Friday, 24 July 2015

#EdVentures Part 9: A Community of Collaborative Coaches.

A few years ago, Steve Box came down from Brisbane to visit a few schools in Sydney. His purpose or focus was on boy’s education, PYP and also to meet some 'key' people. He visited Newington, Shore, Kings, Roseville, NBCS and Knox. You see, I will always remember Steve visiting Sydney as this was the first time I met many people in my PLN. Steve's 'key' people were also members of my PLN and it was August 2013.

Thanks to @7mrsjames for this photo

At my school in the US, for educators to be allocated a band (salary) increase, one domain required you to visit and learn from other schools and educators. It wasn’t unusual for my children’s principal to speak with me about what we were doing at San Domenico. Educators shared openly.

While talking with Cameron Paterson at ISTE this month, I shared how when I return to Australia, I wanted to continue to learn and also connect with others who are coaching or are interested in coaching. From this conversation, my school organised for me to meet with Glenn McLaughlin at Knox Grammar and Len Nixon at Barker College. What made these meetings even more valuable was that I would be Skyping with Dr Jim Knight beforehand. The power of collaborating and connecting has really resonated with me over the last six weeks.

On #satchatoc we tweet six questions to promote rich conversations. Instead of creating the six questions myself or asking Jim to generate them, I asked some members of my PLN that I highly respect- “What questions would you ask Jim about coaching?" Through Voxer, Twitter and a few phone calls, I had some strong questions to share with Jim. People ask what do I 'get out' of being a connected educator? Well, I think I just answered that question. 

So when I met with Glenn, I asked him the six questions. One point of interest was that Glenn provided another great question for our chat. I didn’t record our conversation though I wish I had. Glenn also offered to support me with my learning and extended this offer to my school. This further proves that many educators are willing to share their knowledge and their time. This is also evident with the TeachMeet movement.

That night, I also Skyped Shira Leibowitz Ph.D, who is a coach & mentor, innovator, former principal, facilitator of on-line learning, writer & editor, #educoach co-founder & co-moderator. Unfortunately Shira and I couldn’t meet in person while I was in New York, but honestly, the connection we made virtually was amazing. We talked about the presenters at Harvard, observations, evaluations and the coaching process. She also offered her support and asked me to keep her updated on my progress. Her generosity was inspiring.

So on my last day of #EdVentures, I visited Len Nixon at Barker College. Len & I spoke for a long period of time about coaching, professional development, mentoring, accreditation and much more. I also chatted with Brad Merrick about doctoral studies, passion and perseverance. We all discussed opportunities for us to learn, collaborate, grow and develop our profession. I left Barker believing I have two new friends who share the same passion for education.

Later, I thought about how we ask our students to collaborate and work on group projects, so why couldn’t we? Yes, we may be from all different schools and states but ultimately it’s our passion and interest that unite us. I thought about this tweet from Dayna on last week's #satchatoc about Professional Learning with @adambellow

@stringer_andrea the best connections can be outside your school. You may be on a different learning arc & need a better match.
10:00 AM - 18 Jul 2015

So here are my thoughts-

  • Couldn't we coach each other to become better coaches? 
  • Use Voxer to discuss various scenarios? 
  • Create a chat for coaches? (not mentioning any names)
  • Organise a TeachMeet to share our experiences?
  • Create..."A community of collaborative coaches"

I'll finish #EdVentures with the words that inspired my fellowship.

“No matter how well trained people are, few can sustain their best performance on their own”(Gawande, 2011).

Gratitude Journal

Glen McLaughlin & Mr Weeks (Headmaster of Knox Grammar)
Len Nixon, Brad Merrick & Mr Heath (Head of Barker College)
Dr Briony Scott (Principal of Wenona)
Jim Knight
Shira Leibowitz
My PLN- with a special thanks to-
@cpaterso @CmunroOz @Borto74 @debsnet @corisel @wholeboxndice


  1. Love the idea of a Coachmeet for sharing ideas, learning from each other and coaching each other. Melbourne is good, but I'd come to Sydney. I'd be happy to participate in imagining and organising this - be in touch!

  2. Let's do it Edna. I know a few of us who are interested. Thanks for taking the time to read this post.