“They just don’t listen to me!” These were the words spoken through sobs of my new teacher mentee, as she buried her head on my shoulder and wept. It had been a pretty grueling observation session, in which I witnessed middle school students behaving disrespectfully, not only to the teacher, but to each other. Virtually everyone was “off-task”–talking loudly (arguing) back and forth about social things that had no relevance to the lesson on Compounds that was represented in the Science lesson plan. Over and over again, the novice teacher tried to restore order; but, to no avail.  She was an intern who was completing her student teaching requirement. Today, nerves frayed, and frustrated beyond words, she was at her wit’s end–thus, the tears.  It was all I could do to console her.

The bell rang, and the students bolted out of the door, leaving the classroom in disarray; balled up papers were on the floor alongside broken pencils. Chairs were pulled out  from tables where books and student folders were strewn in “helter-skelter” fashion. The place looked like a tornado had passed through. No learning had taken place here today, and a very demoralized prospective teacher was limp and convulsing with horror and pain in my arms. Disappointment, and a pillaged sense of self-efficacy only mildly described what she felt. 

My mind raced back to a time many years ago when, as a new teacher,  I felt the same way. I had to do something to help her. What was needed was the assistance of a qualified Teacher-Coach.  That was me. It’s what I do best.  What I had seen was inspiration enough to get me started on a new approach with this good, but “green” new teacher, who was full of potential to be great. Once she was calmed down, I set an appointment to discuss commencement of a formal program of coaching and feedback that consisted of a) a pre-conference session, b) a formal observation, and c) a post-conference session.  It was a simple, 3-step plan, but one that I’ve used successfully with many teachers–new and experienced alike. I take pride in setting my teachers up for success, by establishing across-the board structure.

It has taken a few weeks of consistently using this plan to bring about the confident, well-organized, and well-planned young teacher that I now observe, but I can tell you that it has been time well-spent. Instead of being ready to quit, I  now see a potentially powerful, fully competent teacher joining the field of excellent teachers that are so sorely needed in our classrooms. For this, I credit the power of COACHING. I’m proud to be one of those who are privileged to work with with teachers using this approach. The results are immeasurable, not to mention the sense of fulfillment that I derive from the effort.



  1. Ernest McCray Says:

    What a wonderful story of overcoming.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: