Pivoting While Moving #sol21
March 28, 2019
I chose the word pivot as my one little word for 2021. I try to make it a habit to check in once a month with my word and see how I am doing. It seems appropriate the check-in is now for looming on our learning community horizon is a ‘full return to school’. While I could definitely get into the weeds right now splitting hairs about what full return might be…
This is a story about pivoting while coaching…
When the pandemic began and we went into full closure and then fully online learning in the fall, I struggled to think about my role as a coach and what in the heck it might look like. Before the pandemic, I met with teachers in coaching sessions and co-taught with them in their classrooms meeting with small groups, teaching whole class lessons, developing tools, conferring, all the coaching things you might imagine. When we went fully remote, at first everything went silent… on both ends.
Then I thought, what would I need if I were teaching remotely… resources, strategies, techniques, and sometimes a straight (man) or an extra hand. For some, I became all of those things or some of those things. I met with students in small groups online with sign ups. I met with teachers after ‘class’ talking about what might be next, what it looked like students need, what tools I had tried or seen or even heard of. We discussed how to write together, how to read aloud, how to check in. It was wonky, but it sort of worked. I had scheduled times to check in with classes, kids, and teachers. I made tools. It was a lot and not nearly enough.
In the fall, we went to a new model, hybrid. Again, we could talk about what that looked like, different time/place. Suffice it to say, some kids were in the seats, some were on the screen and that switched every other week. Some kids were permanently at home and so were some teachers. There was plexiglass and distancing, masks and restarting all the time. Again, how would my pre-pandemic or even my early pandemic model of coaching help anyone in this situation. Reinvention and reimagining ensued. I met with teachers. I met with students in real life and on screens. Sometimes I showed up in classes and conferred, read, taught, assessed and observed. We developed a rhythm and it was a lot and not nearly enough.
A week from now, the students will return to live school. The schedule will change, some students will join, some staff will return. I think… how will my pre-pandemic, my early pandemic, and my mid-pandemic coaching help with students and teachers in this new phase…
And then it hit me… there are the same key points to coaching, no matter where or when or how. You show up. You offer to listen… and then to help. You fill your bucket with cool water and you offer a drink to the thirsty.
My coaching words are not profound. They aren’t all new and shiny. Often they take revision.
What they always are… heartfelt, sincere, followed by action… and reaction.
I have moved books. I have found tools. I have hunted for resources and sometimes invented them.
Mostly I have encouraged. I have noticed. I have celebrated.
It’s the same coaching, no matter the consequences. A lot… and not nearly enough.