On June 1, I completed my first year as an Instructional Technology Coach for Tuscaloosa City Schools. I served 13 schools (yes, THIRTEEN) as best as I could. I focused on building relationships, communication, and availablity. I didn’t complain because I know people who are serving over 30 schools alone. There were days I wanted to ball into the fetal positions and cry because I didn’t think I brought any value to the team, then there were days I left schools feeling on top of the world. This upcmong school year, which isn’t that far away (Insert whoa face here), I will have the pleasure of working with Amanda Walker. She and I will serve 6 schools. John “JWOK” Walker, who will serve high schools along with Dr. Juergensen, has also been added to the team. I am eager to learn from and with them.

Thankfully, I am a part of a supprtive, encouraging, and collaborative team: Dr. Elizabeth Hancock (Coordinator of Instructional Technology), Dr. Miyoshi “Doctor J” Juergensen (HS tech coach), Aishia Daffin, (MS tech coach), Cherelle Young (MS tech coach), Keith Summerford (MS tech coach), and the man that runs the whole operation, Chris Jenks (Director of Technology).

Momma Boss, as I like to call Dr. Hancock, leads by example, motivates, encourages, and supports us ALL. On top of those things, she trusts us. She never hovers, hounds, or tracks us. She believes in our ability to do our job. What I have also noticed is that Dr. Hancock knows how to get the best out of each of us. She allows us to grow, gives us feedback on how we can be better professionally, nurtures us personally, and compliments us on the smallest to the biggest of our accomplishments. Want to know what else makes her special? She genuinely LOVES us, and she shows it with her words and actions. I tell people all the time who ask me about my new passion (job) that a major part of why I enjoy what I do is because of the team I am a part of. Andy Jacks posted a tweet that states that who you work with is just as important as the work itself. Your teammates are what keep you going when the jobs gets tough. I could not agree with him more.

While at #ISTE18, I learned so much. Literally, everywhere you turned there was someone you could learn from or something you could learn. My goal while there was to go to anything I could that would help me grow within the profession. The session that I thoroughly enjoyed and learned from was “Coaching Trumps PD” presented by Adam Juarez and Katherine Goyette. I found out while there that Adam and I have been following one another for some time. I walked up to them and asked for a selfie (of course) and chatted for a minute or two. Because of that, we frequently communicate through Twitter and Facebook. Katherine and Adam are good champions of #edtech and share their gifts with newbies like me all over the world. They moderate #CVTechTalk on Wednesdays at 7 PM.

#ISTE18 got my gears grinding and while there, I thought about my goals for next school year:

  1. Be a “walking” coach: going for the 80/20 goal, which is spend 80% of my time in classrooms and 20% of my time at my desk. I’m looking forward to how it is going to transform my coaching and relationships with teachers and administrators. Shoutout to Katherine and Adam!
  2. Give MORE (purposeful) feedback: feedback is a significant part of growth. I gave feedback, but I felt it was the generic “you did a great job” type. I want to leave teachers with suggestions and time to collaborate afterwards. Thanks to Adam, I know about formMule, which is a add on for Google Sheets, and how it will help with getting feedback to teachers almost instantly. More about formMule here.
  3. Start at the top: Administrators are the leaders of schools. In order to better serve students and teachers, I must earn the trust, commitment, and support from their leaders. I know many administrators have so much on their plates already. I am going to be sure that any time I ask for their time that it is necessary and purposeful.

I reflected a lot this past school year. I felt there were many things I could have done better. With the list of schools I serve cut in half, I believe I will be able to accomplish the goals I have set for myself.

What goals do you want to achieve this coming school year?

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