Coaches Have Back-to-School Traditions, Too

It is the night before the first day of school. Not the one where kids return. No, that’s another week away.

Tomorrow I get to introduce myself to my new “class” of teachers. Officially. (And I say officially because I have already met a few who have volunteered their summer hours to get ready for the new year. And today was a day full of back-to-school-night sorts of first meetings and first impressions.)

Yes, for me, tonight feels like the night before my first day of school. So I am thinking about traditions. Yes, even – and especially – because this group doesn’t know me yet, I am thinking about my rituals for launching a new year.

I am nervous. I imagine they are to. So what do I do? I think back to what I’ve done.

Yes, these first moments tomorrow will start the same way they would if there were ten-year-olds in front of me, the same way they started last year with my group of remote sixth graders. The same way they would have started my first year as coach if I’d known what the heck I was doing.

We will get to know each other in the same way that my mentor teacher did the year I student taught with her: We’ll play a little game of True/False.

The difference this year is a few of my questions will be linked to the document I will share, the letter that introduces my vision for coaching, my commitment to be in classrooms, and my roles as their parallel partner. The rest will help them to get to know me, my history, my family, my hopes. That hasn’t changed.

Oh, and the end will be the same, too: They’ll give me homework. They’ll write a few true/false statements of their own. Then in the days between my first day of school and theirs, I’ll have something to break the ice with as I pop into their classrooms, catch them in the hall, or sit down to plan. I’ll try to guess if what they wrote was true or false and we’ll laugh as we get to know each other better.

Traditions. Coaches have them, too.


Not sure how to launch a year with teachers? Here are a few tips from today’s Parallel Practice:

  • Look back. This is likely not your first rodeo. What are your kid-friendly traditions that you could tweak for an adult audience?
  • Look up. Using a practice that worked in your classroom models for teachers something they could try. I’m sure at least one of your newer teachers will try on the practice you just shared.
  • Look ahead. We know that teaching and coaching are all about relationships. How can your favorite traditions serve to help you get to know teachers and give you an authentic reason to follow-up?

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