I had the opportunity to attend the TLC Conference in Dallas, TX, on November 3rd & 4th. Leading up to the conference I was excited to hear from some of our nation’s leaders when it comes to instructional coaching and job-embedded professional development. Straight away I was encouraged by the message that the conference shared: “It starts with us.” I was moved by Douglas Fisher’s comment that “Every student deserves a great teacher, not by chance, but by design.”
I asked myself: As a campus leader, is this the mindset of my teachers? If it is not, how is that affecting the success of my students and how can we shift this mindset? I also realize that students should not get lucky with a teacher. As administrators, our responsibility is to ensure that all of our students receive great instruction by design. We are charged with providing the training and resources to give all students an equal shot at a quality education.
I loved Sheila Heen’s session on feedback. Not only did it make me question my role in both giving and receiving feedback, but I was amazed that she could engage a room of 800+ attendees. We were active and focused. Sheila not only presented information, but made sure that she used good instructional strategies in the process. Whenever we work with teachers, we need to make sure we model what we expect.
A highlight of the conference for me was the panel featuring Jim Knight and Steve Barkley with Kristin Anderson moderating. I appreciate their views on the culture of coaching. Each has their own take on it but with a common goal of increased student achievement utilizing job embedded training. As a side note, I want to mention that Kristin Anderson was so approachable and helpful as we explored questions and ideas about our new learning.
I left the TLC conference with my brain swirling with ideas. My challenge since attending the conference is how to implement all of my learning. Where do I start? How much can I bite off at the moment? My focus at this point is incorporating Jim Knight’s philosophy that we need to have a process that allows us to set goals and gives us direction on how to implement with Steve Barkley’s change model. I have a plan at this point to move our campus forward that I would not have been able to develop without the inspiration of the 2016 Teaching, Learning, & Coaching (TLC) Conference.