The Coaching Cycle, Theirs

In my inaugural post as co-author of Two Writing Teachers, I wrote about the changes one teacher made to her record-keeping system, transforming her workshop into an even more student-centered place. Is it possible that, as coaches, the practice of keeping track of—much less making visible—teacher learning is as daunting as keeping conferring notes is…

Back and Forth

It has been almost a year since I’ve been back, more than three since this idea went forth. I wrote about it during slicing season 2019, lit up by the notion that I could use the tools I love about workshop to maintain connection through coaching. I’m talking about my back-and-forth notebooks. What started out…

I Did It!

Why is it so hard to know when a coaching cycle comes to an end? Maybe it’s because we–my colleagues and I–know that there is no end to learning to do what we do better. Maybe it’s because we enjoy learning alongside each other. Maybe–and this has certainly been true of more coaching cycles than…

Coaches Read the Room, too!

Holly Slaughter was the first to introduce me to the name for what teachers do when they pause between the mini-lesson and work time to observe their workshops from the balcony: Reading the room. As teachers, “reading the room” means we peek over students’ shoulders to get a general sense of where they are in…

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…

Coaches Need Coaching, Too

By the 4th of July, I had been to the recycling bin at least a half-dozen times since school ended. Each time—and sometimes after several trips in a day—I would greet Micah at the front door and bring him over to the bin, lift the lid, and brag on all the things I had managed…

Coaches Create Learning Spaces, Too.

“You mean your office?” my husband asked this morning as I described the space set aside for me at my new school. “Office” does not seem the right word for the space I envision. This is not just a space where I will work to get things done. Learning will happen here. I will make…

Coaches Plan Units, Too

Yesterday I attended a training that previewed the learning teachers will do at the start of the year. I was fortunate that my principal attended with me and we were able to begin to make some sense of the year. I will admit that, at first, I found it difficult to project possibilities for teacher…

Coaching IS Teaching

It can be hard to describe just what an instructional coach is and does. For the past two years, this has been the opening line to my context – or welcome-back – letter to teachers. This past spring, it became the opening to my cover letter as I applied to a new school, and it…

Endings

“Are you pretty close to tears today?” someone asked me minutes after I stepped into the building. For a brief moment, I thought about lying. Then, instead, I said, “I don’t get emotional at times like this.” It’s true. “What is wrong with you?” he joked. “I keep it at arm’s length,” I told him,…