I don’t know it all. I know a lot of different things about a lot of different things. I like to share my expertise with others in hopes that it might inspire them. And I really like to talk and collaborate on ideas that are just outside of the norm. But I don’t know it all. So embarking down the coaching route has been challenging for me. I like to travel down the road less travelled when I’m on vacation but to traverse a new path professionally–eek!
But as I think more about educational coaching as a future path for me, I realize, I already do it everyday! As an elementary teacher, my job entails a lot of coaxing and cajoling. Every time I successfully prod a child to take their writing “just one sentence farther” or read with “just a bit more expression” I receive another gold star!
So every time I’ve been asked to receive a student teacher into my classroom, I welcome the opportunity because, let’s be honest, what is one more student?
But the truth is, inviting a student teacher in to my classroom is nothing like my regular day job. But the mind-numbing paper-pushing tasks are worth it because:
- A student teacher is another set of educator eyes on my little munchkins. Their eyes will help me see strengths and challenges in the students that I may have overlooked.
- Co-teaching provokes me to explain my decision making process or to consider my own practice.
- Working with a student teacher allows me to coach the future and impart some of my risk-taking on to the world.
So here I am at it again. Over the last three weeks, my grade 1 class has been home to a lovely educator-in-training who comes with heaps of experience (after years working in international schools in South Korea and Oman). He has a lot of great ideas, poses thoughtful questions, is open to feedback, and is amazing with kids!
So what can he learn from me?
Well, as a teacher working towards a British Teaching Credential, I get the opportunity to offer him a different perspective–one that includes inquiry-based learning, the Workshop Model of instruction (for Reader’s, Writer’s, and Math), integrated tech, and STEM activities. In a few short weeks, I’ve modeled and coached him through workshops, open-ended math problem sessions, student-led inquiries, and the unveiling of our Augmented Reality sand tray (which, quite honestly, blew the kids’ freakin’ minds).
But as our time nears its expiry date, I realize my evening fatigue has little to do with paperwork and checklists (which there is a lot of) but rather all the learning I’ve done! The simplest questions he’s asked have really prompted me to consider my decision making: from routines to management, questioning strategies to non-ability grouping–every unbiased query he’s asked has me thinking and contemplating. Through this journey, the teacher has become the student. The coach has become the athlete.
…And right now, it’s a good (but exhausting) place to be!
P.S. More on the Augmented Reality sand tray later. It’s EPIC!