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Dear New Teacher: Be Open to Coaching

I’m starting this series to reach out to new educators and the coaches that help them. And experienced teachers, you’ll probably find something useful in here for you, too.

Dear New Teacher,

Welcome to an incredible profession. You are excited and ready to tackle the world one innovative writing assignment at a time. You have endless energy, and you feel like nothing will stop you and you know it all. You are ready!

You show up to first day of work and meet someone called an instructional coach. You see them again on campus. Has that been the person who has been emailing me? Don’t they know I’m busy? They stop by during your conference. You do your best to humor them. Don’t they know I have work to do? Lessons to plan? Referrals to write?

Guess what? They know all of that. That’s why they’re here. For you.

The thought might run through your head: Do they think I’m doing a bad job? Do they think I need extra help? The answer is no. We just know everyone does better when they have a coach, get feedback, and work towards goals. We’re here to help.

Think about the best athletes. Don’t they still have coaches? Listen to elite athletes credit their coaches for their success. Sometimes it’s a coach they had in their youth. Sometimes it’s the legend-turned-coach helping them now. Either way, having a coach doesn’t mean they’re struggling or losing. It means they are always striving to get better, and they know they can’t do it all by themselves.

So instead of trying to avoid your coach, embrace the opportunity to grow. Take this opportunity to get feedback, bounce ideas off an experienced educator, ask lots and lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to really pick their brains. In the end, we all want the same thing: student success. Think about your ideal classroom. What does it look like? Feel like? What would the students be doing? Allow your coach to help you get there.

You get as much out of a coach as you are willing to give. If you give them some time, and put some work in yourself, you will see the change. So stop avoiding their emails, make a time to meet with them, and take full advantage of the opportunity.

And a side note: this goes for you experienced teachers, too. Remember, those elite athletes still working towards excellence? That’s you. You can still grow and continue to be the rock star you are. You, too, should say yes to coaching.

Stay tuned to The Balancing Act for more advice for new teachers in weeks to come!

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