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“If I Could Turn Back Time”: How the CLASS Tool Changed the Way I Coach Teachers

18 Oct 2013 by Julie Rand

I may not be Cher on top of the battleship USS Missouri, but I have sung that famous song "If I Could Turn Back Time” numerous times since becoming a Teachstone MyTeachingPartner™ (MTP) Coach.

I was introduced to the CLASS tool through my prior work with Head Start. I believed in CLASS and the opportunities it afforded me in coaching teachers. I began to “coach” teachers within the Head Start program in what I thought was the most effective way. Sure, we had some "We could do this or that differently" reflective moments, but it wasn’t until I joined Teachstone and became trained as an MTP coach that I had the “If I could turn back time” ah-ha moment.

Had I only known then what I know now! Coaching has become passion work for me. I now know that the CLASS tool serves various fundamental roles in the field of education. I see the CLASS tool as the central foundation to MTP coaching, rather than the observation tool to measure quality and effective interactions. Using a strengths-based approach has helped me develop strong, trusting, and valuable partnerships with the teachers I have worked with (partnerships being the key word!).

It is my hope to connect with other coaches and take the time to voice the challenges and successes we face in "the field.” We are all here for the same reason: to support teachers in becoming more effective in their interactions with children to improve children’s outcomes.

Please use the comments below to submit a success or challenge you may be facing related to coaching teachers. I look forward to reading your submissions!

"Plan to be better tomorrow than today, but don't plan to be finished."

--Carol Ann Tomlinson, U.S. Educator