Back to work in a new Taylor Swift Era

I write while Taylor Swift’s new album folklore streams through my headphones. Ever since it’s release July 24, it’s been the perfect anytime music for this weird time. Poetic lyrics that one can relate to, brilliant storytelling that makes you want to listen more closely, and gentle but affronting melodies. However, this is not a album review blog post (darn), it’s my first blog post of the 2020-2021 school year and is the first signifier that school is back in session.

As I prepare for the upcoming school year as a coach, flexibility will continue to be important. With Online Learning last semester what I was supposed to do changed weekly. It was very fuzzy and grey and there were weeks when I felt helpful and successful but there were many weeks where I felt very defeated, discouraged, and ineffective. So ultimately, my goal for this year is to have more weeks where I felt successful and helpful.

To prepare for blended learning and the instructional partner model, I want to keep the focus on using student data to drive instruction. Last year I felt wrapped up in continuing through the curriculum at a rigorous pace to ensure it was all taught. Because of this, there was not time for teachers to regularly look at student progress and refine and respond teaching. Now that ELA and Math have prioritized certain standards and outcomes for units and modified the pacing I am confident that teachers will feel like they have more time to assess and teach what’s essential and have time to reteach or linger in a teaching point if needed. So as a coach, my role is to make sure I have a solid understanding of the curriculum as well as many different options to collect, reflect, and act on student data. Exit tickets, Seesaw posts, anecdotal notes from live sessions, and organized note keeping will be critical to this success.

I also want to make sure I focus on Care. I will have the opportunity to be on campus while many of our teacher are still in the process of returning to Beijing. Even though I don’t have a homeroom, I want to forge relationships with many ES students. I will be present and visible as often as I can, use SEL activities, check ins, and check outs to get to know students better, and use self-assessment regarding content and social-emotional health to stay attuned to how students are doing. I also want colleagues to know how much I care for them and want to support them. To do this I will take advantage of opportunities to discuss things other than work (Taylor Swift, anyone?) and check in with how people are really doing. And when I need a bit more care, I’ll be vulnerable and brave enough to ask for help.

I imagined lessons based on mini-lessons for a reading unit appropriate for UES students. It will need modification once I know student needs and interests. I just love this format and template!

KHandy Online Learning Assignment (link to pdf)


Welcome to your Professional Learning Blog! This is a place for you to post your goals, and reflect on them throughout the year.

  • Decide on your goal, perhaps in consultation with your colleagues or principal, and create a post to share with this online professional learning community that you are now a part of! Categorise this post in Goal Setting. Set your goal by considering:
    • Self assessment and reflection based on new teacher standards  (Tripod 7C’s)
    • Previous or new observation data from peers and principals
    • Student surveys (online surveys developed and aligned with 7C’s)
  • Identify colleagues, coaches, principals etc. that will play a supporting role in achieving your goal, and invite them to view and comment on your post. Encourage them to bookmark your blog and visit regularly.
  • Throughout the year, collect and share evidence to support your progress. Categorise these posts in Reflection.
  • Encourage your colleagues to share your learning journey by engaging with your blog. In return, engage with their blog (and others across the School)
  • You may also like to share work that your students have created or your own professional achievements that may not be directly related to your goal setting. This is encouraged! Categorise these posts as Showcase.

If you need support using this platform, please don’t hesitate to contact Ed Tech, we are always happy to be of assistance!

© 2021 Kathryn Handy

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