Love::Teaching

Remember why you started

Intuition as a Guide

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I love teaching. I came to it later in life — I was 29 when I earned my teaching certification. I tried a lot of other things before teaching, and I am sure that teaching is what I am meant to do.

So why did I accept an Instructional Coaching position where I will only teach one section of students and will spend the majority of my time working with adults? Because it felt right.

I have always lived my life with a “go with your gut” philosophy. It has led me down many interesting roads, but never really steered me wrong. I recently came across this quote in the book “S” by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst: “Without intuition, the world becomes a flat place, a stunted place. A place where change is impossible.”

I know I am in for some big changes as I set out on this coaching adventure. I would love some advice from those of you out there who already coach or work with a great coach. Any advice, really. What to do. What not to do. What to read. Who to follow. As a coach, what do you wish you had known when you were just starting out? As a teacher or administrator, what do you wish your coach had known from the beginning? Any help is greatly appreciated.

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6 Comments

  1. Great leaders are those who build up others and who create opportunities for others to grow, as well as share knowledge/showcase talent. I’m a teacher who has been lucky to work with a fantastic coach in my district who was very successful in doing just that — she created an opportunity for teachers to observe classrooms of other great teachers so that we could learn from each other and give our feedback. She created an opportunity for me to write about my experience in the classroom with Common Core. I’ve learned a lot from her, and I like that she was able to help me improve while also “celebrating” the things that I was doing well.

    Something else that was helpful was “teaching” us teachers by modeling expert teaching strategies (and enthusiasm). Whatever you do, don’t just “tell”! Good luck to you!

    • Thanks Amy! I’m very interested in what you said about your coach creating an opportunity for you to write about your experiences in the classroom. Would you mind telling me a little more about that? I’ve been mulling over the idea of starting a building blog for teachers to share their experiences. Did your coach do something like that?

      Laura

      • Hi Laura,

        She knew that Engageny.org was starting up a space for teachers to write about their experiences with the common core and got me in touch with someone there (http://www.engageny.org/content/building-critical-thinkers).

        I like the idea of a blog, though, and think it would be great if teachers in my district/region were able to run something like this — I’m speaking as someone who enjoys writing, sharing ideas, and connecting with others in this way beyond my school, though. If other teachers with whom you’re working are on board with it, that sounds like a fascinating idea. It could be a great way for those teachers to publish on a more regular basis (if you’re trying to move students from “submitting to teacher” to “publishing/sharing,” then why not do that with teachers too).

        Here’s another opportunity for publication if you have any English educators who want to share their lesson plans (and perhaps get a stipend if their lesson is accepted and published) http://www.readwritethink.org/util/contribute-to-rwt.html

  2. Trusting your “gut” and going with your instinct shows that you can embrace change as a means to make a difference in a new way. It sounds so obvious, but when you are in the decision-making process, it isn’t so easy.

    I love your idea for a group or collaborative blog! Connecting teachers and sharing what they already do well is a great place to begin.

    Best wishes as you begin this new adventure – and please be sure to chronicle your journey on here so that we may all learn along with you!

  3. Hi Laura,
    Congratulations on your new position. I went the other direction, from being a coach for several years to returning to classroom teaching. I think changing it up is what keeps a teaching career interesting and challenging!
    My advice to you is the Twitter chat #educoach. It is on Wednesday nights at 10 pm ET, and I think it will be a tremendous resource for you as you take on this new challenge. Here is a list of some of the people who participate in that chat: https://twitter.com/shiraleibowitz/lists/instructional-coaches

  4. Congratulations on your new adventure! I am beginning my third year as an instructional math coach. My best advice would be to listen to teachers. If you have some “go to” questions that are open ended and non-threatening, teachers will tell you exactly how to best help them. Elena Aguilar has an online tool kit that can help you craft some questions that would best suit your schools and district.
    http://www.elenaaguilar.com/#!coachingtools/c24vq
    May you have a great year!

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