Teacher Tuesday is BACK! The last time I posted one of these blog posts was in 2015 and I posted about my homemade grade book! Being a teacher is a HUGE part of who I am and I LOVE sharing about it, I’m honestly not sure why I stopped doing these posts. What I’ve reflected on recently is that this place should be a space where I can share about beautiful sessions with families but also a place where I can share about my passions inside and outside of photography. I’ve realized that I’d like to start treating this space as a legacy that I can look back on years from now as a glimpse of what my life was like back in the day. Originally that was what this blog was for – a place where I could share about my adventures around Richmond with others. So it’s time to get back to my roots and share the whole story, me in all aspects of my life. I’m bringing back TEACHER TUESDAY! Q: S Club 7 song: Bring it all back!
To set up expectations here’s my vision for Teacher Tuesday – I’m thinking I’ll do this every other week and share apps, techniques, and resources that I love. I’ll post things that you can take and use for yourselves and even step by step guides for how to implement a strategy into your own classroom. As well as sharing funny stories every so often (names removed) from my time in the room.
Today’s Teacher Tuesday Topic: What the heck is an “ITRT”
For those of you who don’t know this – my primary profession is as a teacher. But I’m not a typical classroom teacher – I used to be but now I’m what they call an instructional coach – I know, this sounds confusing. You may hear me reference it as an “ITRT” but my real title is K-12 Instructional Technology Coach and basically, this means I’m a coach for teachers. Now if I’ve lost you stay with me because this is what the whole post is about – what the HECK is an “ITRT”? or “instructional coach”? I seriously get this question every time I tell people what I do so don’t fret if you don’t know – I’ll explain. 🙂
Now you may be wondering – what do you mean “instructional coach”. Well, it’s kind of exactly what it sounds like – I help teachers with planning and executing instruction from small lessons to larger projects in a similar way to how a sports coach would help their players map out a game plan. I meet with teachers and help them take steps to include deeper learning techniques, meet students needs, include 21st-century technology and build soft skills like collaboration and creativity. Not only that but I work to plan professional development for teachers so they can learn new techniques or technology for their classroom. It’s so different every day!
So let’s backtrack a bit and give you some context – how did I get to become an ITRT? I used to be a classroom teacher. I’m a trained and licensed middle school science (and math) teacher. I have an undergrad degree in Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies (a fancy way of saying Education), a minor in middle education and a Masters in Arts of Teaching. I taught middle school science for 6 years before moving into this role as an instructional coach.
I LOVE teaching. LOVE it! It’s my calling and at this point in life, I can’t imagine walking completely away from it. I love the feeling of asking a question and letting it linger for a second and feeling students think. I LOVE working with kids and I’m also that super nerd that loves planning lessons and units! So many people ask me – if you love teaching so much then why did you leave the classroom? And I’ll be honest – that’s a tough question.
The reality is – I miss my classroom and my students every. single. day. I miss that feeling of the room exploding with cheers at the end of our review game “Megamanji”. I miss the flutter of nerves before back to school night and the tears at the end of the year when my kiddos get on the bus to leave for the summer. I miss laminating… everything. I even miss making copies and fixing jams sometimes (emphasis on sometimes). But mostly I miss getting to talk to my students every day. Checking in with them as I walk around during their bell ringer, singing to them about classroom routines and caring about them all year long. There isn’t a single day when I don’t miss having my own students. So why would I leave the room?
What pushed me to consider being an ITRT was my experience with my ITRTs at school. These were people in my life who saw my bigger potential and coached me to try new things. They stretched me professionally to think more deeply about content, challenged me to take risks and walked with me step by step as I grew. These people impacted my teaching career and were mentors for me. The lessons I’m most proud of were designed with them and while they’d never take credit – it was their gentle push that took me to the next level. After working with them I now always find myself putting students in the center and considering the “why” behind activities, projects, and lessons. They helped me so selfishly and I knew I wanted to do that for other teachers too.
As much as I love the room and loved having my own students, I LOVE that in this role as a coach I get to help more people experience these joys of teaching that I always felt. I get to help and work with more students in more classes and help shape their experience from year to year instead of just in my class. I also love helping people and being a resource – in this job I get to help people 100% of the time.
The best part of this job is that I get to work with teachers in all different contents and grades! I’ve gotten to work on lessons ranging from coding in art classes to foreign language classes, fiction lessons with 2nd grade and all the way to research projects with seniors! It’s a blast and keeps me moving all the time. Do I ever think about going back to the classroom – umm OF COURSE! But at this point, I’m smitten with helping as many people as I can and I LOVE being an ITRT.
So now that you know a little bit more about my primary job as an ITRT and since we’re celebrating Teacher Tuesdays being back I’m giving away some FREEBIES! I always made my own classroom posters so today I’m sharing two posters that you can take and print for your own classroom! Because these are PDFs I just take them to staples and have them printed on larger paper and then laminate them myself. 🙂