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Announcing Teacher Coaching from the Roaming Scientist!

For those of you who have been to my blog before you probably already know that I am an experienced and passionate international science teacher. I have taught high school science in four different schools, in four different countries so far; gathering ideas and inspiration along the way. I have always enjoyed working with co-teachers, colleagues and pursuing teach-alike opportunities at conferences. One of my most frequently used collaboration opportunities is online in specialized Facebook groups such as those for IBDP Biology teachers. It was through conversations in these groups that I first realized how much I have learned in my journey as an international school teacher, especially in my knowledge of the IB Diploma Biology course. While I think teachers tend to be modest, myself included, I eventually realized how much knowledge I had to share, especially with new teachers or teachers who are new to the IB Diploma. So, after much debate, reflection and planning I have decided to offer teacher coaching services, you can check out the Services page of this website and this blog post to learn more.


When I think back on my career thus far I realize just how many beneficial experiences I have had. I began my teaching career in my home country of Canada, teaching Science, Math & French in a public school in Oakville, Ontario. After four years I decided to take the leap to my first international school in Guangzhou, China where I established the high school science program from the ground up in this brand new international school using NGSS standards and AP Science courses. After eight years in the classroom and two different schools I decided to return to Canada to pursue my Masters of Environmental Studies, where I wrote my thesis on sustainability in international school students.

I then made my way to Caracas, Venezuela for my first IB World School where I taught MYP Science and IDBP Biology in some very challenging conditions. They say that your first year teaching the IB is a trial by fire… well, I did mine while dealing with food supply issues, an attempted coup and water shortages. I love Venezuela, but it was a very challenging place to live and I really hope that things get better there soon; Venezuelans deserve so much better. After my time in Caracas I made my way across the Atlantic to my current school in Rabat, Morocco. Here I have further finessed my IBDP Biology teaching skills and taken on several new roles within the IB world.

As the Science team leader, I work with other IBDP teachers including those for IBDP Chemistry, IBDP Physics and IBDP Sports, Exercise & Health Science. This has given me insight into the similarities and differences between these different Group 4 courses. Unlike my school in Venezuela, my current school here in Morocco doesn’t follow the IB MYP program leading up to the IB Diploma. We use the American Common Core NGSS standards instead. During my first year here in Morocco one of my tasks was to transition our Grade 9 and Grade 10 Science program to NGSS standards while maintaining our vertical alignment with the IB Diploma sciences. This was a very challenging task and one we are still working on finessing four years later.

The ultimate learning opportunity came when I took on the role of IB examiner. I highly encourage IB teachers who have sufficient experience to apply to be an examiner it teaches you so much and gives you a whole new perspective on the IBDP course which you are examining. In my first year examining for the IBO I assessed Biology IAs in both English & French and after moderating 105 IAs over a few weeks while teaching full time I was exhausted and overwhelmed with the amount of knowledge I had gained. I was also very excited to apply this new knowledge to help my students write even better IAs!

This year I will once again be examining for the IBO, it looks like Paper 2 exams and potentially some IAs as well. While I am dreading the complete lack of work-life balance that comes with examining I am very excited to see what I can add to my bag of tricks this year.

Some Thoughts on Teacher Professional Development

Like every experienced teacher out there I have been to many, many workshops, conferences and webinars in the name of professional development. Some were led by trained instructors, such as my official IBO training courses while others were led by teacher experts and some by my colleagues at various in-school PD sessions. Of those different types of sessions some were my choice to attend while

others were chosen for me, by my administrators or in the form of required training for a specific teaching position. After so many hours spent in so many different types of PD I now know what my ideal Professional Development formula is: it is on a topic of my choice based on a goal or need I have in my classroom, it is focused and relevant, it includes opportunities to ask questions about my particular situation and at the end I come away with either resources that I can use right away in my classroom or a plan I can follow to implement the training… ideally both. For this reason, I have set up my coaching program with these goals in mind.

Goals of Coaching

The role of my teacher coaching sessions in a teacher’s PD program is quite different from those of large whole-school or institutional training programs. Those PD options have their place and are useful, and I would strongly suggest that every new IBDP teacher take the Category 1 & 2 workshops from the IBO within the first few years of teaching the IB Diploma. What makes my coaching program different is that my sessions are more targeted to specific goals and take into account my client's prior knowledge, either through customized goals set by the client(s) or on a more focused theme such as the IBDP Biology IA. Sessions always include time for clients to ask questions specific to their situation and resources to take back to their classroom and use immediately. My goal is to leave every client satisfied, armed with knowledge and tools to help them meet their goals, starting the next day!

Session vs. Workshop vs. Webinar

Based on my experience beta testing coaching sessions with IBDP Biology teachers as well as my own reflections on my PD experience I have created four different types of sessions each with a different goal, duration, group size and price point.

Session Type #1 : Customized Individual Session

  • These one on one sessions are completely customized to the client’s questions, prior experience and goals

  • The agenda will be determined ahead of time and confirmed by email to ensure that the session meets the clients’ expectations

  • Resources which are relevant to the session will be prepared ahead of time and included in the session price

  • These individual sessions have proven to be incredibly effective, particularly with a specific goal; for example, one client didn’t understand where her students were losing points in their Biology IA, so we went through one of her students’ IAs together as well as the IA rubric and I was able to clarify the IBO’s expectations for her in less than an hour

Session Type #2 : Customized Small Group Session

  • These small group sessions are for groups of 2 – 6 people and are completely customized to the clients’ questions, prior experience and goals, for this reason these sessions work best if the teachers all have the same goals and similar experience

  • The agenda will be determined ahead of time and confirmed by email to ensure that the session meets the clients’ expectations

  • Resources which are relevant to the session will be prepared ahead of time and included in the session price

Session Type #3 : Small Group Workshop

  • These small group workshops are for groups of 2 – 6 people and are conducted on a specific theme, such as: incorporating IA skills into your IBDP Science course, aligning NGSS standards to the IB Diploma program or review strategies for the IB Biology exams

  • The agenda will be shared when the workshop is advertised and will always include time for questions, since it is a small group workshop every client will have time to have their questions answered

  • Resources which are relevant to the session will be prepared ahead of time and included in the workshop price

Session Type #4 : Large Group Webinar

  • The most economical type of coaching session is a large group webinar for seven or more people, like the small group workshop these webinars are conducted on a specific theme

  • Some webinar theme ideas include: interpreting the IBO IA rubrics, vertical alignment of lab skills in preparation for the IB diploma and advising students undertaking a Biology Extended Essay (EE)

  • The agenda will be shared when the webinar is advertised and will always include time for questions, although since it is a large group webinar not every client will have time to have their questions answered

  • Resources which are relevant to the session will be prepared ahead of time and included in the webinar price

Looking forwards in 2023!

I have no idea where this coaching service will take me as I officially take steps towards making this idea into a reality. My goal is to fill in a gap in the IBDP Biology Professional Development community and support teachers as they continue to grow as IB science teachers. During the sessions which I have offered to date I have really enjoyed seeing and hearing how my clients have benefited from the session, whether with new understandings, new strategies ideally a mix of both. Let’s see where this journey takes me and if you are interested in a session of any type just send me a message!

Thanks for reading teachers, travelers & curious souls of all kinds.

The Roaming Scientist



Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm the kind of teacher who is always trying something new, new labs, new Apps, new scaffolds and even new countries to live and teach in. I'm looking forward to share what I learn with you all through my weekly blog posts. 

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