So, I’ve been thinking about the gathering I hosted on Friday.
At the encouragement of a colleague I invited all my teaching colleagues to a 1:1 What’s Working gathering on Friday after school. I know it sounds like a terrible time, but students get out early on Friday and we (faculty) aren’t really supposed to leave right away. I sent out an invite of sorts and promised food. I got a handful of acceptances right away. Then on the morning of the gathering I sent out this picture of the cake I made for the event. I got some more people with that.
So, I think what’s working is cake. This chocolate sour cream bunt cake from Cook’s Illustrated (January,2004) never disappoints.
I expected folks to stay 30 minutes, maybe 45 minutes at most. A number of people came and went as they needed to. Totally fine. I didn’t want this to be some serious meeting with an agenda. I took notes so that people could just listen and talk. But then, it turned out people stayed. And stayed longer. At the hour and a half marked we had to call it an afternoon.
What was exciting was having people come together to share the positives. I get plenty of complaints from people. I don’t think I’m in danger of not hearing the negative stuff. Hearing about all different things that are working for particular classrooms and courses was so interesting. It’s always so great to hear the excitement and enthusiasm people have for what they are doing. I can’t help but be excited too.
So, what did people share? Here’s a quick link to my notes. Feel free to read through, take what you need, ask any questions in the comments, suggest your own favorite classroom tech use, share a recipe.
I am curious about how other schools and tech coaches engage their colleagues generally. Our Middle School Tech Coach, @Betny802, has been hosting weekly Tea and Tech gatherings for a number of weeks. She sends out a note with the menu (1 beverage, 1 food item, 1 tech thing) in advance and has been getting a few people at each tea. She’s building momentum. Our Lower School Technology Coach, the very connected @TeacherDebra, sends out regular digests of ideas with shout outs to particular teachers. She is also in and out of classrooms all the time. In high school I don’t think that teachers expect or would take well to me wandering in and out of rooms during class. We have a mid-day break time that is a possibility, but I have not had any luck with that as a gathering time, except to trouble shoot, hence the Friday option.
So, moving forward, I want to continue our gatherings. I plan to stick with the Friday time for right now. Here are my questions:
- Every week seems too frequent, but once a month might not be enough. Every other week?
- Do I try to sneak in a little something in particular, or just let the sharing take its course?
- Maybe on alternate Fridays have a learning session that comes out of ideas that were shared the week before? Too much?
I’d love some thoughts.