Above all, instructional coaching is responsive. Coaches design their positions in response to many factors, some within our control and some beyond it. And these positions can look drastically different from one school to the next, even one month to the next! But the common denominator across all of our positions seems to be this: relationships. Coaches strive to build professional relationships with teachers that support and extend the learning of all. 
The basic ideas of building relationships with teachers remains the same no matter the context for coaching. My pact for learning with teachers in person directly parallels my work online:
  • Learning is never complete: We believe in life-long learning and deserve the same innovative and effective support we provide to our students. 
  • We work better together: We believe in collaboration with all faculty to push our thinking and further our learning.
  • Everyone plays a part: Each of us are important to our collaborative learning process. We all have a voice to contribute.
  • We learn from practice: We vow to open our classroom doors and invite connections with others. 
  • We are in charge of our own journey: We deserve personalized learning experiences that are meaningful, authentic and immediately applicable to our own classrooms. 
While this kind of connection and collaboration is never an easy process, it becomes even more complicated when working remotely or virtually, so I rely on particular technology tools to support this important work. And Voxer is one of my go-to tools to connect, collaborate and coach. 

Now, I use Voxer as part of my everyday coaching, even when working in person. But Voxer has been more important than ever as I shift to coaching remotely and virtually. So, if Voxer is new to you, be prepared to dive in headfirst to this game-changer of a coaching tool. Ready?

Voxer is a Walkie Talkie messaging app for your smartphone with live voice, text and photo. Once connected, you can send messages to individuals or groups that you have created. Since communication is asynchronous, you can leave messages for your listeners at any time to listen and respond at any time. I tend to vox on my commute, on daily walks and even when I’m folding the laundry! It is an easy, yet fantastic, way to connect, communicate, collaborate and even coach on our own schedules. 

Here are some ways that I use Voxer to support my coaching:
  • Individual Conversations: I connect with other educators to simply connect, share ideas, pose questions and keep in touch. You can connect with your teachers on Voxer to check in, share ideas for your next coaching cycle or offer an idea or resource.
  • Individual Coaching Cycles: Voxer offers a unique way to hold pre and post coaching cycle conversations when scheduling (or pandemics!) make it hard to host in person. Simply talk through the coaching cycle asynchronously using Voxer for connected conversations over time. 
  • Group Sessions: Connect teams of teachers together on Voxer for sustained conversations. You could create a Voxer group for grade level teams, committees or educators interested in exploring a particular topic together.
  • Book Studies: This is one of my favorite ways to use Voxer. If you cannot meet live or want a way to continue the conversations in between sessions, create a Voxer group to keep the conversation going. Create a schedule and pose prompts related to the book content. Teachers can join in from wherever and whenever they can, ensuring professional learning fits into their own schedule. 
Now, this is just a start to the possibilities of using Voxer for our coaching. I’m playing around with launching professional learning, hosting coaching communities and more! You’re likely thinking of possibilities for your own coaching already, so here’s how to get started:
  • Head to Voxer and create a free account on your mobile device. No need to upgrade to a professional account for now. Move the app to your home screen so you get used to using it regularly. 
  • Scroll your contacts. You’ll see who you already know on Voxer and who you might want to invite. But, you can always come back to this later after you feel a bit more comfortable with the app.
  • Send your first vox! I’d love to hear that you’re jumping into Voxer, so send me a text or voice message to @AffinitoLit! I can answer any of your questions and share some tips and tricks, too.
  • One last thing: change your default setting so you do not have to hold the button down continuously to talk. Click on settings and then ‘tap to talk’. You might also disable your location if you’d like to keep that private and can even speed up your listening time, too!
Well, there you have it! Don’t try this tomorrow….get started today!

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