Resources for Teachers and Instructional Coaches – August 2022
Back-to-school season is in full swing and there’s much to think about for the new school year.
Not sure where to start?
We’ve rounded up the top resources for teachers and coaches from August 2022.
From saving time to incorporating compassion with students to boosting collaboration, these reads have great ideas and resources for teachers and coaches.
Here are our top picks for the August 2022 reads to catch up on. Check out highlights, article links, and related content below.
Resources for teachers to maximize time
With so much to do, both in and out of the classroom, teachers are often short on enough time.
This SmartBrief article notes that successful educators know how to use time “so it works for them, not against them.”
Here are three ways to help teachers master their time.
Self-care for educators is not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-do. And it’s one way to help maximize time.Self-care is different for everyone, and just saying “take care of yourself” isn’t enough. While some districts are offering mental health days for teachers and staff, you need to know you deserve a break. Give yourself permission to take time for yourself each day, even if it’s taking five deep breaths at lunch or going for an evening walk.
- Prioritize daily goals
To maximize time and make the most of each day, decide what you want and need to get done. Ask yourself: What are my priorities for today? What are the most important tasks I need to accomplish? And, after taking a moment to think about the rest of the week: What do I have to do? What do I want to do?Identifying the tasks and priorities is the first step in mastering time. Another tip to do this: Try setting up a timer for five minutes and listing all of the tasks for that day or week. (it is always easier to prioritize when things are written down!)
Next, look at the list, circle the tasks that must be done in the given week and start with those items first.
Focus, focus, focus
- Figure out the task and zoom in. Make sure to be super clear on what it is that should be accomplished in a specific amount of time.
- One thing at a time. Whether it is grading or lesson planning or something else, pick one thing to start with before moving on to the other items on their list.
- Cut out unproductive behavior. It is always important to set aside chunks of time that are not tempted by outside distractions. Just like technology or social media can at times be distracting for students, turn off your own Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or even email to stay on task!
- Uncover a productive plan. The same plan doesn’t work for everyone, so find a plan that is easy and can be executed right away. This might mean setting time aside in school, outside of school or at a coffee shop.
- Start now! It is important to believe you can start accomplishing your goals now, not in the coming days, weeks or months. While it’s super easy to feel overwhelmed or negative, work on combating those feelings so you can be productive right away.
Read the full post at SmartBrief: Educators can maximize time with 3 best practices
Wondering how to incorporate more self-care? Check out 5 questions to ask yourself to create a teacher well-being plan.
Collaborative moves for teacher teams
This article from ASCD has resources for teachers and coaches to help cultivate more learning and collaboration in teacher teams.
There are three things to focus on: “read together, conduct peer observations, and look at student work together.”
Here’s more about each strategy for more impactful teacher teams and collaboration:
Build a Collective Reading/Viewing Habit
If your school doesn’t designate PD or team time for collaborative reading, begin introducing short, engaging texts (e.g., a relatable cartoon, a controversial quote, an inspirational excerpt from a podcast) and work up to longer texts (e.g., a short passage from a chapter, an Educational Leadership article, a summary of a research paper, or an optional book study).
Soon your colleagues will expect to engage in text-based discussions in your meetings.
- Develop a Peer Observation Habit
Think of peer observations as the difference between going to a movie alone and coming back to tell your friends about it versus seeing a movie with friends, catching a bite afterwards, and talking about what you saw together.Guided by your purpose, decide what data your team will collect to help your team debrief afterward. Some examples might include taking photos of student work, recording audio of student pairs talking, or taking two-column notes where educators record what the teacher is doing/saying in the left-hand column and what students are doing/saying in the right-hand column.
- Look at Student Work Together
Authentic samples that represent a real concern or dilemma for the presenting teacher(s). If everyone already knows what the data means and what to do about them, then data analysis will fall flat.
Relevant samples that pertain to your team’s inquiry study and goals. If your colleagues can’t see a connection to their work, they might question the point of analyzing the student samples.
Current samples from formative assessments where the time between teaching, assessing, and analyzing samples is short so that teachers can immediately implement next steps with students. If too much time lapses, teachers won’t be able to reteach, intervene, or enrich when students need it.
Read the whole post at ASCD: 3 Habits to Make Teacher Teams More Impactful
Not sure how to fit peer observation into your schedule? Try video observation.
Keeping compassion front of mind when communicating with students
Communicating with a brand new group of students at the beginning of the year can be tricky. Classroom disruptions don’t have to push your buttons, though.
This Edutopia article notes,
Research suggests that to keep students motivated, teachers are better off picking their battles and keeping in mind that the most effective classroom management strategies are based on building relationships.
Empathy and compassion are key to communicating with students. This article outlines four ideas and resources for teachers to help prepare for more empathy in the classroom
- Look Behind the Behavior
“We must come into each situation recognizing its uniqueness and its opportunity for exploration.”For Amanda Morin, an educator and director of thought leadership at Understood.org, that means the best course of action is to short-circuit your own reflexes when you can. “Instead of reacting as if you know the reason behind a student’s behavior,” she coaches, ask questions like “Are you OK?” to indicate your concern for them personally—not for the choice they just made—and try to shift from reactive mode into “nonjudgmental investigative” mode.
- Learn Something About Every Student
To respond with empathy, you have to know who the student is—in a way that goes beyond their output on assessments and tasks in the classroom. Use quick, informal surveys at the beginning of the year to generate unique insights about each student.
Be Half of the Equation
“Show students that it’s OK to be vulnerable,” writes educator Alex Shevrin Venet. By “modeling authenticity”—while remembering your role and professional boundaries—you can help students feel comfortable being authentic, too, Venet writes.
- Include Family
Reaching out to primary caregivers at the start of the school year can add another layer of important context to a teacher’s first impressions of a student.Rebecca Alber, an instructor at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education, writes that semiregular phone calls home not only increase student engagement and participation but also give her the chance to chat about the student informally, sharing positive news about the student’s improvements as well as discussing strategies about how to address ongoing issues.
Read the whole post at Edutopia: Tapping Into Compassion When Students Push Your Buttons
Working on building relationships with students, as well as peers? Check out these 3 skills to build empathy at school.
Missed last month’s edition of resources for teachers and coaches? Catch up on our July 2022 top resources for teachers and coaches!