Thursday and Friday I attended an incredible training by Steve Barkley. If you haven’t heard of him, get to know him. If you have heard of him and haven’t attended one of his sessions then get going and attend one. As a coach, this is one of those must attend events.

What I learned is forever going to change how I look at the coaching process and teaching, in general. I know this is true and, from talking to the other coaches in attendance, I know others felt the same.

 Here are 20 things mentioned in these two days that caused me to stop and ponder:

  1. How can your teachers trust each other if they’ve never been in each others’ classrooms?
  2. Are your teachers a franchise or are they a team?
  3. Department Heads should be the model classroom.   
  4. When using rubrics have the “top” line be created by the students.
  5. Students cause student achievement. Teachers do not cause student achievement. Therefore, coaches need to focus on students when they observe.  
  6. You can’t teach a student math. You teach a student how to learn math.
  7. Teachers should use their inclusion teachers to model expected behaviors, thinking, and discussions.
  8. Schools should do Emotional Walkthroughs. On a 1 – 5 scale what is the emotional level of each classroom?
  9. When you walk through your school, how many Wow!’s to you get?
  10. If students complete the exact work assigned they should get a “C.” Go Beyond that for a “B” and go above B-work for an “A.”
  11. A student’s major work shouldn’t be graded until the end of semester or year and students should have multiple opportunities to revise/edit.
  12. Students should be exposed to more book options. One teacher put 5 books on each of 20 tables at beginning of the school year. Students rotated, table to table, and scored the books based upon interest. At the end of one class period they had seen 100 books and should have seen a few that met with their satisfaction.
  13. The hardest part of teaching is when the students aren’t there.
  14. Coaches, you have been hired by your school to change kid’s behaviors.
  15. Homework should never be the same for the entire class.
  16. Teachers should have a 3 year commitment to kids: Spend time with them the year before they come to you. Spend time with all of the students on your grade level. Then spend time with them the year after you have them to see how they are doing.
  17. We tend to do vertical alignment without the students.
  18. Instructional coaches should be evaluated on the teacher growth during the year.
  19. We were hired to bring discomfort to our school. We want a culture where our teachers are comfortable with discomfort.
  20. The biggest coaching mistake is to let teachers know what the coach is thinking before the coach knows what the teacher is thinking.

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