Results
Managing the Email Load

In my role as a principal, I feel like a slave to email pretty much all of the time. I get hundreds of emails a day, and it feels like...

Always “On”: Reconsidering Connectivity

A few months ago, I sat in a training for a new online learning management system my school district is rolling out to our middle school and high school students...

Advice for New Literacy Coaches: An Interview with Susan Avis

Susan Avis chats with Brenda Power about the delicate work of honoring the strengths of teachers while still pushing them beyond their comfort zones to improve skills. A transcript is...

A Test Run for Difficult Decisions

Making decisions is difficult. Whether it is a personal or professional decision, it can feel overwhelming to consider all the pros, cons and potential effects of one decision. Leaders need...

Conflict: A Coach’s Perspective

“But that isn’t my vision!” The teacher I was working with was getting more and more frustrated. I was serving as the editor of a book being collaboratively written by...

Conflict: A Teacher’s Perspective

Feedback is an essential part of learning. As a teacher, I give and receive feedback. I give feedback to my students so they can reach their learning goals. I receive...

Persevere

When farmers dig trenches, they always have a spotter outside of the trench. This person is watching the dirt, in case it shifts. If they see the dirt move, they...

Bounce-Back Spirit

In the 2008 Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track 600-meter race, Heather Dorniden was favored. The runners ran closely, in a pack for the first two-thirds of the race. If you...

From Worksheets to Workshops

At the beginning of my time at Miami Elementary School, I sent my teachers an email with my calendar and a list of ways I could support them. One item...

Helping with Management Challenges in First Grade

One of the first-grade classrooms I have been working in is particularly challenging because of the students’ overall attention span. It’s one of those classrooms where it’s hard to complete...

Always Another Choice

Faculty meetings can be tough for me. Over the past year, I made a new commitment to try to contribute to the community without vying for power or inadvertently bumping...

Coaching Relationships: Move Closer

When I was in graduate school working on my degree in educational leadership, I had a professor admonish us to “Move closest to the person you feel the least closest...

Honesty, Ignorance, and Building Relationships

Being a leader of literacy instruction can feel like a daunting job. There are so many excellent instructional practices being used by teachers that it seems impossible to know everything...

Because It’s the Right Thing to Do

As a school that focuses on positive behavior, we used to have a token jar that was prominently displayed in the front hall. As classes passed, they could see how...

Leading a Demonstration Lesson: When It Doesn’t Go Well

Jennifer Allen talks in a leadership team meeting about the experience of being observed when a demonstration lesson isn't going well.  

Sign-In Sheets, Professionalism, and Being Human

You could feel the tension in the air as she quietly slipped in, trying to find her place without disrupting the session. Many of the professional development sessions we facilitate...

Breaking Away from the Team

Since the start of my teaching career, the professional learning emphasis has been on collaborative teamwork, ideally centered on student work, with the purposes of developing teaching teams’ shared expectations...

Struggling Teachers? Don’t Force It

Instructional coaches can find themselves in a difficult position when their supervisor, the building principal, requires a struggling teacher to access coaching. The circumstances become even more complicated when accessing...

Failure to Norm

As I developed relationships with 36 teachers this year, I was careful to watch and try to understand the dynamics that would help me as a coach. It’s easy (and...

Coaching Minute: Videos in the Selfie Age

In this quick video, Kathy Provost and Heather Fisher share an alarming experience: young teachers pulling out phones and other devices to take videos of instruction without permission. They discuss...

What I Know for Sure: Reflection and Core Beliefs

Last summer, I read this tiny book by Oprah Winfrey called What I Know for Sure. As she writes in the first chapter, she reflects on all the lessons she...