While managing MyTeachingPartner™ (MTP™) Coaching, my colleagues would roll their eyes when they'd catch me boasting to directors that our coaching staff and specialists are “here for you 24/7.” What I meant, of course, was that their dedication wasn't confined to business hours, but the implication was that they were "always on the job"—no wonder they rolled their eyes!
We feel deep responsibility as coaches, but must we carry that role 24/7? Obviously we can’t and shouldn’t try. Like teaching, coaching is not a job we can leave at the office and simply return to when we clock-in, so to do it successfully requires balance, patience, and presence. How do coaches maintain that when supporting the professionals on the frontlines with children every day, often serving as the first repository for shared anecdotes of great joy, great tragedy, and everything in between?
Here are some tips for coaches (and those who employ them) to find support and maintain the necessary energy to travel the journey of each classroom’s life over the course of a year or more with the teachers they coach:
How do you find balance, patience, and presence as a coach? Please tell us in the comments below--we'd love to know!
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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.
As an educator, you’re busy. Your time is being split by competing priorities, from managing students’ needs, meeting your program’s goals, and communicating with parents. While you’re juggling your work, it can be difficult to keep learning about important ways to improve your daily teaching practice. Teachstone is here to help!