyler Irwin, once again. Yes. Yeah. Yeah,

Unknown:

I'll be back. He'll be back.

Justin Thomas:

Like Arnold Schwarzenegger is gonna be back here and he's gonna be joined by another person that has done a mini series with us. That's Brooke Conklin. So she'll be with him as well as we discuss how to bring our coaching cycles to a glorious, close and celebrate the amazing progress that educators have made. So be sure Be sure to tune in next two weeks from here.

Katie Ritter:

Next two weeks. I like that. That's how I start referring. next two weeks, the next two weeks,

Justin Thomas:

tune in in two weeks there's to me.

Katie Ritter:

I we're at it. Since you have from here until two weeks before our next episode. Please be sure to subscribe to restart recharge wherever you listen to your podcast, and we would be very appreciative if you'd drop us Sound rating and review to help other educators find our podcasts. And you can also follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at our our coach cast.

Justin Thomas:

And also feel free to reach out to us on social media use better grammar than I used to discuss what are the topics that you want us to cover as we continue on with our restart recharge podcast.

Katie Ritter:

So press the restart button

Justin Thomas:

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

Katie Ritter:

A tech coach collective

Justin Thomas:

hopefully, yeah. Hopefully there's no like little Oompa Loompas running around our idea factories.