Coaching is becoming common across many organizations. If coaching works for top athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and other professions, why shouldn’t educators capitalize on the benefits of coaching as well?
Classroom coaches can enhance a teacher’s individual teaching practices, provide support and encouragement, build upon their existing strengths, help them overcome daily classroom challenges, and increase effective interactions in the classroom. This leads to positive outcomes for students and increased professional development and growth for the teacher.
A typical teacher’s response to learning they’ll be working with a coach are often affected by their previous experiences. I’ve received a range of responses when I’ve asked teachers, “What do you think working with a coach will be like?” Some teachers remember a coach from their childhood yelling or screaming at them on the sports field. They fear that the classroom coach experience might be the same. Others have shared images of compassionate and encouraging individuals who helped them overcome challenges, provided resources, and gave support.
No matter how you feel about your past coaching experiences, building an open, collaborative, and positive coaching relationship can truly enhance your overall quality of life in the classroom.
Teachers are used to supporting others, providing instruction and building relationships with students. Transitioning into being coached can be difficult. Your ability to build a collaborative trusting relationship with your coach is one of the key ingredients for success. It’s important to know what you as a teacher can do to enhance the coaching relationship and make the most of your coaching experience.
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When I was a teacher, I can remember taking care to intentionally plan differentiated, or individualized, instruction. And, when I was teaching pre-K I added the same level of intentionality to which materials were available in interest areas, and how I approached transitions throughout the day.
While any level of intentionally, specifically in relation to planning, is important -- I missed a critical opportunity in being more intentional in my interactions with the children in my class.
There is always an opportunity for interaction. Some opportunities are easily recognizable: times of play, free choice, centers, small group. We often see teachers engaged in activities alongside children during these times or hear questions being asked. Other opportunities might be a little less obvious. These are the times of your day that you might see as mundane moments that merely require your supervision or monitoring. The times where you’re going through the motions. “I’m doing this thing so I can move on to the next thing.”
In a previous blog, colleague and early childhood environment extraordinaire, Heather Sason, discussed how your classroom environment can help promote effective teacher-child interactions. In this blog, I propose we explore some of the often overlooked times in your day that are ripe for interactions with children and that do promote exploration, learning, and development!
It's not uncommon for teachers in early education to need to strike a balance between following children's leads and sticking to the classroom schedule. We know that intentional teachers are aware of their responsibility to assess student progress, understand skill mastery, and plan accordingly to provide opportunities for children to grow. However, many times, as teachers begin a specific teacher-directed activity, it is unsettling when students begin to veer from the step-by-step plans the teacher has worked hard to implement.
Teacher and coach, Colleen Schmit, will share how teachers can strike the balance between following the lesson plans and giving children freedom of choice and flexibility in the classroom.
We’re more than a month into the school year, and many educators and school leaders are feeling tired or burnt out already. That’s normal in any school year, as the newness of back-to-school wanes and the reality of a long year ahead kicks in. But, this year, that tiredness may feel like it has never felt before. Chalkbeat has reported that teacher vacancies are up in 18 of 20 large school districts, and it’s not surprising. Many are exhausted after a difficult year and a half (to put it mildly!). Many are also leaving the profession in droves to find work in competitive environments that provide a substantially larger salary.