How Instructional Leaders Are Planning For Next Year
The past school year has certainly exposed long-standing challenges in education that have been simmering below the surface in stark and unflattering terms.
At this inflection point, we are presented with a choice: Will we return to the old ways of schooling or take the lessons learned to create something new that better serves our students? We asked the instructional leaders we work with how they are planning to chart a better path forward in the 2022-23 school year. One resounding commonality emerged: to provide relevant instructional support that makes teachers feel valued, heard, and empowered to take charge of their professional learning journey.
Teachers are our most important assets. They interact directly with students everyday, and in turn, have an unmistakable impact on student learning - whether it’s positive or negative. This is why authentic and meaningful teacher support systems are the key to transforming instruction and improving student outcomes. But how do we go about providing support to teachers that is authentic, meaningful, and actually helpful?
Get input from teachers
The foundation of a reliable instructional support system is aligning your team around a shared vision of instruction. Once your vision is set, ask teachers what they think would be the best way to get there as a collective. Professional learning is often determined by what the research says will improve student learning with little input into what teachers actually need. This often results in a disconnect between what teachers need and the usefulness of the support provided to them. Being on-the-ground, teachers are in the best position to advise on what will move the dial on student achievement. They are also well-poised to provide feedback on what issues may be getting in the way of delivering world-class instruction.
Co-create individual professional learning goals
By adopting a mindset of collaboration rather than regulation, you’ll naturally empower and engage teachers to reach a higher-level of professional growth. Professional learning can take a variety of forms and teachers know what they need to be successful in their unique classroom. Making decisions about professional learning with little input from the user can leave anyone feeling powerless. When you take care to work alongside teachers, value their expertise, and allow them to have a say in their individual professional learning journey, you evoke a sense of agency in them and a desire to set, track, and exceed their goals.
Reframe classroom observation
While classroom observation is intended to drive growth in one’s instructional practice, it is often treated as a compliance exercise and can be anxiety-inducing knowing that someone is in the room watching your every move. Reframe classroom observation and alleviate anxiety by clarifying the intention and the process, as well as by making classroom observations as least invasive as possible. Feedback should be supportive, tailored to personalized goals, and given in a timely manner. Embrace asynchronous collaboration by providing real-time feedback to teachers digitally before your coaching meeting so you can make the most of your face-to-face time together.
Make the most out of your data
Looking at your data regularly and setting up the right reports can help you identify trends at an individual and school level to drive targeted professional development and to see progress in instructional quality and student outcomes at a macro-level. While data can show in which areas you may be falling short, it also indicates the areas that need acknowledgement and celebration. With the logistical challenges of tracking down emails and managing multiple Google Docs, we probably don’t celebrate enough how far we’ve come as teachers and leaders. Try starting your coaching sessions with an acknowledgement of what has been going well and be proud.
As an instructional leader, we know you have a lot on your plate. While building reliable systems of teacher growth can seem daunting, it is something you need to put time into for high-quality instructional support that is sustainable and pervasive. There is too much at stake not to. We’d love to help if we can. Schedule a complimentary strategy session to discover how a technology-enabled framework for high-quality instruction can save you time and produce better results.
And don't forget to download your Instructional Support Checklist now to help you plan for the year ahead.
Download Your Instructional Support Checklist now!
We know back-to-school planning as an instructional leader can be overwhelming. Download our top tips to make sure your instructional support plan for this upcoming school year is manageable, effective, and leaves teachers feeling valued, heard, and empowered to take charge of their professional learning journey. Get your free instructional support checklist below!
Download Your Instructional Support Checklist Below
We know back-to-school planning as an instructional leader can be overwhelming. Download our top tips to make sure your instructional support plan for this upcoming school year is manageable, effective, and leaves teachers feeling valued, heard, and empowered to take charge of their professional learning journey.