Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Reflect. Revise. Recommit.

You can always tell when the school year is coming to an end. Not only because the kids remind you on a daily basis, "Only 20 days left," but also because the principal hands you your end of the year packet. The packet includes a detailed schedule of end of the year events, parent letters, media inventories, furniture inventories, promotion cards, portfolio contents, student tracking sheets, cum folder reviews, and coaches and principals surveys. An entire package to keep you organized and on track, to remind you that you only have a few weeks left to complete all your tasks, and to help you take a few critical moments to reflect and give feedback.

To be honest, it is one of my favorite times. The time to reflect on my own year of coaching and ask three questions:
O What did I do well this year?
O What did I not do well?
O What am I going to change for next year?

My self-reflection is only part of this process. The coaches' and Principal's surveys the teachers are asked to respond to are another essential tool. The coaches' survey includes some questions that are meant to be answered by circling-- disagree, somewhat disagree, somewhat agree, agree, and n/a. Questions include:

O Teacher Meeting topics were relevant and helped improve student achievement.
O Coach was knowledgeable and always prepared for Teacher Meetings.
O Team members were respectful and professional during meetings.
O I felt my voice was heard and respected at meetings.
O My coach was available & helpful when I needed to discuss issues or concerns.
Other, more open ended questions, on the coaches' survey include:

O Name one specific topic from a teacher meeting or WOW Day that changes your instructional practice.
O Name one specific thing you took from a demonstration lesson which enhanced your classroom practice.
O Name one thing you learned from reading a colleagues' bulletin board.
O What is one topic you'd like to see covered in Teacher Meetings next year?
O Were you ever asked to do a demo lesson for a visitor group? If yes, what did you learn from the experience? Would you do it again?
O Did you volunteer to do a videos tram to the Schultz Center this year? What did you learn from the experience? If not, are you willing?
O Are you interest in serving as a literacy or math coach?
When I've reflected on my own, gotten feedback from the teachers, and had countless conversations with my other coaching colleagues, I feel a sense of completeness that allows me to forge ahead to the upcoming year. To reflect, to revise, and to recommit. I can establish new goals.

The other reflection tool, the Principal's survey, is published for all staff by the principal and used to allow all to reflect on the year and grow as a learning community. Questions on the Principal's survey include:

O I think the best thing that happened at CCE this year was:
O The best thing I did in my class/position this year was:
O Next year, my number one objective will be:
O An idea I would like to see developed for next year is:
O Professional Development training and/or experiences I would like to have:
O If I could throw one dart (criticism) and give one laurel (praise) within the school for this year it would be:
O Mrs. Phillips, I need you to:
O Ms. Perry, I need you to:
O Mrs. Shall, I need you to:
How fortunate I am to work in a community where we reflect, we refocus, we revise, and we recommit to making the new year the best ever!

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