Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers.
On my last day as an Instructional Coach, I joked that now I can write a “tell-all memoir” entitled Instructional Coaching: 6 Months on the Inside.
Although, after just 6 months on the job, there are so many things I still don’t know about being an instructional coach.
I don’t know how to open a teacher’s closed classroom door without an invitation – sometimes it’s even hard to knock. I don’t know how to tell for sure if someone is excited to try a new resource, or can’t believe I’ve mentioned one more idea. I’m not sure if now is a time to show my vulnerability too, or if I should show only my confidence. I don’t know if this is the best time for a mentor text suggestion, or if just one more moment of quiet wondering gives the opportunity for a self discovery. I’m not sure when to offer my help, and when to wait for an invitation. Is “help” the wrong word for some because it might make teachers think I think they need help? Should I say “collaborate” or “work together?” I don’t know.
My tell-all memoir would be full of insider information. Like did you know that everyone I worked with at the curriculum office really does put students first? That the work they do is authentically authentic? Did you know that when they ask teachers for information, it’s because they need it to help teachers and kids? The respect for the teachers is palpable and my time with my new lens on the district made me appreciate the work we all do even more than I already did.
I would also have a part of my book that tries to summarize the learning I’ve been lucky to experience in this job. As I planned for reader’s workshop professional development sessions, I had the opportunity to read books, attend conferences, and reflect with colleagues. I would have a section of my tell-all called “Teaching Reading: What research says.” It could be way too long, but I might be able to boil it down to something like: Have your students choose books to read, give them time to read, talk to them about their reading, give them tools to become even better readers, all while helping your class become a community of life-long readers, and being one yourself. Wow. Even boiled down, that’s a tall order. Step away from classroom teaching for even 6 months and your widened lens will remind you how hard teaching is.
I’ve been wearing my”gratitude” bracelet every day, because I believe in the power of gratitude, and I sometimes need to be reminded.
On my last day as an instructional coach, my coaching team gave me a new bracelet. They say it wasn’t because my gratitude bracelet was looking a little worse for wear.
I’ve been thinking about this new word and wondering: How can we inspire each other?
When I first put my new bracelet on, I didn’t take my old one off. As I drove home I glanced down to an updated message:
My time as a coach has definitely inspired gratitude in me. I’m so grateful for the time I spent learning, the time I spent with teachers, and the coaching team. It has been a great slice of my professional and learning life. Experts say it takes 49 hours of professional development for you to outgrow your current practice, before you are trying new things that impact students.
I don’t know how many hours my 6 months of coaching has accrued, but I know it’s more than 49. Time will tell what impact it will have on my future students. We will find out after August when I welcome my new class of 6th graders. I’m sure my students will inspire me, as usual.