By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Monday, December 7, 2020

 “I failed over and over again. But every time I got myself back up, and I dusted myself off, and I thought, ‘Okay, what do I need to change so that I can become better?’ So really, if you’re not willing to fail, you’re actually not willing to succeed. Because failure is just a part of the process of getting to success and facing those fears” says Siri Lindley, 2x World Champion triathlete (RealLeaders, Nov 1, 2020).

Wise words – not only for athletes but for all of us, especially in these challenging times.

No one is perfect. Pivoting back and forth from in-person to virtual and back again may make one feel like a ping pong ball, never really knowing what the next day may bring until the day is here. And, sometimes we don’t even know what will happen on a particular day because our times are so uncertain. And, yes, we will make mistakes as we move forward.

There is one thing, however, that needs to remain steadfast, confident, and authentic. That’s the support instructional coaches offer to teachers and other teacher leaders. We may not know if schools will re-open with in-person or remote instruction, but we do know that teachers still need to meet their students “where they are” and provide meaningful ways to engage in the learning process. And, if one or two engagement strategies are not working, “pivot” and try another one or two until a match is made. Be detectives and find the ones that work!

Teachers and students are trying their best to be effective stewards of the learning process. Some “classes” run more smoothly than others; some days are better than others. This happens in both remote and face to face environments. Teachers still have fears and anxieties about enabling their students to reach their fullest potential. But sometimes, those fears cause teachers to focus on things for which they have no control. This is especially true now, e.g., my students have sporadic internet connections, or my students don’t want their cameras activated because of their physical environment. These are things that teachers cannot control; they are worrisome, for sure, but the show must go on. Remember, creativity is the mother of invention (Poem on Life, Sha Azam Siddiqui). Collaborate with your teaching colleagues and collectively problem-solve around these issues of concern.

The goal is not to ignore that which can sideline our intentions; our goal is to focus on the effort, attitude, and authenticity to engage with students and help them learn. Be mindful of what we want students to learn, adjust our instructional practices so we can address their needs, and recognize that one size fits one! (We really don’t have a manual for this, do we?)

How are you staying “in the moment”?

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