I’m gearing up for a winter and spring filled with different instructional coaching experiences. I’m looking forward to this more than any other work I’ve been involved with so far this year because kids will finally be involved. In most of the schools that I am working in, we have spent more than a year wrapping our heads around Race to the Top, exploring the Common Core Learning Standards, and defining what the six shifts mean for ELA instruction through different professional learning experiences.This was necessary. It was important.

But I’m looking forward to learning from the kids now.

I’m eager to test some of the practices that we’ve been investigating. I’m eager to pay attention to them. I’m eager to listen to them. After all, how can we really help them if we are not including them in the work?

We’ve made some predictions about what we might find as we enter the classroom. We need to remain open to the unexpected too, I know. I don’t think that we can deem a practice promising until it demonstrates potential for the learners we serve.

I’m wondering where we will fail and what we will learn in the process. This is critical to our learning. How will our struggles change our perspectives? How will they influence our practice? How can we persevere when things don’t work they way we intended them to?

Earlier this week, I spent the day exploring the difference between clarity and certainty with some of the fellows of my learning community. Often, teachers invite coaches to work with them in order to achieve some sense of certainty about what to do next. But coaching, when it’s done well, is about helping people pursue clarity rather than demanding certainty. I’m thinking hard about how I can inspire this shift.

I’m looking forward to supporting teachers as they try some things, pay attention, and learn what they can about how to help children better…..from the children they serve.

Protocols can ensure that coaching experiences are equitable and productive. They can also enable a gradual release of responsibility from coach to teacher and from teacher to learner. Some of my favorites are here. I’ll share more as I continue my work this year.





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