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.
Shared physical presence is a large part of how we’re used to connecting with each other. Strong connections and relationships are important for children who may have recently experienced loss, high stress, or trauma. As teachers connect with children in a virtual setting, it can be more challenging to think about how to create a safe space for learning, sharing experiences, and taking risks.
As a CDA with CLASS facilitator, I now recognize that CLASS also helps us think about how we can be present and responsive in supporting the curiosity, engagement, and persistence of adult learners.
I am blessed to be able to support CDA learners, many of whom are returning to formal education for the first time in many years. Some of these learners come from previous educational experiences that were not supportive, that left them feeling that they weren’t good at school or weren’t competent students. But with the right support, these learners can grow their persistence as well as their sense of competence and confidence.
Data from the National Survey of Students’ Health (NSCH) indicates that almost half of the students in the United States have experienced one or more forms of serious trauma, such as poverty, homelessness, or abuse and neglect. This means that an estimated 35,000,00 students, from infancy through age 17 are at risk for not only school failure, but for a number of social-emotional and physical complications (e.g., PTSD, heart disease, etc.) that may have life-long consequences to their health and well-being. The effect of COVID-19 has surely increased the percentage of young people who are experiencing trauma. And while people of all races and socioeconomic statuses have been affected by COVID-19, poor communities of color have been disproportionately impacted, adding an additional level of trauma to a population already traumatized by systemic racism.
Calvary City Academy & Preschool closed on March 13, along with most programs in Florida. While closed, we had much to prepare for reopening. While children were home, we prepared packets to send home, met with children virtually, and even hosted things like field day, spirit week, and graduation virtually! Even with those successes, we were so happy to be able to return to being in-person when we reopened in June. Since June, we’ve learned a lot. Here’s what’s working for us: