How have you embraced the evolving role of the educator? What would you add or revise in the graphic shared in chapter 1?
This graphic from Katie Martin’s Learner-Centered Innovation inspired me to consider how I have embraced the evolving role of the educator…through the lens of an instructional coach and professional developer. How am I supporting teachers in embracing this evolving role? And how might this role continue to evolve in the future?
Co-Designer of Powerful Learning. Whether it’s trying out a new app on the iPad or working through rich problems in math, it’s essential that teachers are given time, with their team, to experience the type of learning we want for our students, and plan ways to apply it immediately in their classroom. As Katie Martin writes, learning experiences must be “authentic, participatory and relevant.” Next evolution? I would like to find ways (and time) for interdisciplinary planning, so that Art teachers can design learning experiences to connect with math, and STEM can connect to social studies.
Partner in Learning. The most powerful message a school can send to the community is that we are all learners here. As a coach, I strive to be transparent in my learning, and always share new ideas and resources I am learning about. Teachers should do the same with their students. We don’t need to be the expert – it’s okay to learn with and from our students! I’m a much better teacher today, because I have had the opportunity to observe teachers and learn from them.
Community Developer. As a coach, building relationships and establishing trust is essential. I want teachers to feel that their ideas are heard and valued. Sometimes, my initial thought to a new and innovative idea is, “We’ve never done it that way” or “I don’t have the power to make that decision.” But, as Katie Martine writes, “change is hard.” And that means having hard conversations. Every idea, every innovation, and every iteration can bring us closer to the ideal learning environment we want for our students.
Connector. I love connecting teachers – whether it’s connecting a 2nd grade teacher and a 5th grade who are both interested in Genius Hour, or it’s introducing a STEM teacher to educators from other schools. Isolation is not an option – for teachers or for students. Twitter has been a game-changer for me, but many teachers don’t see the value. I worry that if they don’t see the value of building a global PLN for themselves, that they will not see the value in it for their students. Next evolution? Be a PLN match-maker! I could help teachers begin their global PLN and find at least one person for them to connect with – someone who will push their thinking and share resources to inspire them.
Activator. My primary goal as a coach is to activate teacher passions. One way to do this is with The Professional Passion Project. First, teachers identify a passion, or something they want to learn more about – something that will have a positive impact on their students. Then, teachers ask questions and seek answers through action research and collaboration. The final step is to share what was learned and next steps. Teachers need to have ownership of their learning, so that they can do what is best for their students. There are so many resources out there for educators – I don’t need to deliver content to them. My hope is to spark a curiosity and drive within teachers to find their own ideas, and know that I will be there to support their learning along the way.
Teachers will not be able to evolve as an educator until they experience innovative and transformational learning for themselves.