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Julie K.

Marsh
EPPL 536
Full Coaching Cycle Reflection Paper
Initial Meeting
I decided to continue my coaching relationship with the same teacher with whom I had
my initial coaching conversation. We have an established and trusting relationship, and I was
curious to see the next day of the lesson I started with the class the week prior. We decided to
meet before school began in order to have time to talk about anything that changed between the
first day of the unit and the day of my observation as well as to choose an observation tool that
would best focus on what my teacher was interested in. She was incredibly excited to start the
second day with her students on solving the school mascot crime. Nothing had changed in terms
of preparing for the days lesson, but she did note that she received a few messages over the
weekend from her students who were curious about aspects of the data collection in order to
solve the crime. She noted that these messages showed her students were truly interested in what
they were learning, and they were continuing their learning and discussion outside of class in
order to figure out who stole the school mascot. They were clearly invested, and it was a
wonderful way to start our day together.
The tool my teacher chose was the teacher location observation tool. She was curious
how often she moved around as well as what her students reactions were to her movements.
She wanted to know if her movements made a difference and increased the level of engagement
for her students as well as what happened when she moved away from students.
Description of Classroom Observation
The class I observed took place over the lunch block, and I was interested to see what
happened when students were required to take a break in the middle of their learning: would they
be riled up? Would they lose interest? I was prepared to take as many notes on my observation

tool as possible. It turns out that it did not matter that students took their lunch break in the
middle of their learning; they were just as excited to come back to the classroom to get back to
work as they were when they first entered the classroom for the day.
Lesson taught. The lesson I observed was a continuation with a group of seventh grade
Life Science students. Using forensic knowledge, the students were working on solving a Whodun-it! Case, specifically which teacher in the school kidnapped the missing mascot. The lesson
was created to help students develop a basic understanding of forensic science. The essential
foci of the lesson allowed students to investigate, understand, and apply scientific methods and
inquiry to forensic science. The students worked in collaborative groups to collect and analyze
evidence to solve the crime. They used fingerprinting; hair and fiber microscopy; blood typing;
footprints; DNA, RNA, and amino acid codon sequencing; and DNA fingerprinting. The DNA
sequences and DNA fingerprinting were embedded in QR codes that were scanned by the
students using a QR reader. The fingerprints were collected using a camera on their phone or
iPad. Students then used Googledocs to organize and share their information.!!!
Charting teacher movement. The teacher location observation tool was a little difficult
to use, but I think it was mainly because I was sucked into the lesson! I was enjoying watching
the students work through the various scenarios and collect the data; in fact, I had never done
fiber microscopy myself, so some of the students were teaching me! I think the other reason why
it was difficult to use was because my teacher did not stop moving once the class began. She
was worried she didnt move enough; I was worried about keeping up with her. Her class not
only was using the full lab classroom, but they were also using two empty classrooms down the
hall for other areas of their investigation. I found it difficult to keep up with my teacher, but I
think that resulted in a high energy classroom and increased student engagement.

Reactions of students. I also observed that students were enthusiastic when she
approached, but they remained energized even after she moved to the next group of students (a
point that later made my teacher quite happy to learn). Some students excitedly showed their
results and the data collection in the groups Googledoc while other students asked clarifying
questions about what they were working on. Overall her movements helped keep the energy up,
but they were not necessary in keeping the students focused; the lesson and content were already
doing that for her.
Coaching Conversation
Our coaching conversation took place after the school day ended, though we did have a
brief touching base conversation over her lunch period. The lunch period conversation was a
brief celebration about how well things were progressing that day, and we agreed to elaborate
more on what was working well when we met at the end of the day.
Exploration of teacher strengths. We began our conversation with an extension of our
earlier celebrations. I focused my questions on what she saw as working and what she thought
her students were gaining from the lesson. She believed having the space to move around and
the freedom to use the equipment to investigate an authentic problem energized her students.
She believed giving her students control over their own learning as well as the process to solve a
problem and lead to an outcome fueled their desire to learn more and explore further. She also
believed that showing her students respect for their autonomy and working on a trusting
relationship with them led to a successful and positive learning environment and process. Most
of her responses focused on her students, and I asked her how her own planning and initiative led
to these successful outcomes. She paused for a moment before smiling and making the

connection to her own teaching philosophy of respecting students and giving them room to be
curious.
Teachers focus for the future. We talked about where the lesson unit was going as far
as having students present their findings of the investigation. She wants her students to
disseminate the data they collected into a user-friendly and understandable presentation. She
then wants them to present to the entire class. They are all excited for the presentations because
they want to be the group who solved the crime. I asked her how she could expand on the lesson
and use it in the future or use it with other teachers. We started to brainstorm some ideas on
what that would look like with other teachers in other content areas.
Experimental design template. My teacher wanted to create a professional
development (PD) session for other teachers in her school in order to explain the process of how
she designed and implemented the forensics unit plan. She believes she could encourage other
teachers to create authentic problems for their students to solve in unique and engaging ways.
My teacher has an interest in PD, and she has been having conversations with her administration
about ways to create more personalized PD in her school.
She decided the best way was to create general templates that other teachers could use
based on their own content area. She could enlist the help of the department chairs to co-design
those templates based on content. There could be an authentic, real world problem specific to
the content area that the teachers could use, or the school could create a larger, real world
problem that each content area would then tackle in their own way. She was excited about both
ideas, especially the latter since it would continue to build school culture and community. She
decided her very first step would be to meet with her administration before the end of the school
year to get the green light before meeting with all of the department chairs. She was hopeful that

she could get the department chairs together over the summer during mandatory PD times in
order to plan together and design a plan for the following school year. Ultimately, she wants to
implement the templates and plan by September or October and potentially create either a
semester-long or year-long project.
Follow-Up Coaching Conversation
I spoke with my teacher a week after my observation and coaching session with her. At
that time, she had not had a chance to develop her templates as examples for her administrators,
but she fully planned on having the meeting prior to the end of the semester. She thinks it would
be more appropriate to broach the topic once SOL testing has concluded and both the
administration and teachers are breathing a sigh of relief. She also decided that she wanted to
speak to the department chairs immediately after SOLs in order to start brainstorming ideas with
students before summer! I loved that she wanted to include student ideas in how to develop this
larger project because we both believe that will increase student interest and buy-in. I
encouraged her to keep moving forward with her plan to discuss the PD with both her
administrators and the department chairs.
Most valuable part of the coaching process. I asked my teacher what the most valuable
part of the coaching process was for her, and she said it was great to get an objective view on her
teaching. Not only had the teacher location observation tool helped reinforce that she does move
efficiently and with purpose through the learning environment, but that her movements clearly
helped her students. She was also happy to hear the connections to her own teaching beliefs and
values, even though most of the time she put the positivity onto her students. She often took
herselfher efforts and planningout of the equation and was surprised how things went so

well for her students. She found it helpful to hear from another objective educator that she was,
in fact, the one making this wonderful learning environment happen.
Suggested changes. I also asked my teacher what she would change about the coaching
process, and she said she would like more coaching! She wished her own administrators did
coaching instead of drive-by observations without any real feedback. Having someone observe
her classroom was one thing, but actually having a planning conversation and a reflective
conversation afterward was so encouraging to her. Not only did she feel better about her
teaching practices, but she also had ideas for how to move forward and continue developing as
an educator.
Suggestions for my development as a coach. I asked my teacher how I could become a
better coach, and she jokingly told me to come to her classroom more. When I pushed for a
real answer, she said that sometimes I speak too quickly when I get excited during the
conversations. She said that it fit her style perfectly, but that some people might feel
overwhelmed by a fast talker. I made a mental note and will continue to work on the pacing of
my questions and clarifications when coaching others.
Reflections on Full Coaching Cycle
I was nervous to do the full coaching cycle at first because I didnt want to mess up in
front of someone else; however, since I had an established relationship with my teacher, it was
helpful to work with someone with whom I was comfortable. I also think it helped that I had
done my initial coaching conversation with her as well.
Charting coaching behaviors. Watching the video of our conversation was incredibly
awkward, but highly illuminating. I found I was actively listening throughout most of the
conversation and inserting natural clarifying statements and/or questions. I presented very little,

but instead asked her to explain her own thoughts and reactions. I asked a lot of questions,
though it didnt seem like too many upon review of the video. It really was a naturally flowing
conversation between two educators. It was also evident that we were both excited when we
started brainstorming and designing possible ways for her to develop her ideas and connect them
to PD for other teachers. We also celebrated successes and positives throughout, and we both
interjected quite a bit of humor into the conversation as a whole.
Coaching style points. The Coaching Style Points document was a little easier to fill out
because it has built in directives, and I was able to reflect back holistically on the conversation,
as opposed to in two minute intervals. We already had an established rapport, and we were both
eager to celebrate what we were seeing in the classroom. I framed the conversation around what
she thought worked within the lesson, and I listened attentively throughout the conversation. I
asked my teacher to explain how the lesson unit evolved, and we celebrated how engaged her
students were throughout the lesson. We focused on her strengths in planning for and engaging
her students with authentic problem solving tasks. We then tied those ideas to a larger plan to
help positively impact other teachers in her building through successful and personalized PD.
Reflections on instructional leadership platform. Thinking back on my instructional
leadership platform, I believe I made major connections in developing a safe and supportive
learning environment focused on high achievement, support, and trust for all stakeholders. I
observed and coached a teacher who shares those same leadership interests. I also believe I
made connections to helping create a collaborative and interactive environment through
watching my teachers students engage in an authentic learning task as well as helping develop a
future PD plan for other teachers in content areas to create authentic lessons for their own
students.

Conclusion
Learning is a part of who I am, and the coaching process helped me continue to learn as
an instructional leader. I learned how to be in the moment and respond to my coachee as
necessary to develop a positive and trusting relationship that focused on celebrating what worked
in a learning environment as well as what could be developed in a learning environment. We so
often have to fight against the bureaucratic nature of administration that does not foster the desire
to learn. Instead, we must push for inquiry and learning for ourselves and our students. My
teacher was clearly starved for feedback from her own administrators; Im so glad I could offer
her positive encouragement and support for what she is clearly doing so well in her classroom for
her students. I want to continue to have a positive impact on other educators as a strong
instructional leader, and I believe the coaching process is the way to keep moving forward and
developing a network of educators who not only support one another but help each other keep
pushing and using best practices.