For Jody Pittock, being an R-coach in R-GroupSpace means she can support an open and collaborative approach to sharing effective teaching strategies with other teachers. With more than 30 years of experience in the classroom and as a literacy coach in the Erie, Pennsylvania, public schools, Jody Pittock understands the need for teachers to be more public about their instructional decisions as they think about implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in their daily practice. “The more open we are, the more we share our expertise, the better we will all become,” she says.
In Pittock’s opinion, the R-GroupSpace design will have a positive impact on the nature of coaching. The site has allowed her to develop individual professional learning opportunities for the teachers and administrators with whom she works. “What participants look for depends on their needs and comfort level with the coaching process,” she explains. “Some teachers want to gather resources and others want coaches to think along with them as they create and implement LDC modules. They may have a specific question or want to throw out a generic one to a large group.”
In addition to teachers being able to choose their style of professional learning, the remote coaching site helps solve the problem of the use of time. With traditional professional development, teachers need to be in a specified place at a certain time, but remote coaching allows them to set their own pace. “A participant may post a question or a sample of work at 10 a.m., then I may review it a couple of hours later, and the teacher can loop back later in the day,” Pittock notes.
R-GroupSpace allows teachers to interact on the site in many ways, she points out. “They can pull from a multitude of resources in the Library, consult with a group of colleagues, receive direct coaching, ask a generic question, or ask for feedback on a module they are currently developing. Teachers are able to view these interactions on screen and make changes immediately online.” Now retired from the public school system and working as an R-coach, Pittock believes “people truly are seeing remote coaching as a viable option to onsite coaching.”
A TEACHER’S VIEWPOINT
Amy Cody, a National Board Certified Teacher at the Walton-Verona Middle School (KY), is always looking for ways to collaborate with colleagues and finds the R-GroupSpace “invaluable.” She explains: “I have submitted my modules and received very helpful, constructive feedback, which makes my modules better. The site also offers a library full of resources and videos. With forums from elementary to high school as well as one specific to Kentucky educators, knowledgeable folks and super resources are at my fingertips through the R-GroupSpace site.”