With one day left of school, educators are embracing that bittersweet time of closing a door on a year that was full of growth and opportunity. As a coach who attempts to be proactive at having a growth mindset, and also one that has a huge desire to constantly learn how to facilitate and nurture growth within a school, I too am reflecting.
I was blessed today with a book that honestly touched my heart and represents the power of student-centered coaching, a model of coaching championed by Diane Sweeney. In this model, we are not about fixing teachers. But, rather a partner who can sit side-by-side with teachers and navigate through the often murky waters of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and student learning. A teacher I worked along side of this year presented her gratitude through the book What Do you Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada. In this book, a child has an idea that was “strange and fragile.” The child kept this idea to himself, because he wasn’t sure what the world would think of it. But, the idea followed him and the child began to embrace it. The child finally shared it and some people laughed at it and he contemplated whether he should abandon the idea. But, the child re-embraced it, because after all, nobody understood the idea like he did. He fostered it. He fed it. His love for the idea grew and grew. And, then, one day, the child built the idea a new house, one with an “open roof where it could look up at the stars–a place where it could be safe to dream.” The child said the idea made him feel more alive and gave him the ability to think bigger. And one day, his idea changed. It spread its wings. It changed the world. It wasn’t just part of him. It was part of the world.
The teacher said she felt like this book represented our work together.
After reading this thought, I had thoughts of gratitude. For that teacher and her willingness to try ideas, to embrace the chance of failure, the chance of imperfection for the pursuit of growth. Growth that would profoundly impact kids. And, boy, did she ever impact kids! I saw it on a daily basis. And, just as important, I saw her kids embrace their own ideas and become comfortable with failing forward.
I also had gratitude for the student-centered model of coaching. Because this model is not about fixing teachers. It’s about facilitating beside them and growing as a team, because that growth impacts kids. And, that’s why we’re here. We learned together. We shared ideas together. We analyzed the impact of instruction together. And she modeled learning and the willingness to take a risk for her kids.
I felt lucky to have experienced this. Inspiring. Motivating. Change. Growth. That’s what it was.