22 May The Country’s Best Coaches: Samantha Reichard in Charlotte, NC
At CT3, we are fortunate to be able to meet and work closely with educators all over the country. We often find that the Real Time Teacher Coaches we train often hold different roles besides just “coach”. They’re not just No-Nonsense Nurturers, or skilled Real Time Teacher Coaches, but they’re also experts in a variety of subjects in their buildings to help better serve their students. Many are masters of lesson planning or teacher evaluations. Some are even Union representatives! Many are teacher leaders or school leaders that juggle both positions. We’re bringing recognition to many of the coaches we work with in schools across the country through our new blog series: “The Country’s Best Coaches”.
Shout out to Samantha Reichard, Multi-Classroom Leader and Real Time Teacher Coach at Ranson IB Middle School, a Project L.I.F.T. school in Charlotte, NC for her commitment to her students and staff!
How did you get selected as a Real Time Teacher Coach? How did that make you feel?
The Multi-Classroom Leaders at Ranson IB Middle School are all trained to become Real Time Teacher Coaches so that we can improve teaching practice and learning levels across the school building. When I learned that I was to become a Real Time Teacher Coach [RTTC], I realized that this investment opportunity will be life-changing. Just coming out of the classroom after eight years as an English Language Arts teacher, I would now be able to impact more students and teachers. Instead of only 100 of my own students growing to proficiency and beyond, I would now move to coaching a cohort of teachers, who then, in turn, would impact an entire grade level of learners. Also, because I am coaching teachers, these teachers would then be equipped with management and instructional skills and strategies they will use throughout their career, therefore impacting thousands of futures.
I won’t lie – I felt the gravity of the responsibility, and this impacted my desire to learn, practice, and perfect the Real Time Teacher Coaching model so that I can ensure these skills transpose through the individuals I work with. I also felt that I was in an exceptional situation where my school leader saw something in me that was worth the investment. Because of this, and the fidelity I have to my community, I worked, researched, and studied to ensure I could make my training worthy to my leader, teachers, school, and most importantly, the students in the classroom.
After I was able to show that being a RTTC fit in naturally with my professional persona and my desire to continually figure out ways to move teachers and scholars utilizing this model, I was made the school-wide RTTC Multi-Classroom Leader for the 2017-2018 school-year. I currently am able to coach teachers to have engaging lessons and positive classroom culture, reaching over 900 scholars.
What has your experience as a Real Time Teacher Coach taught you about yourself?
Throughout my three years of being a RTTC, I have realized how urgent I must be to make positive change in students’ lives. We do not have much time to train teachers in order to be effective educators. Children’s lives are at stake when we take our time to make a decision. If we don’t have trained individuals in front of our students, we don’t have a purpose as a school, and we fail students. I have taken the “No-Nonsense Nurturer” [NNN] quality to heart and work relentlessly to move teachers up and along CT3’s Student Engagement Rubric so that they are worthy sources of learning for their students. This means that I have to rely on myself to make quick, yet calculated moves when I coach teachers, and because of this, I have learned that I can and should trust myself to make these strong coaching moves.
I have also learned that I can be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. There needs to be some discomfort involved to move individuals in the best direction, and that those awkward moments should be treated as a pivotal moment in time: is the pressure going to lead toward a positive turn in teaching and thinking practice? Is it going to take a few more tries because a teacher is ‘ almost there’? Or is it going to uncover biases against our stakeholders so deep and ingrained that we need to make moves to ensure students and staff are not negatively affected by disempowering individuals?
What other duties do you have at your school?
In my school, Real Time Teacher Coaching is my main duty. I am in the fortunate situation where I am able to focus all of my energy on training and growing teachers in management and instructional strategies. I also assist with ELA planning and preparation and I lead small groups of cusp scholars at the end of the year to prepare for End of Grade assessments.
What do you feel you’re a ‘master’ in? (i.e planning, Danielson method, evaluations, literacy, school culture, etc.)?
I am a master in Language Arts! I have taught Language Arts for eight years before I became an ELA Multi-Classroom Leader. I served in that position for two years before moving to my current role as RTTC MCL. I love to plan ELA curriculum and assessments.
Data is my life. I am an extreme data geek! I love to crunch numbers and turn them into a spreadsheet for easy review. I use data to show school-wide growth in RTTC coaching sessions using CT3’s Student Engagement Rubric and Instructional strategy “Look For” guides. I collect, crunch, and input in interactive spreadsheets and presentations. I also offer myself up for assisting with other content data usage after common interim assessments.
Can you tell us a story of student or teacher success you attribute to NNN or RTTC?
The work of a RTTC is one full of successes, even if the situation doesn’t feel so positive at the moment. This is why I am so proud and excited to do what I do! You directly change life trajectories for all stakeholders involved. Two particular teachers at Ranson stand out when I think of strong, true and ideal success: Ms. Elkins and Ms. Redeemer. I led both teachers as their RTTC for two years. Both teachers came to Ranson IB with strong management skills and flexible mindsets.
It seems like an easy situation to coach, two strong teachers that have strong data to support their roles, but best believe that can be one of the toughest situations to coach through. Try telling a successful teacher to change teaching practice! However, by using the protocols for pre-conferences, coaching sessions, and post-conferences, I was able to get into their mindsets to push them into looking at their current strategies to determine if the time and energy is being used just because “that’s what I do” or if “that’s what is best to do”. Because of our work together, they both are rated at “Transformative Engagement” on CT3’s Student Engagement Rubric and are transformational not only to their scholars, but to our story as a school.
Questions about Real Time Teacher Coaching? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.