Are you an instructional coach? If so, have you encountered teachers who don’t think they need your services? You know, that old, cranky teacher whom you assume pulls out the same copy of a lesson plan each year because they’ve “always done it this way;” the teacher who doesn’t jump at every new app or piece of hardware, the teacher who eyerolls when new methods are introduced with more excitement than practice? Before you make assumptions about why that teacher is resistant, here are some questions, in no particular order, you might want to be ready to answer before you walk into this teacher’s classroom:
- Do you know my students? What do you know about each one? Who doesn’t have a home, or supportive parents? Who usually comes to school without breakfast and isn’t sure where dinner will come from? Who has a family member with a terminal illness and spends time caring for that person? What learning differences does each student have? Who would stop coming to school if forced to read out loud in class?
- What do you know about my content area? What is your teaching experience in that area?
- What evidence of differentiation will you look for in my classroom? What will you suggest if you don’t see this evidence?
- What new strategy are you planning to model, and why are you choosing that strategy?
- What is the instructional sequence I am using? How does it meet the needs of each of my students?
- Who are my edu-heros, and why? (Who are your edu-heros, and why?)
- What evidence of a safe, fair, equitable, and challenging learning environment would you expect to see? What, specifically, will you suggest if you don’t see this evidence?
- What is your experience in curriculum design, particularly UbD and PBL?
- Are you trained in cognitive coaching?
- What evidence will you look for to show that I am meeting each of the 5 Core Propositions?*
- What evidence will you look for that demonstrates my implementation of the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching?*
- And finally, what is the title of my dissertation? You may paraphrase the title, but you’ll want to be able to describe my findings. Why are the findings important in my practice?
If you can answer these questions, we will likely be able to have a conversation about my practice. If you can’t, we have some work to do together first.
*If you aren’t familiar with these terms, you have found the best place to start.