Hence, when our school system adopted the coaching model, I must say it fueled a waterfall of angst: What will coaches have to say when they watch me teach and notice all the little details that I miss when it comes to instruction? I can't be it all? I know where my weaknesses are? Do I have the time to finesse every single aspect of my teaching?
Now, as the coach and I move down the coaching relationship road, I am embracing it step-by-step. I know it's best for students if we work collaboratively, and I know there's always something to learn. Hence, I'm slowly learning to navigate this new instructional path.
Today was yet another turning point in the journey. The coach taught the lesson. I asked him to teach after watching his last lesson and noticing many, many details of instruction that he implemented to better
students' access and learning. Again today I noticed more details. Details that I want to better implement to develop my instructional repertoire.
The details of today's instruction included the following:
- Making Learning Safe: Friendly language and simple examples welcome students into the lesson.
- Explicit Instruction: Prior knowledge is not assumed.
- Wait Time: Students are given the time to think and ponder.
- Specific Compliments: Model accurate language, strategy, behavior by pointing it out.
- Humor: Makes the lesson enjoyable.
- Setting Goals: Students are aware of where the lesson is going and what's expected.
- Storytelling: Makes the lesson "sticky" by adding an emotional, experiential connection.
- Blind Vote: Close your eyes, thumbs up if you understand, to the side if you kind-of understand and down if you don't understand.
- Mapping the Path: Creating a strategy path with students to complete the task.
I have said it before and I'll say it many times again, teaching is an endless path of discovery and understanding. No teacher ever reaches the point of all-knowing in education--it's an endless evolution of growth and development to best serve students. The best reaction is to embrace a path of discovery and evolution that's part of your overall professional work. As my father always says, "A little for today and a little for tomorrow."