It’s one thing to attend a professional learning or instructional coaching session—but taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action is another. Most often, it’s the experiences built upon collaboration, reflection, and active change that make the biggest difference.
My time as a classroom educator helped me realize a passion for helping fellow teachers learn and grow. It inspired a mission to transform professional learning into something that’s focused on teacher collaboration, learning and follow-through.
With this in mind, I compiled the following tips for getting the most out of professional learning and coaching sessions.
#1 Embrace the experience
When I first transitioned from teacher to coach, I remember feeling frustrated with the lack of impact that my professional development and coaching was providing. That’s because it was your typical “sit and get” experience where attendees learned something in the moment, but likely forgot about it as soon as the session was over. In coaching, I observed a teacher and “provided feedback” on what I saw–while teachers were often receptive to new ideas to try, any change was often short-lived.
This lack of impact is what led me to push for the use of video to enhance our professional learning and coaching sessions. I would have attendees pick one thing they learned to try out in the classroom, have them record it, and then use that video to self-reflect. I built in time for us to collaborate, so we could swap ideas and discuss what was and wasn’t working in the classroom. With those I coached, I recorded when I would visit and allow them time to see what I saw and let them lead the conversation based on their own reflections and questions.