I was one of the first Instructional Technology Coaches hired by a school district in my county (usually regional educational service agencies do that sort of thing). That was four and a half years ago, and since then I’ve taken on a much more quasi-administrative role in my district. However, over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions and requests for help in shaping similar roles in neighboring school districts. I share the original job description for my position, the interview process, and any other questions that come my way. I try to be helpful.
I was contacted by another individual seeking input of this nature this week via Twitter, and was asked a very compelling and unique question. Typically people just want the job description, and a walk through of my average week. This individual wanted to know specifically “If you were on the hiring committee for an instructional technology coach, what questions would you ask?” The first time I was asked specifically about a list of questions about hiring a tech-savvy teacher, David Warlick blasted me for focusing too much on the educational side, and not enough on the technical. I thought I had created a fairly balanced list, which was published in the Winter 2007 issue of Interactive Educator (it’s a small side bar of “Do’s and Dont’s”).
In retrospect, my original list of “do’s and dont’s” may have come down more heavily on the educational side of things, but I was speaking from my perspective then, and quite frankly, the questions that Mr. Warlick provided in return weren’t my cup of tea either. So, in an attempt to provide an updated list of questions that better reflect my experience, and a more balanced approach, I’ve broken them up into three categories to get a feel for each role that an Instructional Technology Coach must play. Agree with me or not, this is where I would start and most likely would continue to refine the questions with the hiring committee until we felt as though each of these three categories were well represented, and could provide us with some meaningful insight as to who they are as an individual.
Questions About Leadership – An instructional technology coach is a leader, first and foremost
- What experience do you have leading adults?
- How would you approach a teacher that just doesn’t want to “get on the bus?”
- An instructional coach needs support, what support would you need from an administrator?
- How would you help adult learners be accountable for achieving goals?
- Can you share an example of being a “team player” despite holding opinions contrary to your superior?
Questions About Teaching – An instructional technology coach understands pedagogy and people
- Who is your educational hero, and why do they inspire you?
- How do you reflect on your personal beliefs and educational philosophy?
- A colleague tells you that they don’t believe in a learning philosophy or pedagogical viewpoint that you hold dear. How do you deal with that?
- What’s the single biggest similarity between adult learners and younger learners? The biggest difference?
- An administrator asks you to lead a workshop for a group of teachers you’ve never met. What’s the first thing you do when you walk into the room with them?
Questions About Technology – An instructional technology coach should posses an innate desire to “tinker”
- What’s the last thing you took apart, just to see how it worked?
- What’s the last thing you created because other resources out there weren’t good enough?
- How do you go about troubleshooting a technical problem?
- What does your digital footprint look like?
- What framework or set of tools do you employ to narrate, curate, and share your learning process?
image – question mark in esbjerg by Alexander Henning Drachmann