The Other Person in the Room #sol18o

Image-1 (4).jpgThe Other Person in the Room #sol18

March 6, 2018

Dear Teacher,

I’m always the other person in your room.  I wish I was a small unnoticeable sprite… but I’m not.  I wish you always felt comfortable with me hanging around… but you don’t.

I made this list of what I wanted you to think.  It went like this…

I girl scout promise I’m just here for the kiddos.

Don’t notice me!

I don’t notice you.

Just between us,  in total disclosure,  none of those things are true.  I’m a literacy coach.  Sometimes I am there for you.  Sometimes you probably should notice what I’m doing with your students, what I brought with me,  what I wrote down.

Sometimes I do notice you.  Occasionally,  you make me think of something I want to bring you next time.  Sometimes I think about what I might bring your students or a particular student.  Sometimes I think about what resources I might suggest for you or your grade.  Lots of the time I think about how I can be more helpful, more genuine, less intrusive.  Lots of time I think about how I can mirror your talk when I talk to your students.

All of this being the other person in the room is a little like a dance between me and you and the students.  The more you and I communicate,  the better we get at the dance, the more collaborative we are.  It is lots better if we do most of that talk when we aren’t doing the work.  I’m pretty good on the fly, but it’s not the best way to think or react.  Quite honestly,  if we try and communicate during our teaching time,  we are not getting accomplished what we really want which I think is,  two people working with students all the time.

Two super important things I want to say, but don’t always bring myself to say.  I really, really don’t want to tell you what to do.  Often you ask me,  what should I do differently or what do you think I should do or tell me what I should change.  I don’t want to do any of those things.  I especially don’t want you to think I’m all that or for you to think that I think that I’m all that.  I know that I’ve been doing this thing since dinosaurs roamed the earth.  I know that often I could be your mom or at least your aunt.  That does not in fact mean that I’m anything but a fellow traveler.  Most of the time when I have an insight, it’s just because I can have perspective based on my travels.

What I wished you believed about me is what I believe about myself to the very core.

I’m still learning too.

I want to experiment and fail and succeed and try with you.

I believe that messing up is good for us and the students

I thrive on collaboration. I want to know what you’re thinking.

So I know sometimes I feel like a houseguests that has stayed too long or worse a spy… but try and get past that with me.

I’ll see you tomorrow.  I’ll be the one that feels like their on a first date in someone else’s house and I’m not sure what to order…

Sincerely,

your partner, your friend,  your coach

Thank you Two Writing Teachers and the Slice of Life community.

12 thoughts on “The Other Person in the Room #sol18o

  1. Your captured the dance of a coach perfectly. I found myself nodding, smiling. It’s nice to know that there are others out there experiencing the same feelings. I agree, it’s all about continuing to learn. I liked this line:

    Most of the time when I have an insight, it’s just because I can have perspective based on my travels.

  2. This is perfect! It is a dance we dance – awkward at times and magical at times. Our profession was just not created on collaboration and coaching feels so threatening to so many. Just remember it takes time and you have time — if you build it… keep dancing!!
    Clare

  3. My daughter has relayed these feelings to me too. You have a difficult balance in your coaching/teaching position. As time goes on, those first dates will get easier. You have a lot to offer and share. You are both in that classroom for the same reason – the kids.

  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who feels like the this. All the feelings I have about being a coach are perfectly, and eloquently stated here. Thanks for reaffirming the feelings of a lit coach!

  5. You captured this beautifully. I love how you wrote this in the form of a letter. My favorite line was “I thrive on collaboration.” I think all teachers should thrive on this…I know I do.

  6. This is a great reminder. I’m one of those people who is NOT keen on other adults in the room. It throws off my conversations with kids, even if I know the visitor is of the most compassionate and kind-hearted nature. Thank you for this reminder. I’ll try to save it in my heart and mind for the future!

  7. This is great. I really like the way you wrote to us, the “coachees.” I liked when you admitted: “Just between us, in total disclosure, none of those things are true. I’m a literacy coach. Sometimes I am there for you.”
    It’s good to be reminded that the coaches aren’t judging. In our logical minds, we know that, but in the part of our minds that’s insecure or self-conscious, we sometimes forget and become actors rather than teachers.

  8. You described the role as a coach perfectly in your letter. I know from experience, it takes so long to build that trusting relationship!

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