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.