Monday, October 5, 2015

Literacy coaching

 Becoming a literacy coach was not ever on my radar. I considered reading too complex to really understand much less teach well. Two decades later, however, I have done research, found mentors and classes, and worked with students trying to demystify reading for kids and feel like I have a bit of a clue. Fortunately people I work with believe I do as well and I have been called upon to work with other staff members around reading. In some ways this is exciting, others a bit terrifying. I still think it is a miracle that as many people learn to read without too much trouble. Reading is an exceedingly complex task. The brain goes through huge work to accomplish it. There are many places where things can go wrong. Successful and repeated reading actually changes the brain. When things go awry I am not surprised. The tricky part is to figure out where things started to break down and begin remediation there. As I embark on a new school year,one of my goals is to increase my skills around coaching. Anyone who knows me, knows that this will entail deep research and reflection. I hope you follow my journey and learn as well. Please feel free to add your insights and wisdom. Together we grow faster.

Toward my pursuit of developing my skills, I am reading materials about coaching. The Literacy Coaching Clearinghouse published Do's and Don'ts for Literacy Coaches: Advice from the Field written by Rita Bean and Diane DeFord. This short white paper highlights some interesting ideas.
The Do's list includes:
  • Introduce yourself and your role
  • Work with all teachers
  • Work first to establish a relationship of trust
  • Work with your administrator
  • Recognize- and appreciate- differences in teachers and how they work
  • Recognize your own beliefs and attitudes about teaching and learning
  • Establish priorities
  • Let the data lead
  • Be a learner
  • Document your work
The Don'ts list includes:
  • Don't evaluate teachers
  • Don't fall into the trap of acting like the "expert"
  • Don't jump right in and expect immediate change
  • Don't be invisible
  • Don't avoid the tough issues
  • Don't sweat the small stuff
In light of the many readings I've done this year about leadership and how critical trust is to team building, I want to think about that do. This article does a good job about spelling out some ways to build trust. They include listening, being positive and following through. Personally I am focusing on listening. My loud and frenetic upbringing encourages me to jump in before the speaker is done. Dr. Phil, a guilty pleasure of mine, criticized a guest for speaking too quickly because she did not have time to process his statement. I am guilty of this as well. I am going to work on talking less in my interactions so that I can really think about what is being said. I drive a lot during my work day and use that time to reflect on how a lesson went. I need to put more effort into reflecting in the moment so that I can better process what is being discussed. This also models reflection, an important goal of coaching as well.
We'll see how it works.

No comments:

Post a Comment