Boots—I’ve always had a love for them, or at least since 1966 when Nancy Sinatra put out the song, “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” I think my first pair of boots could have been classified as the “go-go” variety. They were white vinyl slip-ons, and they were always falling down to my ankles like a pair of loose athletic socks. I’ve had many pairs of boots since then. But last year I asked for my first pair of cowboy boots. It was love at first sight. They fit like a glove, not loose athletic socks. I can train all day in them. I can run through airports in them. I can dance the night away in them. Cinderella was right. A pair of shoes can change a girl’s life. Believe it or not, a pair of shoes or even an outfit can make or break CLASS training.
When I conduct CLASS TTTs, I usually give some general training tips to my participants. Some of them come to the Train-the-Trainer program with tons of training experience under their belts. Others come with less experience but a wealth of CLASS knowledge. Both are welcome. But one tip that I always share with each TTT group is to spend a little time planning your wardrobe for your training. Sometimes this tip gets a few giggles. But believe me, there is more to training than just being able to present the material.
When a trainer delivers a CLASS training, they will spend the better part of one or more days in front of a group of adults. It’s important to look professional when you are training. If you look like you rolled out of bed that morning and grabbed your clothes out of the cold overstuffed dryer, it may be difficult for your participants to respect your presentation. Or if you are wearing that button-up blouse that keeps popping open at inopportune times, it may be hard for them to concentrate. If you are wearing a pair of white go-go boots that keep falling to your ankles and look like loose athletic socks, both you and the group are going to have a difficult day.
I know as trainers you spend hours prepping for your training—but don’t forget to spend some time preparing your appearance as well! I encourage my TTT participants to wear a comfy pair of shoes. When your feet hurt, you hurt all over. So if your cowboy boots are as comfy as mine then go for it. I also encourage them not to wear a brand new outfit. If you are self-conscious because you just realized that every time you raise your arms your tummy shows, it’s going to be a long day. Or if that tag in your brand new dress is scratching the back of your neck and begins driving you crazy, it’s probably driving everyone in the training crazy, too. I will be one of the first to say that it is important to look good, but I will also say that it is equally important to feel good.
So what is your go-to attire for training? Or what experience have you had with wearing the wrong clothes or shoes for training? Have you trained in cowboy boots, too?
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When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
As a CLASS Group Coaching (MMCI) instructor, the sections of any given two-hour session may feel, at times, very goal driven. These sections titled "Know," "See," and "Do” are interconnected. In particular, it is possible to consider "Do" within "Know," and "See." When an instructor supports in-the-moment experiences that connect new knowledge to current practice, they make the CLASS dimensions more relevant to the educators' daily work. But how can we infuse more “Do” into “Know” and “See?” First, let's re-cap what happens in each section.
I have a confession to make. Recently, I used vacation time to stay home and watch Season 6 of The Walking Dead. I know, I know. How could I have let myself miss a whole season? Oh, and I feel a little bad about taking the time off from work too, but this was very nearly an emergency! I mean it was only weeks before Season 7 of the season premiere. I had to do something. Don’t judge.
While I was watching, I had the strangest feeling of deja vu. I felt like I had actually walked through a herd of zombies, but couldn’t quite place why it felt so familiar. Then it hit me—I had unknowingly created zombie-like participants during at least two of my previous CLASS trainings.