Coaching feedback from a colleague is a gift and something all of us as educators deserve. Steve provides a compelling why for bringing this gift to all educators.
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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTSteve [Intro]: 00:00 Hello and welcome to the Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud podcast. Instructional coaches and leaders create the environment that supports teachers to continually imagine, grow and achieve. They model an excitement for learning that teachers in turn model for students. This podcast is dedicated to promoting the important aspects of instructional leadership. Thanks for listening.
Steve: 00:28 The gift of coaching. A gift – that’s how I believe we should be looking at the opportunity to be observed and reflect on our educator practices. Teaching learning, and leading are complex. They’re complex, social and intellectual interactions. The presence of another set of eyes and ears in a classroom or at a staff meeting is very valuable. The questions and the feedback of a reflective partner are something all
educators deserve. What follows is a short presentation I made describing why everyone deserves a coach. See what you think.
Steve: 01:24 Early in my career, working with coaching, I frequently heard the statement, “everyone needs a coach,” and I found people having a somewhat negative response to that because the term “need” tended to suggest a a deficit model. And I latched then onto the phrase that, “everyone deserves a coach.” It’s something that the school culture should owe to all of the staff because of the work that they do. In the book that I wrote, “Quality Teaching in a Culture of Coaching,” I based the text around two critical beliefs. The first one being that everyone working in a school should be observed once a week and receive feedback. Now you can see from that suggestion, that that really would require a culture where everyone in the school is providing coaching feedback to each other, in order for us to get the substantial amount of coaching that we truly deserve.
Steve: 02:41 And the second belief was that the most skilled and professional staff members should be receiving the most coaching. That’s opposite of what exists in most places. In most places, newer teachers tend to get a lot observations and feedback in their classroom than more experienced teachers. And I’m suggesting that it should be reversed. Now let’s talk about why. Number one is they do deserve it. They deserve the opportunity to celebrate. One of the problems we have in teaching is that most of our work is done in isolation and when we have those great moments of exciting learning occurring with students, we’re kind of like looking around the room and there’s no one there to say it. For me, that would be enough reason to have a peer coaching program in a school, is teachers having that opportunity to celebrate with colleagues. Secondly, coaching creates an opportunity to gain options.
Steve: 03:46 So when another teacher is observing in my classroom and then conversing with me, our conversation can lead to a new option, a new strategy, a new possibility for me to add to my repertoire. It could be that the option came from my colleague, or it could be that the option grew out of our conversation. When I’m working as a coach to another teacher, one of the extra rewards for the time I spend providing coaching to a colleague is the opportunity that I can be adding options to my repertoire. And lastly, coaching gives all of us an opportunity to be conscious about our practice of teaching. Coaching provides an opportunity for reflection. It provides an opportunity to take something new and practice it consciously. Now that conscious practice can create a problem because it tends to put us into the learning dip.
Steve: 04:54 Looking at this diagram where you see the term, “now,” if that is my current level of teaching effectiveness, and I want to move from now to later, which is my my effectiveness after internalizing the new skill, notice that improvement doesn’t happen in this gradual increase. Instead, implementing the new strategy, takes me down in the dip, and now I need to work my way back up to a newer, higher level of performance. Now, this is really important for strong teachers who are looking to move from good to great. If you take that word now and you put in the word good, and that teacher wants to come up on the other side, great, notice how difficult it is for a teacher to move from good to great. Because when that good teacher drops down into that learning dip, there’s really a strong desire to go back to our old, more effective teaching practice. That’s the time that a coach takes on this cheerleader role and encourages us to stay with that new practice until we can come up on the other side. Everyone deserves a coach because our students deserve us being the best that we can possibly be. And we deserve that coaching input to support us in our ongoing continuous growth.
Steve: 06:39 I hope my thinking provided some thoughts that you might share with staff as this new year begins. This presentation is available as a five minute video if you’d want to use it for generating a conversation about teachers deserving the gift of coaching. I’ll put the link in the lead-in to this blog, or just Google “Steve Barkley, the gift of coaching,” and you’ll find it. Here’s wishing you many coaching gifts. Thanks for listening.
Steve [Outro]: 07:11 Thank you for listening. You can subscribe to Steve Barkley Ponders Out Loud on iTunes and Podbean. And please remember to rate and review us on iTunes. I also want to hear what you’re pondering. You can find me on Twitter @stevebarkley, or send me your questions and find my videos and blogs at barkleypd.com.