The Art of the Coach

Teacher Collaboration

Team Teacher!

I just finished reading Content Coaching: Transforming the Teaching Profession by Lucy West that was reprinted from Coaching: Approaches and Perspectives. I was very moved by the material. One of the most powerful phrases was one of the most simple ones: “effort creates intelligence” (Resnick, 1995).

What does this mean for teachers? Many things! First, let’s talk about those teacher meetings. How many times do they become a complaint session? I’m not saying that there aren’t issues to complain about – I know there are – but venting only provides short-term feel good unless it’s followed up with action. And that should be where teacher meetings strive to get to – action.

Teachers thrive in a collaborative environment. Learning is social and we are social learners. Common planning periods should be collaborative; teachers should look forward to a full period of discussing the curriculum and improving their lessons and practice.

Something else that happens in meetings is that teachers are hesitant to disagree with one another. Have a lively discussion! Don’t take things personally. Try to get to the bottom of an issue and figure it out. Remain open to continuous learning. Push your understanding of a topic and try to think of it in a different way.

Smart isn’t something you are, it’s something you get. You can be the positive change at your school that encourages teamwork and rewards effort…the kind of effort that creates intelligence.

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