My Experience with BetterLesson’s personalized coaching
Alaska teacher Erica Rhodes discusses her experience with BetterLesson’s PersonalizedPD.
By Erika Rhodes, NEA-Alaska Member
I did the BetterLesson coaching this semester and I REALLY liked it! I met with my coach one-on-one via video chat every two weeks and discussed what I was doing in my classroom, areas I wanted to improve, and specific strategies that I could use in my classroom. BetterLesson has an app/website that has different strategy suggestions, and the coach also has a network of other teacher-coaches that she could connect with to find specific resources. She was not a Spanish teacher but had taught language arts for ten years prior to this job.
I felt like this was a really small time/work commitment that definitely improved my classroom because it gave me the push I needed to try new things. Often I have ideas I want to try, but the week gets busy and I forget. When I have a sticky note on my desk that says I’m supposed to report to someone about that idea in a week or two, I’m more likely to make time for it. My coach also tracked down specific types of resources for me, per my request. Sometimes she made suggestions that I didn’t think would work for my classroom, and that was fine! There was no pressure to do things I didn’t want to do.
One of the strategies I discovered was internet based group games to help with vocabulary or concept review. There are several, but the one I like best is Quizlet Live. Teachers can enter their own study lists, or they can search already uploaded material. I was able to find lists from the same textbook that I use, so I essentially had ready-made content that I could edit as needed. Then you open a game, students enter a code on their own device to join, and the site divides them into teams which you can shuffle as often as you like. Students then compete with each other. My students LOVE this game. Again, I was already using the Quizlet website as an online resource for my students, but having a coach prodded me to spend more time on the site and try out its different components.