Part 2: If You Had One Week

Yesterday's blog was the best one I ever wrote. Because I didn't write it. Instead, it attracted comments from some really great minds -- a mix of teachers, charter school leaders, and people who run teacher prep programs.

Click here and you can read the whole thread.

For a while, I've been thinking about the idea of One Whole Week of teacher coaching, all day, every day.

Think about it.

There's a thing called "tennis lessons" (usually one hour). And there's "tennis camp" (often one week).

There's "language class" (often one hour at a time) and there's "language immersion camp" (often several weeks).

There's a thing called teacher coaching, which is often around an hour. However, there is not really a "whole week product."

What happens in a teacher coaching session? Someone watches the teacher. Then coach and teacher talk. Often 5 to 60 minutes observe, then 5 to 60 minute debrief. Let's say it's typically an hour per week.

A really lucky teacher might get 50 hours per year of "sessions." That's probably on the high side in most charters; certainly way more than what someone gets in our own charters.

Why isn't there the equivalent of "Teacher Camp" in addition to sessions?

This would be 50 hours of someone personally helping you get better -- all in one week, mixed in and around the 20 hours of actually teaching the kiddos?

In the version we've been thinking, the Camp -- the Full Week -- comes to the teacher. I.e., this isn't something to work on in the abstract. It's not a summer thing. You don't go away to Teacher Camp.

The "High Dosage Week Flush With Potential Change" comes to you, the teacher, in the form of a counselor. Maybe a week in September. Maybe even another week in January. Maybe a third week in April. All to tackle the real gritty challenges of change. In some ways, it's like Nanny 911, except the expectation is that this would not focus on the flailing rookie teacher. This is for people who have some game already.

We figure The Week is a worthwhile thing to offer a teacher -- a week where you can try, if you choose (and only if you choose), to create real palpable, visible, authentic, "sticky" change in your classroom that makes you incredibly happy as you raise your game.

The question we've been pondering is: what the heck does one DO with this mega-week of coaching?

That's why the hive mind really helped; yesterday's commenters offered all sorts of insights.

Tomorrow I'll describe an experiment we plan to do along these lines.