Shoulder to Shoulder Coaching

September is coming to a close and it’s time to look back at this month’s work and set some new goals for October.  I’ve been talking with students about setting goals for work they want to keep doing and new work they want to try.  I ask them, “What are you proud of?  What do you want to keep up?  What do you want to try out? What do you want to do more of? What needs some work?”  I want students to understand that learning is about constantly outgrowing yourself. It’s about building on strengths and addressing needs.  I also want to make sure they see that this is true for adults too.  It’s not just one of those “school things” that we ask kids to do. So I’m trying to be more transparent this year about my own goal setting.

What am I proud of?

-This is my third year in this school, and I’m proud of the fact that I’m building some good relationships with students, families, teachers and administrators.  This has helped me to get started more quickly this year and with work that is more meaningful. Teachers are willing to open up their classroom and let me try things out, and they are honest about their own work and their own strengths and needs.

-I’m proud that I have continued to write on a regular basis.  I have posted a “slice” on the Two Writing Teachers site every Tuesday (with the exception of one)! I have also joined an incredible group of teachers in the district. We are studying Ralph Fletcher’s Joy Write and reflecting on our practice. Being a writer and talking with other writers has most definitely improved my teaching of writing and my coaching work.

What do I want to do more of?

-I’m in classrooms working “shoulder to shoulder” with teachers on things like designing Interactive Read Alouds that really push student thinking, using writing to plan instruction, and building toolkits to help with conferring. I can only do this by partnering with teachers, rolling up our sleeves, and trying to figure stuff out.

As October arrives, I want to push myself to do more of this kind of work.  I know I will need to run professional development sessions, order materials, model lessons, and demonstrate components of Balanced Literacy, but I think the work that has the greatest impact on student learning will be the work that results from working together shoulder-to-shoulder.




7 thoughts on “Shoulder to Shoulder Coaching”

  1. Shoulder to shoulder is where it’s at! I like that. I’m excited for you that you are finding more comfort in your role this year. I remember someone telling me when I first started teaching, that the third year is when it all just comes together. I’m looking forward to that as well.

  2. Setting goals – “it’s about building strengths and addressing needs” – YUP! For us as teachers and learners and for our students as informants and learners. Absolutely love how you framed this in this piece of writing! Shoulder to shoulder 🙂

      1. “Students as informants” is a teacher-research term. I am pretty sure I learned the term from Ruth Hubbard and Brenda Miller Power when I read The Art of Classroom Inquiry years ago! I am lucky to have been raised as a teacher researcher early in on. To this day, I believe we learn most when we observe children at work and ask them what they are doing and why – hence they become my informants!

  3. Reflecting on what went well vs. what you could work on more is such an important aspect of reviewing your teaching skills and most importantly how well it’s affecting your students in succeeding! Setting goals, I’ve noticed, has encouraged me to reach those goals with the most work on my end as I can and I’m sure it does this for you too. Nice!

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