Saturday, October 21, 2017

Confessions of a Newbie Coach: Everything Came Crumbling Down!

"One of those days!" 

                     "What does that even mean?"

Oh you know, nothing seems to go your way. Your good ideas seem to be washed down the drain. What you thought would be a hit, barely gets a reaction. Past experiences hinder forward movement. Someone's actions create an internal storm that just makes everything you've worked so hard to cultivate violently come crumbling down. 

Meanwhile, you... well.... you feel like eating a pint of ice cream. 

Did I stumble? Ummmm, I think it was more like I fell down three flights of stairs type of thing! While I didn't go get that pint of ice cream, I did have some Halloween candy instead! 

Seriously though, I didn't let the outcomes of this week keep me down. I had a pep talk with someone I admire, I went online did some research on things that make my heart content, created my #CelebrateMonday newsletter, and went home to enjoy the evening with my daughters. 

Today, I got up just as excited as I have been these past few weeks and attended another #EdCamp. I once again feel balanced and all is good in my universe. As I reflect on the events of this week, I realize that this is all part of the process. 
In order to grow, you must experience failure. If you take the time to go over the reasons why things didn't go according to plan, to look at possible alternatives, to learn from your mistakes, you'll grow as both an individual and a professional. 

Failing forward builds character and courage.  It creates the resiliency necessary to persevere in difficult and uncomfortable situations. This is why they say that "all things are difficult before they are easy." I believe in myself and my ability to share my passion for educating with others. I can fall twenty times, but I will always get back up.

I am looking forward to next week! 

Peace and love, 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Personal Reflection on Laying the Foundation for Innovation #IMMOOC Week 3

As stated in my last post, I erroneously equated innovation with only the use of technology.  I now comprehend that while technology can be a component of innovation, being an innovative leader requires much more than the inclusion of Smart TVs, learning websites, tablets and PCs.

I like the info graphic George Courus created (included above) as it visually demonstrates the necessary components for creating a strong foundation that supports innovation and innovative leadership.

My commitment to learning has led me to spend the last few months preparing for my new role in education. I have read, discussed, and asked many questions that have led me to this point. As I write this blog, I have been an instructional coach for exactly six weeks. I must admit that it hasn't all been peaches and cream. I have learned valuable lessons about leadership, commitment, priorities and loyalty.

I am learning to rely on my strengths and knowledge to support those I have the pleasure to coach. However, I am not afraid to admit when I am uncertain of an answer or when I am not familiar with a subject. I believe that by demonstrating the fact that I may not have all the answers but am willing to research and locate them, I am modeling that we are all learners and that learning is power.

Over the last few weeks, I have learned to put myself out there. At times it has been a little scary. I wondered what others would think of my ideas. I feared the "talk and the chatter" that comes with things that are different. I have since overcome my fear. Sharing my ideas is part of being an innovative leader.

So what happens if one of my ideas doesn't cut it? I used to be afraid of failure. That is no longer the case. I've since learned the term "failing forward". The idea is simple: there is always something to learn from your mistakes.  This whole way of looking at failures is derived from John Maxwell, author of "Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones". Since I adopted this way of looking at failure, I am not afraid to take innovative risks. If they are duds, I revisit, make it better, and try again! I view failures as opportunities for growth.

Lastly, by taking innovative risks and sharing my ideas, I believe that I am working toward establishing a culture of collaboration and that I am creating meaningful learning experiences for my colleagues. While I know that it takes time to build relationships and establish trust, I am very happy with the feedback I have received from those I have worked with. In the beginning, I was hesitant and worried that I may not live up to their standards, but that's because I failed to realize that my success is contingent upon our collaborative work. Together we achieve success. That is the beauty of coaching!

Peace and love,

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Change in Mindset #IMMOOC Week 3 Blog Post

What is one thing that you used to do in education 

that you no longer do or believe in? Why the change?

Original Mindset
I have been an educator for the past ten years. I must say that for about the first half of my educational career, I strongly believed that professional development was a school district's job. After all, they were the ones that set goals and standards of achievement for their educators to follow. So why wouldn't they be the ones responsible for providing teachers with PD? The truth is that all school districts provide their teachers with PD. The issue is that state mandates and initiatives dictate many of the district PD topics. This leaves very little room for personalized district PD or PD that educators find relevant.

Change in Mindset
Over the last four to five years, I found myself spending my summers researching and reading about new strategies that can help me meet the needs of my diverse group of students. I created materials based on what I learned. I executed the strategies, kept what worked, and got rid of what didn't. By doing this, I learned that I can take charge of my own professional development. There is so much I can do on my own that can yield the professional growth needed to excel in my career. 

I want to promote the advantages of taking charge of your PD. A few weeks ago, I attended my first EdCamp. I must say that I am in love with the amount of learning and educational chatter that goes on in these things. I loved it so much that I am attending another one next weekend and one in November.  There's just something magical about gathering in a room full of educators and talking about education.  I also love Twitter chats as a form of PD. I gain a lot of insight from the educators I follow and the chats I participate in. Lastly, I devote twenty minutes per day reading something educational.
So to answer the question with more clarity, I used to wait for opportunities that provided me with professional growth. Now, if there's an issue I'd like to address or a skill I want to learn or improve upon, I seize the moment and go find my own answers! There's a whole world full of educators who are passionate and love to share their passion. I believe it is the educator's responsibility to seek opportunities of professional growth.

Peace and Love,