Writing is not my best quality. I need help proofreading my work.
When I was presented with the opportunity to become a professional facilitator, I jumped to the opportunity. I feel very passionate about helping schools, and the teachers in them, establish and realize great goals. Having a thirst for learning and a hunger for continuous improvement; as a current or potential school facilitator, I am on a continuous journey to master this craft. In a world where too many schools are failing their students, I want to be part of and help build schools that enriches the lives of every student it touches.
Becoming a professional facilitator is a way to also liberate my fear of public speaking and presenting. The only way I can get over my fear of public speaking is by going ahead and speaking. It might sound counter intuitive but this is true. The longer I wait to do whatever it is that is causing the fear, the more intense my fear would become. This venue of becoming a facilitator has allow me the possibility to be expose to a safe environment where I can grow professionally with each meeting I facilitate.
Not all meetings are created equal at my school. Some of the meetings are routine, others are crucial to the school future. Hiring an outside group facilitator is generally not a investment for the former, but an inhouse professional facilitator may be essential for the latter.
STANDARDS: Developing a Facilitator Toolbox
When I sat in the the small room that first Friday night at NYU my mind did not know what to expected. The room was filled with teachers from other schools that also were part of the PICCs initiative for “Race to the Top”. We introduce ourselves and began with a protocol call “Norms” that first protocol seem simple enough to implement in my classroom. I decided to give it a try the following week, the first time I tried the protocol it did not go well. The students wanted norms I could not allow in the classroom. I decided to make this protocol work for me and gave it another try a one week later. The second time around, the students understood a little better what the procedure was to make the norms for the classroom. It was not a perfect execution of the protocol, but it was much better than the first. With this protocol alone, I realized that as I give myself more opportunities to practice this new craft facilitating meeting or classrooms will become better with time.
The “Fear and Hopes”protocol help me see what my students were feeling and how many of them share the same ones. Their fears on the direction our school was taking, to the fear of being in a new grade. The hopes of passing three regents in 8th grade to the celebrations of new friendships that will develop in the upcoming year. The “Divirsity Rounds” was an eye opening experience for my students. Through this protocols the students were able to make connections with other students in the classroom. The fact that the students were able to find similarities between their classmates and themselves was great. For me as the facilitator was also a different experience because I learned information about my students, I would not have known otherwise.
STANDARDS: Building Professional Community with Voice and Respect for All
STANDARDS: Surfacing and Managing Controversy / Actively Valuing Dissidence
The second day of training for PLC's we participated in a protocol to “Analyzed Student Work”. Once again, I am sitting in around with teachers from other schools, and all I could think of; was how important is this going to be for my school and the knowledge teachers will gain from analyzing student work. I was so eager to give it a try in my school, that three days later I was facilitating a meeting for a group of new teachers and help them analyze student work. I realize I took the plunge to soon. I follow the protocol to the “T” and I was not sure of myself. Teachers at this meeting did express the benefits of this protocol and ways that they too could use the protocols in their team meetings. Does responses were the highlight of that day, but I forgot to provided them with a reflection sheet to evaluate my growth with is protocol.
As the word spread around the school that two members of the community were receiving training on how to facilitate school meetings, the ELA coach approach me to facilitate his upcoming department meeting. The department wanted to evaluate running records and the coach believed that using a protocol to evaluate “Student Data” was the best approach to gather more information effectevily. The meeting started and as stated in the protocol the person providing the data was only taking notes for the debrief. The meeting went well, although the I had to state a few time that this meeting was free of judgement although their boss was in the room. Some of the teachers were hesitant to provided valid feed back. I just wanted to make sure I could provide a safe environment for all present. At the end of the meeting the coach could not see pass the negative views and sugggestions that the teachers had about the data. I decided that at the end of the meeting, I need to meet with the coach and talk about how the feeling of safety is imporatant in these meetings to be able to optain real change in the school. Three weeks later, I facilitated two math meeting that involved “Student Data” . The first meeting was analyzing student data for one of the 7th grade math teachers in our content grade level meetings. After going though the protocol the other 7th grade math teacher wanted her data to be analyzed as well in the next content level meeting.
Another protocol that was utilize in my classroom was use to figure out the proper grouping for students in the classroom and the best way to make it happen. In this instance I used the “North, South, East, West” protocol. This protocol was used in two different classrooms and the results were use for a different purpose. In one class, one student from each section was selected to create smaller class groups. In the other class, groups were created which members from the same section. The quality of work coming from the group that had the same affinities was much better than the group that had a member from each section. My reason for the differnce in work quality, the group with the different members were arguing most of the time. The next time I was planning a project students were more aware of their affinities and the protocol was a more meaningful experience the second time around for each class.