Pausing to reflect throughout the year is one of those amazing practices or habits we know are good for you. Very much like drinking water or meditating, but when we are in the midst of this thing call "teaching", we find it harder and harder to implement.
When I think about the WHY of becoming a coach, I know that in my heart, I want to empower and lift as many educators as I can. When I positively affect one educator, there are many students behind this teacher whose lives just got positively impacted. So, one of the things that I had established as a coach is "reflecting points" throughout the year. What this mean is that I invite teachers to press the PAUSE button and assess the temperature of her/his classroom. This is an invitation to wonder, ask questions, share concerns and reflect together. We might have answers, we might have to continue to dig deeper, but the main point is about getting in the practice for having these kind of conversations.
Reflection is ongoing. Absolutely. I don't want to give the impression that we only reflect at certain point during the year. Every conversation with another fellow teacher is an opportunity for reflection. However, there are certain times during the year when these conversations need to happen intentionally. These times might include right before winter break, after getting school assessments data, somewhere in March in between testings and breaks. Why these times of the year? Because there are a lot of information coming at us from different corners. Lots to process. So why do it alone? Why not with someone teachers trust?
Here are some of the questions that throughout the years I have shared with teachers:
What have been some of the highlights of this teaching year?
What is a challenge you are facing this year?
How do you feel about the growth of your students? Who is someone you find yourself "wondering about" most frequently?
What are you curious about?
How can I help?
Here is the truth though. We all want and need company. Teaching is an art. It requires attention. It encourages us to look back to move forward. During my teaching career, I had several mentors and coaches. And one of the things that impacted my teaching the most was being able to have these types of conversations with others.
Coaches: you might not have the answers to every question. Phew! What a relief. We can all show that vulnerable part of us that says, "I'm not sure but let's find out" I believe that's the core of our work.
Let's dig deep. Deeper. Together.