For the upcoming school year, I am shifting from a classroom position back into a coaching role. I am excited to work with staff and students but have wondered about how I might retain the elements of a classroom most important to me. During our staff retreat, we worked on vision boards. This work helped me refine my ideas about what I'd like to accomplish this year.
EMBRACE: It is important to me that every person - whether student, staff member, parent, etc. -feel welcome and safe. One way to build this environment is to accept others with an open mind and heart. Get to know people for who they are - rather than who you might assume them to be. In mathematics education, we encourage productive struggle, risk-taking, and a growth mindset. As a classroom teacher, I wanted my students to feel that they could ask questions and challenge assumptions. I intend to continue to develop this safe environment as a coach.
ENGAGE: Once students feel accepted and know you care, it is important to engage with them to build a shared understanding of mathematics. The mathematics that students learn should be relevant to their personal lives. This goes beyond personal interests - as educators we need to listen to understand how others approach a problem, assumptions they make, and what prior knowledge or experiences they bring to the situation. Listening to students as they share their ideas, their notices, and their wonders develops their engagement. They realize that what they have to say matters! And, I find I always learn so much from others when I listen - I can't wait to learn from the students as they discuss their mathematical thinking!
EMPOWER: As my ultimate goal this year, I want students (and teachers) to feel empowered to continue growing as a community of learners. I consider myself blessed to have this opportunity to work with a fabulous team of students, teachers and support staff!
It's going to be an amazing year!