By Ellen Eisenberg

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

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Each morning as I dry my hair, I notice the gray coming in stronger and stronger. But the color is only secondary to the fact that I am sorely in need of a haircut! I am quite sure we are all in the same boat. Each day is like Groundhog Day and I’ve never been quite so happy to go to the senior hour at the grocery store to buy the items that will last two weeks. All kidding aside, the current state of the world is daunting and overwhelming when we think about where we are now and how things used to be.

That leads me right to the path of the teachers, students, parents, coaches, mentors, and administrators who are doing a yeoman’s job in creating a culture and climate that is conducive for distance learning. I am in awe at the work you are doing to try and provide a consistent and productive learning environment for the students – many of whom do not have the equipment, facilities, skills, or knowledge to complete their digital learning requirements. I am in awe of the determination you have in providing remediation, enrichment, and planned instruction support to teachers. This is truly an example of differentiation and how coaches are not only integral to the process but critical to the process of teaching and learning.

Thank you for all you are doing now and for your future work as you navigate through your own teaching challenges, support your own families, and ensure that our students and teachers are managing the best they can under these extraordinary circumstances. Be mindful and “in the moment” when talking with teachers; keep the lines of communication open; be kind and understanding; and be a good listener… all tools in your toolbox! Stay positive, safe, and healthy.

Do you have any tips? Please share them.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Do you think of yourself as a change agent helping others to change? Better yet, do you think of yourself as being able to change? “If you’re shackled to who you are now, you can’t recognize -or reach for – who you might become next” (McKinsey & Company. January 2020 article).

In this article, Jennifer Garvey Berger and Zafer Gedeon Achi claim that “…we systematically fall for optical illusions and how our loss-aversion reflex biases our choices.” That is true… our beliefs and philosophies certainly influence how we think and the actions we take. Some of us are risk takers and some are risk averse. Where are you?

I often say that instructional coaching must be ego-less and peppered with mistakes. This article, however, reminds me that it is human to protect one’s ego and identity, especially if we are threatened as can be the case when we receive feedback. So ego happens. Perhaps the goal must be that once ego rears its head, it is the individual’s responsibility to dig deeper and see what it is that causes the fear of knowing and admitting.

They called this the “identity mindtrap” where we are blinded to growth opportunities because we are fixed in our beliefs and actions. While we want to think about staying relevant in an ever-changing world, we actually focus on protecting who we are and not who we might become. In essence, we are trapped by our own egos making change near impossible.

Be mindful… don’t fall into the trap and prevent yourself from growing and learning. How can you encourage others to grow if you have a fixed mindset and won’t step out of the box? That level of “civil discomfort” may cause a frustration that results in a positive evolution of self.

How do you ensure your growth and forward thinking?