Reflection, the Key to Sustainability

Coaching Articles - Essays for coaches

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At this point in the year, coaches are reflecting on their workà¢looking back and looking forward. This is a wise time expenditure, as ensuring the sustainability of our work depends on us learning and teaching reflection. Read to find three areas of reflection that can help coaches consider the work behind and the work ahead of them.

Reflection, the Key to Sustainability

Reflection, the Key to Sustainability

by Jan Burkins

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As coaches, we learn to engage in perpetual reflection. Despite constant thought about what is working and what we need to modify in our practice, the ends and the beginnings of things merit especially deep consideration. In support of your reflective learning, we offer three areas you might ponder at the culmination of one year and in anticipation of the next: organization, relationships, and your professional learning. For each area, we include "Something to think about" and "Something to try."

Organization

Something to think about...

Consider the structures and systems you developed to organize your work. What are the elements of your organizational structure that worked for you this year; the systems that offer significant organizational pay-off with minimal time expenditure and that are easy to maintain? What are the tricky organizational areas in your work? That is, what are the parts of your work which become disorderly, for which your organizational structures may be complicated or time consuming? How can you refine these systems?

Something to try...

Organize yourself for the beginning of the school year. Revise your organizational systems that are not smooth. Make a "To Do" list for the first week of school. Label a red folder "Fall 2010" and put in it any materials you need for the beginning of the next year. This can be the first thing you access when you return to school in the fall!

Relationships

Something to think about...

Depending on how long you have been working as a coach in your school, your relationships with teachers are likely to be different. What does an ideal coach/teacher relationship look like? What are the patterns of strength in relationship building that have emerged in your work this year? On what do you need to focus your energy next year in order to further develop relationships with teachers?

Something to try...

Write the name of each teacher with whom you work on an individual post-it. Arrange the names into groups based on the depth or breadth of your relationships with them. Look for patterns. Develop a plan for improving your relationships with each of the groups. Which groups take priority? Why?

Your Professional Learning

Something to think about...

How has your professional learning this year supported your professional growth? What has been the best professional learning for you this year? Why? What has been your hardest learning this school year? How can this reflection inform your consideration of your professional learning for next year?

Something to try...

Access the online catalogs for your favorite educational publishers to explore professional books related to literacy and/or coaching. Select a book to read over the summer so that your literacy coaching muscles stay engaged. Use your summer to research and plan for your professional learning next year.