Engaging teachers in coaching is an ongoing process that requires planning and intentionality. Whether you are new to a school or have been there a while, the beginning of the year brings forth the opportunity to envision what our work will look like, and the impact it will have on teacher and student learning.
There’s nothing like the first weeks of school. It’s a time to reconnect, reimagine, and dream. But just like anything else, starting a new year requires planning and patience. An apt metaphor is the spring gardening season. We just can’t wait to plant all of those beautiful flowers we picked up at the nursery, but a voice in our head reminds us that before planting, we need to first clean out the flower beds, till the soil, and add mulch. While this isn’t the glamorous part of the job, we know that if we put beautiful plants into soil that isn’t ready, they will fail to thrive. The same is true for our coaching. The first few weeks of school are when we do all of the work that sets us up for success in the months that will follow.
Starting the year off right also includes establishing a strong principal and coach partnership. This helps us get crystal clear about the coaching role so we can create a culture for coaching and authentically engage teachers. The honest truth is coaches can’t launch the year alone…they need to work with their principals to make it happen.
How To Use This Book
We’ve designed this book with the goal of providing a clear path for coaches, principals, and district leaders to follow when launching a new year of Student-Centered Coaching. It is geared toward returning coaches, those who are new to a school, and those who are brand new to the role. We’ve included fifteen coaching moves that will take you through the first four to six weeks of the school year. As always, we have included strategies, tools, and artifacts to support your work. Included will be moments to pause and reflect on your own, and with the principal.
We recommend pairing this resource with our other books about Student-Centered Coaching. This includes; The Essential Guide for Student-Centered Coaching (Sweeney and Harris, 2020) Student-Centered Coaching: The Moves (Sweeney and Harris, 2016), and Leading Student-Centered Coaching (Sweeney and Mausbach, 2018). These will take you deeper into the philosophy and practices for Student-Centered Coaching and will support your work far beyond the start to the year.
We often find that with coaching, you have to go slow to go fast. Let’s slow down and invest carefully in those first few weeks of school so that beautiful things can grow throughout the year.
Dont’ forget to follow our podcast: Student-Centered Coaching: The Podcast