Shared Worry. #sol18

download-4Shared Worry. #sol18

March 15, 2018

In the dim light of my desk lamp,  I scan over my notes from the last time we met.  I consider what’s happened so far this week and since we last met.  I think about the unit their on. I wonder about things that have gone wrong and glimpses of what has gone really well.  I think about the sandwich.*

The clock above my desk clicks onto 7:30.  I gather up my conferring notebook, my phone, my pencil, and my coffee and scurry down the hall toward her room.  She’s waiting.

I can see her notebook open on her desk, writers’ notebooks, books, the units of study.  I scan the empty desks on my way over, glancing up to smile at her and say good morning.   I put down my coffee,  my notebooks, my phone.  I get down a stool from her counter and sit down.

We look at each other and exhale simultaneously.  We want to start with the trouble. The Trouble.  I inhale and exhale again.  I scan my mind wondering if I can find some amazing words of wisdom that will make me seem like I know what I’m talking about, make her feel like she knows what she’s doing, and FIX. THE. PROBLEM.

I was thinking that I would go back to Fran McVeigh’s posts from last week and tell her about them,  how Fran was working toward a solutions.  I was thinking I noticed Monday and Tuesday that when she was explicit about her active engagement and link,  that the students were more productive in the release.  But then,  I started to think about what the small group said to me on Tuesday, that I had yelled at him.  Yelled at him.  Yelled at him.  I was definitely forceful,  definitely running thin on patience… 

Now it’s been nearly a minute and I haven’t said anything.   I look up at her.  I wait.  I’ve been working on that, waiting.  She says I’ve been thinking

And that’s the start.  We share our noticings and wonderings.  We share our feelings.  We share our ideas.  We share our worries.

Just like that, we have a new plan.  A new idea.  We fill the tank.  We move forward.  Together.

Every weekday morning,  I share a 1/2 hour with one teacher.  These times are scheduled and mostly standing appointments.  I always go to the teacher’s home turf  if I can.  That gives her power in our relationship. The teachers are in all different places in their teaching careers and have varying needs/wants.  I have had these standing appointments for years, shifting teachers as collaboration needs change.  I offer them up at the beginning of the school year and sometimes it takes a semester before the slots are full up.  Preparing for these varied meetings keeps me grounded in the curriculum,  the day to day struggles, our resources, and practice.  Most of these teachers and I will work together in their literacy block daily, but some just have this time to talk over big ideas, resources, worries, and whatnot.  It is the second most effective part of my practice, eclipsed only by the in class practice.  It keeps me grounded,  learning, and listening.  

*the sandwich- the idea that you share a compliment or a good thing, sandwich in the criticism or bad news, and then end with a positive comment. A sandwich.

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10 thoughts on “Shared Worry. #sol18

  1. This is a great practice. What a way to build relationships. “We fill the tank.” I loved this line. You could feel the teacher’s frustration and then then hope return. We all need someone to listen and be there. Your school is lucky to have you.

  2. Wow – the pace of this piece. The tension in every line – my heart was pounding. Worry was clearly the strong feeling throughout, but you left me hopeful. The craft of the last line caused me to slow, take breaths and calm my voice. The craft is powerful. And the message … universal for all of us as teachers, coaches, parents, and friends. Thank you for sharing your heart and your coaching moves.
    Clare

  3. The detail of this slice makes it seem like it’s a momentous occasion (the clock clicks onto 7:3))…only to find that it’s a regular meeting…and that is momentous. I like how each of these slices has importance and meaning.

  4. In addition to what the others have commented, thank you for the reminder about the importance of granting teachers home turf advantage. It’s a little like walking up to the reader or writer for the conference.

  5. What I loved most about your slice, you wrote it is such a way that it is not obvious who is the classroom teacher and who is the coach. Your ending (beginning) is wonderful: “Just like that, we have a new plan. A new idea. We fill the tank. We move forward. Together.” I think you must truly be the coach teachers dream of having.

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