Saturday, October 30, 2021

How to Find Your Voice and Talk About What's Important with Dr. Heather Michel, Ep. 83 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Finding a way to talk about sensitive topics can be challenging for instructional coaches. On episode 83 of The Coaching Podcast, Dr. Heather Michel joins me to discuss how to find your voice and talk about what’s important. She offers advice on how to approach tough subjects while making teachers and administrators feel at ease. Listen for instructional coaching tips to help you communicate effectively with your team.

Are you struggling to find your voice when talking to teachers and administrators?

As instructional coaches, we see many issues and don't always know how to have conversations with our team about them. We're afraid that making waves might cause problems and make others not want us around anymore.

It can be hard to find our voice and talk about what's important.

Dr. Heather Michel joins me on this episode of The Coaching Podcast to talk about finding your voice so you can make a big impact with those you coach. She discusses how she started addressing challenging topics and communicating with the staff.

How to Find Your Voice and Talk About What's Important

During our conversation, Dr. Michel explained that she addressed challenging topics by building relationships with her team. Once teachers were comfortable telling her about their experiences, they would usually offer things they needed to work on. She grew her relationship with the team and it moved the work forward.

Another suggestion she has for finding your voice is having a three-point conversation using data. Try having a conversation where it’s you, the teacher, and a third artifact. It can be a picture of student work or anything that you can look at. This takes the pressure off the two people involved and deflects the energy into something more tangible.

The Importance of Self-Reflection

On the call, we chat about why coaches and teachers need to be reflective about their biases and perspectives. Let’s face it, we all have work to do on this front and self-reflection puts us in a learning position.

If we have discussions around bias with teachers, we will have the language to talk about it and the context to do that work. It also helps ensure everyone is operating off the same knowledge base when talking about important topics.

Meeting people where they are and then pushing their thinking can be difficult because everybody is in a different place. We all have misconceptions about what people think and that makes it challenging as well.

Most teachers have noble intentions. They want to do the right things and make an impact. But it can be challenging because there is a constant stream of new information and buzzwords.

Being reflective can make a big difference, especially when taking in new information at odds with something you thought you knew. Having a place to share your thinking and basic information adds to that knowledge base.

Helping Teachers Find Their Purpose!

Dr. Michel says everything goes back to identity and purpose. This includes biases as well as the teaching and personal experiences you bring to the role. 

Teacher retention is a huge problem right now across the country. When teachers have a clear purpose, they stay in the education field. Instructional coaches can help teachers find their purpose.

There are going to be hard days when teachers want to give up and leave the profession. Helping our teachers think through their purpose so it's crystal clear will make it easier to stay.

To find purpose, teachers need to identify what brought them to teaching. Teachers that stick it out for the long haul are the ones that can articulate a clear sense of purpose. It serves them better if they can identify a purpose outside of themselves, like social equality or something else important to them.

When teachers have a purpose that is bigger than them, it keeps them coming back to work. With a clear purpose, teachers can get through the day-to-day stuff and that keeps them in education. They will have something they’re trying to accomplish that is bigger than any one moment in time.

Being an instructional coach isn't easy. You’re always trying to find the right balance between supporting teachers and staying true to your own beliefs. If you want to learn more about how to find your voice and talk about what's important be sure to check out the entire episode.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!







Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Using Rubrics for Feedback with Gretchen Bridgers, Ep. 82 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Have you tried using rubrics for feedback? On episode 82 of The Coaching Podcast, I’m joined by Gretchen Bridgers from Always a Lesson. We talk about using a teacher evaluation rubric to set up structures and focus our instructional coaching work. She explains how to introduce this tool to the team and why it leads to more meaningful conversations with teachers. Listen to learn how instructional coaches can use rubrics with teachers.

Teachers don't always know what instructional coaches are looking for during visits. This can be overwhelming and frustrating for teachers.

A rubric can take away some uncertainty and provides a framework for coaching.

Using rubrics for feedback helps instructional coaches have more authentic conversations with teachers about what they saw during the lesson.

My guest on this episode of The Coaching Podcast is Gretchen Bridgers from Always a Lesson. She’s here to talk about all things rubrics!

Using Rubrics for Feedback

Giving feedback after a classroom visit can be stressful for coaches and teachers. Not having a framework for what you're working on increases tension for everyone.

On this episode, Gretchen shares how using a rubric can help set up structures for coaching. With clear guidelines, it’s much easier to give feedback to teachers and have them reflect on their work.

One mistake that many coaches make when debriefing is doing all the legwork for the teachers. Gretchen admits she used to do this but started inserting a teacher reflection between when she saw them last and when they would meet.

This one change helped shift the conversation and how teachers showed up to talk with her. Teachers would use the rubric to reflect on what they did and where to improve. They would come prepared to the meeting and that leads to more authentic discussions.

Benefits of Teacher Rubrics

There are many advantages to using a rubric with teachers. Gretchen explains how rubrics provide a common language to talk about the work done in the building. They can help the staff have a clearer understanding of the expectations.

Using a rubric as an evaluation tool contributes to a feeling of clarity and reduces teacher overwhelm. It empowers the teachers and gives them more control to tweak their teaching to move up levels. With a rubric in place, it's clear what you are doing or what you aren't doing, and the degree to which you're doing it well.

How and When to Use Rubrics with Teachers

Rubrics may be needs-based or focus on a specific subject area or skill. Teachers should be encouraged to give input on rubrics because this collaboration will lead to less resistance and better student outcomes.

During the episode, we talked about how setting clear and measurable benchmarks makes teachers feel safer. Gretchen also explains how she structures the debriefing and uses guiding questions.

This episode is full of information about using rubrics, introducing them to teachers, and how to use them effectively. Rubrics may be the missing piece that empowers your coaching work and the teachers' work as well.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Learn more



confident-literacy-coach

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, October 16, 2021

How Not to Be One More Thing, Ep. 81 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Recently we've seen a lot of changes in education and teachers are overwhelmed. The need for instructional coaches has never been greater, but we don’t want to make teachers feel like coaching is another thing on their plate. On episode 81 of The Coaching Podcast, I give you four instructional coaching tips to help you be the support that teachers need right now. I share instructional coaching ideas to shift your mindset so you can help teachers grow.

There have been a lot of challenges in the education world over the last few years. 

Teachers are feeling overwhelmed because they have more responsibilities than ever before.

Instructional coaches can feel like we are one more thing on their plate. This makes us reluctant to step into classrooms and do the work that we are there to do.

It’s especially hard for new coaches to figure out how to get into classrooms when teachers are not seeking them out. 

So, I want to share a mindset shift that will change the way you approach your coaching work with teachers.

Stop thinking of yourself as one more thing on a teacher's plate and instead see yourself as a problem-solving support person.

All of the obstacles that teachers are facing are the exact reason they need your support. There are so many new things that teachers are facing, and we can help them find solutions.

They need our perspective, they need our experience, and they need our problem-solving abilities. Many times, teachers get stuck in their bubble and all they can see is their issues.

As an instructional coach, you can show them another path and give them new ideas because you have the experience of seeing other classes. You have the benefit and freedom to think beyond individual challenges to see the big picture. This is what many teachers need to gain perspective and finally solve their problems.

How can instructional coaches do this? How do we act bravely and decide that we are going to start coaching in these classrooms?

First, I want you to reframe your thinking about your coaching work. Coaching is not about fixing anyone or making them do things differently. It’s about supporting them as they grow as an educator.

Getting started might feel scary. There’s always a reason to be afraid. Instead of embracing the fear, let’s focus on the reasons that we are positive support people.

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I share four different ways you can be the instructional coach support your teachers need right now. These are things you can do that will move you into that coaching role so you can serve your teachers today.

1. Listen beyond the frustration and the anxiety that teachers are sharing to hear what they are saying. Find out where teachers are coming from so that you can understand what they need from you. Also, try not to take what they say personally - not everything is about you.

2. Be the resource that they need right now. Identify where teachers are struggling the most and offer your support.

3. Make every meeting or interaction result in something useful. We’ve all been to those meetings that didn’t really serve us. We want teachers to walk away with a tool or resource they can use that saves them time, not things they won’t use right away.

4. Listen for opportunities to turn complaints into goals. This is one of my favorite recommendations because once I figured it out, everything changed for me. Listen to what teachers say, validate it, and then flip it into a goal they can potentially work on.

Those are my four biggest tips for how not to be one more thing for already overwhelmed teachers. If you want to get all the details for how you can begin implementing them in your coaching work, be sure to listen to the episode.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!



Coffee and Coaching Membership

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, October 9, 2021

Coaching Call: Getting in the Door with a Defined Role and Purpose with Liz DeVargas Almeida Ep. 80 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

It’s not always easy to get your foot in the door as an instructional coach. On this coaching call, I chat with Liz DeVargas Almeida about coaching teachers of English Language Learners (ELL). We discuss some of the challenges she’s facing and how to get support from the administration. Liz and I talk about defining your instructional coaching role and purpose. Listen to learn how to use an instructional coaching menu to help teachers understand what supports you offer.
Ever wish you had someone to listen to your coaching struggles and give you a different perspective?

Or maybe you’re stuck and want to get some new ideas?

That’s why I started these coaching calls. I wanted to have frank discussions about the highs and the lows of being an instructional coach with people out there in the field.

On this coaching call, Liz DeVargas Almeida and I talk about the challenges she’s having getting in the door with some teachers. Liz is an academic coach working with teachers of English Language Learners (ELL).

During the call, we talk about common problems for coaches. We brainstorm ideas for getting support from the administration and how to get invited into classrooms. We talk about what to do when you're being pulled in different directions and how to make sure the stakeholders know your coaching role.

We discuss strategies including using a coaching menu and having model classrooms to validate the effectiveness of coaching work.

Challenges for Instructional Coaches

Many coaches get thrown into their role without having a framework set up or structures in place. We build the plane as we fly it and that can be difficult.

This is a timeless and evergreen problem with coaching. It’s even more pronounced now with fewer coaches and everyone expected to take on broader roles. 

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, Liz and I chat about how her role has been fluidly defined or undefined. We also talk about getting the administration to support the work she is there to do on campus.

One of Liz's biggest issues is that she can't visit classrooms unless she’s invited, and the administration is not making it happen. They say it would be nice, but they don’t require it.

There is no culture of coaching or implementation. Teachers might use what they learn, but maybe they don’t. It can be hard to gain traction with all the mixed messages.

Since Liz is not being brought into the classrooms to see lessons taught, a data walk can be a good alternative. On these data walks, you read the walls and make observations. You take note of the artifacts in the room.

Depending on your school culture, you could go in before or after school to do these walks. It’s often better to go in when teachers are not teaching because it’s less stressful for them.

On the walk, you would look around the room using the data for the school. You then meet with the administration to let them know what you saw in the rooms. From there, you create an action plan.

What to Do When You Are Pulled in a Million Different Directions

One of the most common challenges as a coach is being pulled to do things not in your original job description. When there were staff shortages or around testing time, I would get asked to do other things.

Liz shares on the call that she gets asked to do student intervention work on top of her coaching responsibilities. This is something that I was asked to do, and I came up with a few ideas to do both at the same time. 

1. Take your group on tour – When I worked with a small group of kids for intervention, I would take my group on tour to other classrooms. I would let the teacher know in advance that I would be working with my group of students. The teacher could observe me modeling and trying out a new strategy while my group got the intervention.

2. Make videos of teaching strategies – A video library is a great form of support. You can record lessons taught during intervention work. Then teachers can watch the videos on their schedules.

3. Push in, instead of pulling out the students  – When all the students come from the same classroom you can work with them in their room. This gives you a chance to model for the teacher while providing intervention.

This episode has a lot of information to support your coaching work. Be sure to check out the entire episode to get all my tips.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

Helpful resources


Coffee and Coaching Membership

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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Saturday, October 2, 2021

Video Coaching: The Nitty Gritty with Cory Camp, Ep. 79 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

What are the benefits of using video coaching with teachers? On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, video coach Cory Camp joins me to discuss video-enhanced coaching. We talk about how instructional coaches can use video with their teams. She shares what a video coaching cycle looks like on campus and how to overcome common objections. Listen to the entire episode to learn actionable strategies, including what tools she uses for this type of virtual professional development.

Have you considered using video coaching?

Wondering what it might look like in action?

On this episode of The Coaching Podcast, I talk with Cory Camp of Sibme about using video coaching with teachers. We discuss what a video coaching cycle looks like and the tools instructional coaches can use to capture lessons.

My guest Cory is an expert on virtual coaching. Her use of video started organically when she began recording herself while teaching. She is now a consultant and video coach.

Cory’s mission is to help teachers reflect, see themselves, and have that "aha" while watching videos of their teaching practice. She says the beauty of video is that it gives a different perspective and lets teachers see themselves teaching in a new light.

What is Video Coaching?

It’s just what you would think it is – teachers recording themselves while teaching. They go through an entire coaching cycle.

One advantage of video-enhanced coaching is that the learner has more ownership and equity in the coaching conversations. Since the teacher reviews their lesson before sending it to the coach, they reflect on what they see on the video.

It’s like they’re coaching themselves and building capacity without the coach having to do all the observations. This makes a big impact.

Getting Started with Video Coaching

Cory and I discuss how she begins using video with teachers. To start she asks them for an introductory video and tour of their classroom. This is low stakes, and she shares a video of her office with them too.

She then asks them to record a lesson but doesn’t have the teacher send it to her. It’s for them to get familiar with the technology and get comfortable on camera.

During our chat, she explains how to set goals and the types of focus questions she asks her staff. She recommends the questions in the book, The Coaching Habit by Michael Bungay Stanier, to help guide teachers.

How Video Coaching Improves Student Learning

With video-enhanced coaching, Cory prefers getting small snapshots. She explains how she’s able to do heavy coaching using short video clips with a specific focus.

It’s important to give guiding questions to teachers. Otherwise, they may just focus on how they look and sound.

During the episode, Cory shares what a regular week looks like as a virtual coach. She guides us through a typical video coaching cycle and discusses the impact on observable practices.

She explains how using video allows her to see more teachers than she could in person. The teacher records their lesson and sends it when convenient. It removes scheduling conflicts, which are so common in schools.

Cory shares tips for how she gets reluctant teachers to try video coaching. She also gives suggestions for how to make sure teachers are being legally compliant and keeping student information safe when using video.

Video coaching has many benefits. One advantage is that it makes conferences more meaningful. The teachers have watched their lesson and have a better idea of where they would like to take the conversation. That gives them much more ownership and buy-in.

Obstacles to Video Coaching and How to Overcome Them

Video coaching can be a great way to frame coaching but may leave the teacher feeling vulnerable. A lot of teachers feel that it’s more high stakes than a traditional observation because there is a documented recording of them.

Another thing with video-enhanced coaching is you've got to be focused and meaningful for it to be effective. Otherwise, you're giving yourself and your teachers more work by having too much to look at.

During the episode, Cory shares some ideas for how to overcome these barriers and help teachers have a positive experience with video coaching.

Want to Learn More About Video Coaching?

Video-enhanced coaching might be the untapped source of support you are looking for to move your teachers forward. Listen to the entire episode to learn all about using video in your instructional coaching practice.

This interview left me so energized that I want to recruit people to try this with right now!

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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Helpful resources

https://www.coffeeandcoachingmembership.com/

Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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