Judy begins with an observation rubric that she brings to Ms. C’s classroom. Throughout the lesson, Judy scribbles notes like mad, determining what to prioritize for today’s feedback loop.
She welcomes Ms C. with warm familiarity; they’ve worked together for the last few weeks, and will be co-workers in the fall.
The conversation is structured, but feels natural. Sitting side by side, Ms. C discusses what went well and what didn’t. Judy celebrates Ms. C’s success in light of her successful implementation of yesterday’s feedback. They mull over stronger uptake strategies to get students to reach more specific conclusions. Judy offers a few strategies and has Ms. C. role play to practice uptake. There is laughter and acknowledgment of the grit teaching requires, “I know master teachers who are still wrestling with this; it’s not going to be something we can master in a lesson.”
Judy and I roomed together for a year. We were both completing a teaching residency at Boston’s Match Community Day Public Charter School (MCD). Six days a week we tutored and taught K1&2nd. grade students. Together we planned curriculum, rehearsed lessons, revised our work, pushed into each other’s classrooms, and navigated the charter school hiring process.
When the year was up, Judy took a kindergarten teaching position at MCD. “Bedrock” and “rockstar” are just a few of the glowing terms her leadership and peers use to describe her work.
This summer, I stopped by for a day and was fortunate enough to catch Judy in action. Two years after being in the coachee spot, Judy now coaches first year teachers on improving their practice.
Through relationship, humility, and specific actionable feedback, Judy builds up her colleagues.
Indeed, knowing what feedback to prioritize and how to leverage your coachee’s strengths requires discernment. Judy’s strong coaching encouraged me as I step into a lead teacher position this fall. I look forward to the growth that will come from offering regular feedback to my co-teacher.