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Monday, October 05, 2015

Coach Yourself

I write to coach myself forward.

I write to give myself the energy to continue to teach well.

I write to problem solve.

I have a lot of challenges in front of me right now, and I'm trying many approaches.

The first challenge is the challenge of new knowledge. I read a lot. I study. I think. I assess. I try new ideas. This is very difficult in the face of some situations, situations that want to stay static, that have no room for change, that do not look ahead or think about new ways. Some say do what has always been, these people deny new knowledge, research, reading, and ideas. This is a tremendous challenge for me as a teacher as I am constantly challenged by several for using the new ideas, research, and resources I learn about. Why?

The next challenge is philosophy. I truly believe that great teaching is coaching, a kind of coaching that thinks about the whole child and works to serve that child with a program tailored to his/her needs. I like to carefully design programs to fit the learning children need and want. I also like to coach students by reviewing their reports, tailoring their online work, working with family members, and coordinating efforts with colleagues regularly to use our best energy, effort, time, and creativity to teach well. Some do not see teaching as coaching. They don't see the need for tailored assignments, thinking about the whole child, and serving children. For some, it's more of a model of doing what has always been done. That's not always problematic as some tried and true efforts are ideal, but others are not. Yet ideally we'd create paths for innovation and new ideas. This is something I've written about a lot and continue to long for.

The third is technology. I see great promise in the use of technology in most aspects of teaching and learning. I really like to infuse tech choices into learning in a large myriad of ways as I believe that helps learners and learning. Many still resist tech integration at deep levels.

The fourth is transparency. I like to know what's going on. I enjoy looking at and analyzing data on my own. I like to know of long range plans so I can align my professional learning and effort with those plans. I enjoy being part of the decision making team when it comes to teaching children well. Some favor "manage the message" and not sharing as they see classroom teachers like me as the "doers" not the thinkers.

The fifth is appreciation. Some really do appreciate the time and effort teachers give to their craft. They recognize that most work that teachers do is on their own time since school time is spent teaching children. They realize that imperfection happens due to this tight schedule and little time for design and planning. They are there willing to lend a hand, support, and encourage educators. Others expect a lot, but provide little support or help.

Like all teachers I like to do a good job. I try to stay ahead by making plans, thinking deeply, and preparing teaching/learning materials. I try to stay abreast of the research, new tools, and resources so I am giving my students a relevant, meaningful education.

It's so discouraging to face one obstacle after another with regard to the areas above. Perhaps I want too much, but I really think that teachers should be encouraged and supported in meaningful ways that help schools and students to move forward. I wonder why so many challenges exist when it comes to doing our work well. I have ideas about how to make change in this area, but I've yet to figure out a good way to support and share those changes.