At some point this school year (2023-2024), I realized I had been coaching teachers full-time or as part of my role for ten years. That may or may not mean anything to folx, but I'm a milestones person, and to me this was a meaningful one.
I also realized that in the last few years I had found myself in the fortunate position of advising other coaches on a lot of the same questions or themes over and over as we discussed our problems of practice. I love those conversations. I get a ton out of them: insights, reminders, new questions, or a nudge to revisit a book or article I'd been meaning to come back to. This blog is an attempt to capture some of the biggest takeaways from discussing problems of practice with other coaches who are also working towards more equitable learning environments and outcomes for all students.
But no matter the issue, question, or dilemma, one pattern I have found over and over is that the answer to almost any "What should I do?" question about coaching teachers is almost always "both...and", rather than "either...or":
We must build trust in both our competence and our character.
We have to coach with rigor and with heart.
We need to both center the success and well-being of kids and ensure the adults in our schools are supported...really supported.
We need to attend to both instruction and class culture.
Yes, you should have the hard conversation you've been putting off about that hard feedback you've avoided giving. And you could probably use this as an opportunity to model vulnerability and ask for constructive feedback.
You can support goal-setting that is both directed by teachers and that aims towards data-informed, measurable, and impactful outcomes for students.
So spoiler alert...
This blog will be driven by real scenarios and real problems of practice. And often, we'll find the most expansive answers in the space of "both...and".
What about you? What are you working through?
I'd love to hear what problem of practice you're grappling with. Send me a message and you may get your question featured in an upcoming post. Scenarios are always anonymous and scrubbed of any potentially identifying information.
Thanks for reading!
Also... OMG it's happening! It's live!