Teachers have been on my mind a lot lately. They have been asked to pivot overnight (literally). And, like always, teachers are rising to the occasion again and again and again. There are countless examples of their selfless acts to meet the needs of their students under circumstances that none of us would have ever imagined.
Enter the 2020-2021 school year. What teachers are doing across the country have amazed and inspired me. Google classrooms. Car parades. Personal contacts to each and every student and his/her family. Padlets. Jamboards. Hangouts. Zoom meetings. The list goes on and on.
Teachers are heroes – and so are coaches. Now more than ever, coaches are an integral and important part of ensuring that teachers are equipped, empowered and supported. As I work with coaches across the country, I’m finding that these strategies have been helpful as they support teachers.
1. Keeping PLCs going. It would be easy to put PLCs on hold. But PLCs are what holds teams together. Coaches are important pieces of the PLC puzzle. Setting the agenda, establishing norms, sending the invite, and guiding the conversations – coaches are helping teachers keep the main thing the main thing.
2. Provide resources – but not too many. Coaches can vet all the resources that are coming to schools during this time of re-start. The best coaches limit what they share out with teachers. Sharing the best of the best helps to keep teachers from feeling overwhelmed.
3. Keep walking. Coaches make it a point to keep walking. In other words, they visit everyone’s classroom at least once during the week. The purposes are to celebrate successes across all classrooms and target support for those who need it.
4. Remember that listening matters. The teachers we serve are people first. The best coaches listen – really listen. They build in time just to chat with those they coach, remembering that these heroes in the classrooms are also heroes in their homes. Sometimes a protocol helps to move from listening to support to action.
How are you serving teachers? What strategies work for you?