Inroads in Coaching


Coaching can be a lonely road to walk. It wasn’t anything like I first imagined in my naivety when I accepted the newly created role of Literacy Coach in our district.  The path looked bright before me, sunshiny and light, a brilliant walkway in a world where teachers were excited to collaborate and learn and welcomed me in.

The path has not been, in the least bit what I imagined.  It is not wide or easy with friends along the way. The tail has been steep and rocky and dark.  Suspicions and resentment and fear clouded the thinking of those with whom I had hoped would walk and talk with me about best practices and  improved instruction and higher student achievement. Although the door to my office has been perpetually open, rarely did one enter who was questioning or seeking or wondering.   I tried different approaches; I changed up professional development; I persevered in my coaching role. Still, it seemed, very few shifts had occurred. At least as many as I wanted.  I just am too stubborn, however, and I refused to give up.

Trudging along, trial and error became my friends.  Trial and error. Trial and error. Trial and error. It is beginning to pay off.  The way, lately, has become brighter. The look of coaching became less of an in-and-out, 3 meeting approach to a more I’m-here-to-stay-for-awhile approach.  The result…relationships! These resulting relationships have been the “abra-kadabra” to the door of powerful coaching. These resulting relationships have given opportunities for some magical moments in coaching.

Let me highlight just one of those moments.  After reading this, you may say, “Aw, this is nothing!  What is the big deal about that?” Well, to me, even this little inroad is a big deal.  Let me explain.

Yesterday, I opened an email from a teacher who asked me to meet with her and her colleague to discuss 2 students who are not growing in reading.  Replying right away, I suggested 3 possible meeting times. The teachers chose the earliest opportunity which was this morning before school began.  I met with them to discuss theses 2 students for whom they are doing everything they know how to do (even some ideas we brainstormed earlier in the year), but who haven’t grown one reading level all year!!!  That is a concerning. They are concerned. I am concerned. The teachers had running records in hand, ready to show me. We analyzed them together. We brainstormed. We created a plan of action. While nothing about the children really changed with this one meeting, the path is open before us.  We were a team. We are thinking together about students. We are making inroads into coaching. I was celebrating in my heart! I still am.

Today, the sun is shining brightly on the way before me.  There is hope for me, for them, and for our children.

About bjdonaldson

I'm an average woman who enjoys reflecting on life, writing poetry and ponderings, and having a good laugh. DIY, baking, and cycling are fun, too. If you visited me, I'd invite you in for a cup of coffee and a little chat. I am a Literacy Coach, Reading Specialist, and former classroom and Reading Recovery teacher at an elementary school. Getting up in the morning is not hard; I still love making a difference in the lives of children and teachers.

6 responses »

  1. Your slice shares your commitment and care. Well done for not giving up. “The sun,” is definitely “shining brightly on the way before” you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this slice and can totally relate. I am an ELA coach for grades 3-5 in 19 buildings in my district. Building relationships is key! My partner (the k-2 coach) and I pretty much have made up our jobs as we’ve gone along for the past three years. But I know those moments you are speaking of here and they feel oh so good! Good luck with the rest of the year and here’s to many more meaningful meetings!


    • I admire you for the important work you are doing. Working in 19 buildings sounds like a BIG job to me. We have 1 coach in each of our 3 elementary buildings and one in our middle school. This still seems like a lot to me. It is nice to read your comments since you really can relate. Thanks.


  3. Oh how I wish my school had an ELA coach! I promise that if we ever get one, I will be the first person to use her/him. I have been teaching for 37 years and would love someone to come in to help me integrate the newest and best practices into my classroom!

    Liked by 1 person

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