As a literacy coach, I have the opportunity to enter many classrooms and get an intimate view of each teacher’s “home” for 8 hours each week day. Interestingly enough, it continually surprises me that teachers do not always welcome another set of eyes, another pair of ears, another “other” with whom to reflect on the teaching and learning. In my own teaching practice, I truly welcome a non-judgmental friend to think together with me about how to refine my craft and improve my instruction. Often, after teaching a lesson, my mind ruminates over and over and over on the lesson, the student responses, and the subsequent outcomes. What can I do differently next time? How can get that reluctant learner to engage? Were the students able to apply what they learned in the mini-lesson?
I know I am blind to some of my weaknesses. (Aren’t we all?) But, I want to get better. I want to keep learning each day. I want to keep pushing myself forward in my professional practice. When my university trainer came to coach me, I met her for coffee after school and spent several hours picking her brain on how to improve. (Actually, she kept prompting me to reflect with her on the teaching and learning.) My trainer often repeats that we need to take a reflective stance when teaching. I want to be that person. I want to help my teachers take that stance, too.
With that goal in mind, I continue to build relationships. I continue to take personal risks, like modeling a Word Study lesson for a teacher, even when I haven’t taught Word Study mini-lessons all year because the Word Study block is during my intervention time. Oh well, I hope I also modeled how to reflect on my teaching and reflect on ways to improve. I continue to nudge teachers to reflect with me. I continue to encourage them to invite me in. I continue…
My hope for you, my dear friend, is to join me in taking that reflective stance!