I left school thinking about my coaching session during reading workshop and kept on thinking right through dinner eventually dominating our family dinner conversation with my reflections. Poor husband. Poor 16 year old. As an athlete I loved being coached. Sports came naturally and coaching encouraged and reinforced my preference for all things moving on a field, court, in a pool, on a road, indoors and outdoors.
Coaching sessions no longer involve e) all of the above but, instead facilitate my development as a teacher of reading, writing, and word study. So I am back to finding the right gear to best fit each activity, stretching past the point of comfort to grow, strengthening by progressively overloading my "muscles", training on a regular basis to maintain (rather than lose) my fitness level, and assessing as I go to keep in touch with how I feel, making adjustments so I can maximize my "practice". It's just that now all that involves literacy.
My literacy coach is also my instructor so she comes to see how we apply our lessons in our practice. At first I thought what I did and what she observed should include all the stuff she taught during our last few classes. I thought this would please her. All good mentees want to please. I wanted to have a good evaluation, after all. Well, crammed too much in to the read aloud. Knew I was doing it. Couldn't help myself. I waited for the post observation feedback. Good thing it's generally an hour or so later. You have time to let go of a few things. Maybe. Well, the feedback came but, only after some good questions had been asked about what I thought happened, which of course brought me to some good self-assessment and what is the farthest from evaluative as one can get after being observed. In fact, if done well, a cool thing about being coached is we learn to do stuff on our own with just a few good questions, some "here's what I saw," and "what will you do with what you know?"
And this is how it happened with my lesson. In a pre-observation meeting I let her know what we would be doing. I wanted to know if my questions were exposing my students toward several levels of text processing. Between my lesson and our post observation meeting my coach typed up the questions I asked during guided reading about the book, Frindle. Not sure how she did this so quickly! With this tool she prompted me to analyze whether the questions were within the text (W), beyond the text (B), or about the text (A). To my surprise I actually had a good balance. More importantly I had a chance to explore my own practice through self-assessment. I feel like I just learned how to control an errant backhand in my tennis game. Thanks Coach!