Happy New Year! Let’s Catch Up.

How are YOU?? Good start to the new year? I hope so.

My school year has been…a change, but great! I went back to the classroom 1/2 day this past August, teaching literacy in the afternoon. Crazy, I know!

It was actually a change I requested and after eight years of coaching full day, felt like a change I was needing.

I share a classroom with our math coach. In this second half of the year, the plan is to open up our room more as a “demonstration” classroom so other teachers can learn from our modeling. (though I still have plenty to learn myself, eek!)

While you’re here let me show you around our classroom…

Being back in the classroom has been exciting, busy-busy-busy, and overall I feel reengaged in the work.

There is just so much that goes into managing a well run, well behaved classroom where kids enjoy coming every day and are making academic gains. Phew.

I’ve really had to rely on my time management system to help me keep up.

OK, now that we’ve caught up, let’s talk about plans for the New Year!

First, I’ve been working on an updated guide/planning kit for new and veteran coaches alike. It revolves around a six step system I created to help us coaches do our best work.

I feel like I’m continually weaving in and out of all six steps (ha!), though this next quarter I’m planning to zoom in on Step 4 in my own work. Here is a sneak peek…

I’ve also signed up for a Reflective Reading Course online.

The course allows you to select which books you want to read for your own professional development, and you’ll receive one salary advancement credit for each book you read.

My goal is to read 1-2 professional books a month, not only because there’s so much I’m excited to learn(!!), but I’m also working on building up my salary advancement credits this year.

If you’re interested in joining, here’s what I’m reading this month:

Now that my blogging brain has turned back on, I also have so much I’m wanting to share with you in this coming year!

If there is a particular topic you are interested in or question you’d like to have addressed on the blog, feel free to leave it in the comments or send me an email :)

Lastly, as we head into this New Year, there’s a fun song I’ve been listening to, to get me pumped up. Here is one of the lines from the song I really like…

Thanks as always for reading, and let’s get this new year started!

Interview Tips for Instructional Coaches: You’ve Got This!

It’s the end of the year, and I’ve got interviewing on my mind!

These past few weeks I’ve been on the interview committee for a few different positions in our building, one of which is for a new instructional coach.

Sitting in on these interviews has got me thinking a lot about how to best present yourself and showcase your knowledge, talents, and experiences while under the pressure of having questions fired at you by a scrutinizing interviewing committee of at least five. Gah! (are you sweating just thinking about it??)

Now, I’m not an interviewing expert nor am I claiming to be one (I don’t even like interviews!!), but I tend to be a strong observer as well as an overachiever and over-planner. As a result, I’ve gathered quite a bit of info on interviews and interviewing that I thought would be helpful to share.

OK, first things first.

You might be thinking, “Duh Kristin! I know!” But we’re still going to talk about it. From your head to your toes, make sure you are dressed to impress. Show up 15 minutes early so you can fix any wind blow hair. Carry one professional bag, not three bulky ones. Make sure your shoes match your outfit and aren’t badly scuffed. No chipped nail polish. I’m just saying…think about all those little details because they matter!

We want to get to know you!!

As an interview candidate, your job is to make the best case you can that you’re the right person for the job. And the candidates who really grab my attention are those who are able to provide specific examples or stories that relate to particular questions asked.

A great way to prepare for this is to think ahead of specific examples that would lend themselves to different categories of behavioral type questions you may be asked. You might also consider bringing in actual artifacts as well…a coaching plan or PD plan for example.

Preparing yourself to talk about your experiences in this way will really help you sell yourself as a candidate.

… don’t take it too easy either. I think sometimes when you hear “just be yourself” it can be a permission pass to not take the interview as seriously and you may come off a little lackadaisical.

So just remember to smile, answer the questions you’re asked honestly, and let your personality shine through in a professional and polished way.

Instructional Coach Intervieww

Then REPEAT!!

It can feel a little weird rehearsing answers to your questions out loud, so many candidates don’t practice.

Especially when you’re not as naturally confident, or you get a bad case of the nerves in interviews, not practicing can really put you at a disadvantage.

Practice in a way that aligns to the actual interview as much as possible. Write out a list of the questions you anticipate being asked, write out sample answers, practice your answers out loud in front of a mirror or with a friend. Video tape yourself and revise accordingly.

For a handy guide to support you with preparing for an instructional coach or leadership position interview, please check out the Interview Prep Planning Kit I recently created.

This planning kit includes a list of questions you’ll most likely be asked, planning templates for artifacts to bring, and much more.

Although I’m not actively interviewing, thinking through this process has really helped me reflect on my own practice and consider ways I can improve.

Thanks for reading!

5 Routines that Help me Keep it Together

Hello! Long time no blog. How are things?

Things with me are good! I just wrapped up a small group coaching cycle, am full swing into unpacking curriculum modules with our K-2 team, and have also been Work Planning with our leadership team for next year. Oh, and on the side, we’ve been hard at work getting next year’s Time & ToDo Planner going…exciting!

So yes, things have been good, but they sure have been busy.

And I have to say these last few days and weeks, I’ve been feeling especially overwhelmed.

More like I’m frantically thrashing through my days, rather than calmly and confidently flowing through them.

Do you ever have those days or weeks?

During those times when I’m feeling especially overwhelmed with lots of meetings, planning to do, and other commitments, I have to take a pause and get back to the basics. What are the basics for me?

Routines.

Yep. Routines, Routines, Routines.

Daily routines provide structure for our days and everything we do.

There are five key, daily routines that really help me to feel more in control of my days and on track.

Morning Routine

Oh my cherished, morning routine. I wake up particularly early. When it’s dark, it’s quiet, and it’s blissful.

This is my time to organize my thoughts and tasks for the day. To have some time for solitude and reflection. To “reset the room” from the night before, and launch myself forward into a successful day.

There are a few key morning habits, sequenced into a routine, that help make a great start to my day.

Start Up Routine

Once at school, I give myself 20 minutes to get set-up for the day.

Rather than diving straight into the thick of things, my start-up routine helps me make a smooth and organized transition from at home Kristin to Coaching Kristin :)

Shutdown Routine

In these past few weeks, I’ve found myself not making time for my shutdown routine. Not good!

When I don’t take time to get “clear and current” at the end of the day, and organize for the next, I find myself taking more work home with me and creating more stress for myself the following day as I try to catch up.

20-30 organized minutes at the end of the day serves me well in setting up for the next.

Afternoon Routine

When I get home after a long day, it’s super tempting to just sling my bag on the dining room table and throw myself down on the couch.

But nope. I’ve still got things to do.

The afternoons are when I take care of several of my “home management” tasks. Having a tidy home really helps keep me calm and happy :)

Evening Routine

And so the day is done. After dinner, I have just a few more key tasks to complete that makeup my evening routine.

One of the most important being, shine the sink! When I give the kitchen and the sink a good shine before I go to bed, it makes the tomorrow’s early morning something to look forward to.

What a routine packed day, huh?!

How about you? Do you have any key routines that help you keep it together?

Or maybe you’d like to work on putting a few key routines into place. If so, I’d probably start with the afternoon/evening routines. Those two make a really good foundation to build from.

And if you’re interested in reading more about building positive habits and routines into your day, these are a few books I’d recommend checking out.

Thanks as always for reading! Looking forward to checking in again soon :)