This is the first of a series of blogs that examines the strategies an independent coach-educator can use to handle the external and internal struggles that arise when taking on a challenging education assignment in a less-than-optimal setting.
Of course, I have written this as a story. It's not published yet.
Through the window, you can see into my office. It has been my bedroom for the night. The arrangement of furniture is simple, a writing desk built into a bookshelf, with two hinged doors like wings, one on either side to allow this space be closed like a safe. The rest of the office shows signs of my overnight stay. On the bright red carpet, there are empty teacups and open books. Sheaves of papers are strewn in fallen piles among notebooks some stacked; some open, with pencils as bookmarks, like the scene of a bloodless battle with no clear victor. There came a sound.
As I dozed among my journals strewn
There pinged an e-mail across the room.
The ringing cut through my morning gloom
and woke this hero, an hour too soon.
My fingers rattled across the keys
The login typed with practised ease.
The challenge I read between the lines
described my task to be, this time.
Read the full story here.
Not every teacher is ready and willing to be coached - even if their headteacher thinks so.
Taking on the assignment to coach such a teacher brings me into the space between a Rock and a Hard Place. The question arises, "Why am I doing this? For whom am I coaching?".
"Am I coaching to prove to the people in the Education System (teachers, headteachers, administrators...) that coaching is effective? Am I coaching to prove to myself that I am a good coach? Do I simply wish to prove to this teacher that coaching is good stuff? Am I coaching to support this teacher in his professional development?"
The answer is, "Yes, all of that."
And that affects how the coaching is carried out as you can read in this story of Riccardo Midwinter's adventures as the coach in the classroom. He's not perfect, faultless or entirely neutral in what he does. He is on a mission to bring coaching to the education world. Oops, he has an agenda, and coaches should not have an agenda.
The following text is from "The Coach in the Classroom", written by Martin Richards.
Riccardo chose to first get in touch with Max, one of the teachers on the list.
He found Max, a middle-aged man, in one of the staff rooms and approached him.
"Hi, I'm Riccardo, the coach on assignment here. Your name is on my list."
Max rose from his chair, looking like a benevolent bear disturbed from a slumber. His fine, straight, short hair was the colour of varnished wood and was combed in an impractical, artistic style across his eyes. He had droopy blue eyes, and a thick moustache which hung above his defensive smile. Max’s attire was businesslike and flattering to his rounded chest and belly.
Max began, "I'm sorry, I don't have time for coaching," and he waved his stubby-fingered hands as if to dismiss Riccardo.
Riccardo was taken aback, and silent. He did not move.
Max continued, "In fact, I was volunteered for coaching by the headteacher and I don’t really see the point. I have been teaching for seventeen years and I'm already a good teacher."
Read the full story here for free.
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