Friday, May 20, 2011

Reflection of a Peer Coach Facilitator

I learned so much this year about what it takes to launch and sustain success in peer coaching. We wanted to highlight the "collaboration" needed in successful peer coaching; hence we don't call them peer coaches, but rather "Collaboration Coaches."

From the Beginning

Our district made the decision to tap into teachers who naturally collaborated with colleagues, engaged kids with 21st century thinking, and created student-centered classrooms. The idea was to train them so their strengths became even stronger.

Why Collaboration Coaching

Peer Coaching was sponsored by Microsoft on Microsoft's Partners in Learning Site. The facilitator training by Peer Ed's Shelee King George was superb, and it provided me with a tried and true floor plan for training others.

We took that training and blended it with our District Vision and Plan. The training builds skills to foster the culture of collaboration because there was an expectation for collaborating with peers, and their beliefs reflected those expectations.

I believe the Coaching Chronicles created by Valinda Wells captured this in her GoAnimate4Schools:

GoAnimate.com: CollaborativeCoaching2 

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

Behind the Scenes

I appreciate the district I work in because the leadership models collaborative culture. Jon Castelhano, Director of Technology, always helped me bounce ideas around and gave suggestions for how to move forward. Educational Services also had helpful insight. I appreciated having a team to provide critical feedback.

On the Front Line

While my role was more behind the scenes, the teachers were on the front line. They were the ones transforming education in the classrooms to match the needs of their learners on a daily basis. I applaud them for the fabulous jobs they have done!

Relationships

Building relationships was pivotal in the process. Watching the coaches build relationships with each other and their colleagues was inspiring, and that influenced how they related to the students.

I absolutely adore these teachers and am so grateful for the friendships built. I love being part of an institution that believes in building people up, tapping into their strengths, and doing what's best for learners.

This post was written as a reflection as the first year of Collaboration Coaching ends, and the second year will soon begin.

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