It’s that time of year where educators start counting down to the holidays. We’ve been working hard since August, and we’re ready for a break. This year has been an extremely difficult year for all educators. We feel immense pressure to get kids caught up from the COVID slide, while we are still in the midst of a fight against COVID itself. Teachers and parents are frustrated and drained – Masks. No Masks. Close the schools. Open the schools. Curriculum change. Mental health awareness. Absenteeism – The list can go on and on. While these are all real issues facing our nation today, it seems to be magnified in the school system creating limitless stress that trickles down from the top.
So what is in our control? What can we influence in our circle? That is what we need to stop and reflect on today. We can’t solve all the problems of the world or even all the problems at our campus. We can only help with the things we can control. I know as instructional coaches, we often burden ourselves with the problems of others. The issues we see admin facing, and the issues we see teachers facing. Our empathy is so great, that we often forget to take care of OUR psychological health. We need to hit the pause button and take a moment to breathe and reflect. Going into the holiday season, we need to remember our why and remember what we are thankful for. We need to remind ourselves of the good we have done so far this school year, and we need to re-energize ourselves for the second semester.
As a coach, we have 3 goals:
- Impact people
- Improve classroom Instruction
- Increase student success
Take some time to reflect on these areas. How have you impacted people so far this school year? How have you improved classroom instruction? How has students’ success increased since August? Count your successes, reflect on your misses, and move forward with new opportunities.
Relationships should be a priority for coaches. Happy admin creates happy teachers; happy teachers create happy students. Emotions filter. Reflect on your actions as a coach this year. What efforts have you made to build relationships with your staff?
How are we going to fill the COVID-gaps if students aren’t learning? Lots of factors can be influencing the progress of students right now, but you do have some control over what is happening with the students in the classrooms Monday through Friday. Reflect on your coaching cycles with teachers. How are your meetings impacting their growth? Is student engagement rising? Are students learning and having fun? These elements should be our priorities at this moment. Teachers should be teaching; Kids should be learning; The classroom environment should be filled with fun and engagement!
Increasing Student Success
Students are significantly behind due to COVID closures and quarantines, therefore there are many opportunities for growth. Although students may be grade levels behind, that just means they have grade levels to learn! Are teachers meeting students where they are and pushing them forward? Does the data show that students have made gains from August to now? It doesn’t matter where they started, what matters is where they’re headed. The finish line may look far away for us, but we must keep pushing forward! Students need us now more than ever.
Today is the day to STOP, BREATHE, and RESUME. Use this checklist to analyze your impact on this school year so far. Take time to reflect, set goals, and move forward with purpose. Stop worrying about what you can’t control and focus on what you can. You impact someone every day, teachers, students, and even admin. Decide what your impact will look like.
“Success and growth come from the sum of small, positive efforts that happen intentionally every day.”