Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Activity Reports

My last post gave you a general overview of the role of an instructional coach. Five of the roles were marked with asterisks which signify that they are power roles, and a great majority of my time should be concentrated in these areas. One category not defined as a power role, but still included was the role of accountability. You may ask, "What does that mean?" Well, in my district, an instructional coach is funded in part by the district. To hold coach's accountable for their time and to report our benefit to our school board, our district decided that coaches would keep an Activity Report. The report, created on an EXCEL spreadsheet, allows the coach to log the date, activity, and the coaching role in which they are serving. The Instructional Coaches' Activity Reports are submitted each month to our district's professional development site and the data compiled in a complete report to our school board. Although, you can't read this well, you may be able to make out that Column 1 includes the date, Column 2 the amount of hours logged (each 15 minutes), Column 3 the activity, Column 4 my school number, and Column 5 the role in which I served. What you see here is a four day snapshot.

Last year, the simple excel sheet, like the one above, seemed like an extra burden in an already overcrowded scheduled. Due in part, I suppose, because I never took the time to sort the data and analyze how I was really spending my time. Therefore, I used the tool in compliance mode. This year, with the new spreadsheet which includes a tab for each month, a summary report, monthly graphs, and a yearly graph, I've attempted to move from compliance to commitment. Ok, I admit, commitment might be stretching it, because I don't know anyone who wants to log what they do every 15 minutes for months at a time. However, at least this year, I acknowledge the benefit of having the data. And, I've made an attempt to follow through and analyze my data.

So here is what I learned:

  • I worked 21 days in October. (There were 23 working days, but I had two personal days.)
  • I worked a total of 196.75 hours. (At least that I actually logged.)
  • Divide the number of hours by days worked and I average 9.37 hours a day. (Seems reasonable to me)
  • I spend most of my time in the roles of Classroom Supporter and Learning Facilitator. (2 Power Roles)
  • I spent the least amount of time as Data Coach. (That's because Dibels and DRA's are in August and September, and FCAT is in February and March.)
  • I spend more time observing and giving feedback than I do modeling. (I'm wondering if this is because we have so much capacity, and so many demos in other teacher's classrooms. Or, perhaps I just need to do more modeling.)
  • I work with many grade levels often, especially 2nd - 5th. (Am I stretching too thin, offering some support to all, but not good support to any?)
  • I was a Learner 15% of my time. (Really, this is not an accurate percentage. I could combine my observation time with my actual Learner time to get the bigger total, because I learn every day from the incredibly talented teachers I observe.)

Now, I'm wondering...

  • If we had Power Roles for the teacher, including things like Planner, Implementer, Learner, Data Collector/Analyzer, Curriculum Specialist etc... How would their time be divided?

  • If my school of 1,250 students had 2 full-time coaches, would I spend more quality time in classrooms?

  • Should I be spending less time doing some of the things I am currently doing?

  • Do teachers know what I do and do they find it helpful for moving their work along?

  • Is my work transparent enough to each staff member?

  • Do school board members see the benefit of what I did in October? How about enough to continue funding?

If the actual Activity Report interests you, feel free to take a look at mine. ttp://www.box.net/shared/mjb1mphonm


Jenny said...

This seems like a supreme degree of reflection. One thing I've noticed about you is your high degree of work ethic and efficiency. Do you think this is a side effect of this self-study, or just a personal trait? I'm thinking about my time, and realize that, at times, I have too much time spent gathering my thoughts, tidying up, and "getting ready" to do the work...I'm wondering, would something like this help me reduce that "wasted" (yet somewhat necessary for my mental health) time?...

Suzanne said...

My work ethic is firmly intact on things I am passionate about, and being an educator is one of my great pleasures. I'm embarrased to admit that I kept this log for a 1 1/2 before I ever analyzed it, even once. Although, I don't think a log would be necessary for a teacher to keep over an extended period, I think it would be interesting to keep for a week to analyze how you spend your time. And, as far as processing time to get ready to work, I fully understand. I gather my thoughts about school while I run at night and my before and after school drive. I would never consider my reflection or think time as wasted time. This is when the best ideas are born.

dayle timmons said...

Such a reflective piece - finally a reason to keep such an extnesive log. I'll be interested to see how the county uses this information.

Anonymous said...

Once again your ability to reflect and analyze accurately is an extremely valuable tool... to myself and our school. I appreciate all that you do.
Deb Stevens

Meli Launey said...

Did you only log hours at school? What about time spent reading blogs and professional literature after hours? Im sure your learning percentage would go up if you were able to include that. But anyhow, you did such an extensive look at your work. It was a great tool for me to look at to get to know the daily ins and out of the job of a coach. You guys work your tushies off! I would love to try one of these self-studies one day to see how much time is spent on each of my teacher tasks.