Inspired by Ryan O'Donnell (@creativetech), I spent some time looking back at my year in terms of numbers. This in no way reflects every aspect of my 2015-2016 year but it gives a glimpse into my work as a Math & STEAM Coach / TOSA and offers a nice overview of my work. I was indeed surprised by the numbers as I started doing the calculations.
- First, connecting with Ben (@cogswell_ben), Karly (@KarlyMoura), and Kelly (@kmartintahoe) to create #tosachat, @tosachat.
- Working on a fantastic elementary TOSA team.
- Facilitating the exploration year of 8 math curricula with math lead teachers and classroom teachers.
- Facilitating the STEAM Inquiry Group.
- ECET2 at the San Mateo County Office.
- Meeting Ann (@annkozma723), Debbie (@tech4teachers19), Jessica (@JustTechIt), Jody (@peerlessgreen), Judy (@judyblakeney), and Nick at Hotel Ménage before my 2015 runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon.
- Presenting at MDUSD's STEM & EdTech Symposium.
- Organizing EdCampSV with a fantastic team of educators.
- Learning about BreakoutEDU and playing my first game with Jody Green (@peerlessgreen). It was a game she created no less. My second game was facilitated by Amanda Haughs (@MsHaughs) and Lindsey Blass (@LindseyBlass1) at #connectedtl's Meet Up/Tweet Up. Needless to say I bought my own kit and have also begun writing my own games.
- Being a part of the SouthBay FOSS Collaborative and facilitating NGSS workshops.
- Exploring the Next Gen FOSS modules.
- Being a part of The Teacher Advisory Council at The Computer History Museum.
- Being an ambassador for ClassDojo, Khan Academy, and Schoology.
- Being encouraged to apply and being accepted for the position of principal of the elementary summer school program.
- Facilitating two EdTechTeacher workshops on the iPad and Design Thinking / Makerspaces with Sabba Quidwai (@askmsq).
If you're on the main page (jyoung1219.weebly.com), clicking "Read More" below will take you to my end of the year reflection that I wrote for my supervisor, the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Education. As a quick warning, it's quite lengthy. I wrote a summary of my year for my official paperwork and tried to be as thorough as I could.
I started my year and my new role knowing I would experience a lot of growth. It was truly an honor to be accepted into this role, knowing that not just any teacher gets accepted into the role but strong teacher leaders. Even though I entered the role with prior experience facilitating workshops, leading colleagues, and working with administrators, I began the year and maintained a growth mindset – knowing that I have so much to learn from the TOSA team, teachers throughout the district, and the district office staff. As the TOSA team moved into working with principals and then teachers, building respectful, safe, and trusting relationships was a focus for me. From my work in prior years on the importance of identity safety for children and adults, I knew that the teachers I work with needed the same qualities in the relationship I was forming with them. Before any interaction, I did my research on the school, community, school and classroom culture, and any background information I needed to ensure my coaching interactions were successful. Careful and mindful word choice was always on the forefront of my mind as I worked with teachers and their students. After coaching sessions with teachers, I always followed up with an email thanking them for the pleasure of partnering with them, sharing resources pertaining to the topic of our coaching interaction, and offering ideas and suggestions for our collective next steps. As the months continued, I definitely developed a sense of ownership and advocacy for the schools I served. This was definitely evident in being the voice for the Spanish Immersion program with any flyers or documents that were used for professional development. Partnering with the translator and the SI teachers on math assessments was quite a process and no easy feat. Other examples of ownership and advocacy was becoming a member of the school communities I served. Attending Family Math and Science Nights, speaking at principal coffees, supporting teachers’ after school intervention programs, and helping to connect teachers within the district and beyond were ways I became a member of the school communities. As the year continued, I experienced some unanticipated challenges from my Math TOSA team colleagues. A situation that centered around errors in exploration materials requests on the Google Doc led to a few weeks of tension in that working relationship. Through that experience, we’ve both learned the importance of partnering, double and triple checking the work, and open and honest lines of communication. It was unfortunate that we experienced that but I, confidently, can say my colleague and I are stronger having experienced it. Another challenge I had was with my other Math TOSA team colleague and her pattern of questioning my thoughts, expertise, actions, and abilities. I felt challenged by her quite often. In that hardship, I learned/relearned the importance of self-advocacy. I was able to practice several conflict resolution steps similar to the Talk It Out program. Bravely and openly addressing the situation ultimately led to a change in the pattern by my colleague. I don’t believe it stopped it completely, but the behaviors are not as overt for me which made working in the office very uncomfortable. Management was a key theme throughout this year in my role as a Math & STEAM coach. Many projects required a lot of management – planning and facilitating math lead and STEAM Inquiry Group meetings, teaming on the execution of Powerful Practices 3.0, working on the math assessments, partnering with Heather and Pam on the City of Palo Alto Utilities Grant, working on the details of the math exploration year and into the pilot year, listening to the concerns from Kindergarten teachers and changing the length, focus, and format of the Kindergarten Assessment, and collaborating with other science TOSAs in the SouthBay FOSS Consortium. Another project that could hopefully come back some time next year was developing the plan for a Maker Mobile. A characteristic of my work ethics and my year was constant reflection. In all I do I reflect on the learning, the opportunities for change and growth, the possibilities for the future. Throughout the year, with any project I worked on, I always reflected on the work – the successes and the failures/opportunities for growth. There were two situations I remember that I made a mistake and I would approach the situation by 1) stating the mistake, 2) stating what I did to correct the mistake, and 3) what I learned from the mistake that will help me not make that misstep in the future. I often say that my R&R stands for reflection and refinement. This is definitely evident now as we approach the year of the school year, I am reflecting on my work this year and looking at ways I can improve for next year. Humility was definitely theme of my year and a quality that I believe is vital to the role of a coach. No matter how much experience and expertise you may have, it takes humility to work with colleagues. That allows relationships to strengthen, partnerships to form, and real connections to establish. When we can be vulnerable, others open up their vulnerabilities to us. Effective and lasting coaching happens when we put the success of the group over individual recognition of success. During a webinar I participated in with Jim Knight speaking about qualities of effective coaching, I tweeted the following message. Beth Estrada, a fifth grade teacher at Briones, responded with such a bucket-filling compliment. Even then, while I was joyful about her assessment of my coaching, I remained humble and pointed to the fact that it was my pleasure to support her in the amazing things she does with her students.