David Pittman has been in education for 10 years, mainly as a fourth-grade teacher and curriculum writer. He is currently an instructional coach for an elementary school in the suburbs of Chicago.
David Pittman is stunned when he offers help and teachers are hesitant to take it. He realizes he has lost their trust, and sets out to regain it.
David Pittman realizes he can’t begin a coaching cycle until he “prioritizes presence,” becoming a welcome and trusted addition to a teacher’s classroom community.
David Pittman explains the importance of beginning summer work with teachers by creating collective visions through images and quotes.
After initial skepticism, David Pittman discovers coaching logs are an essential tool in planning, organizing, and documenting his work with teachers.
Too much email, too much paper, just too much. David Pittman finds “brain dumps” are a useful tool for helping teachers sift through and clarify what’s important to work on with a literacy coach.
This is an idea you’ll want to try if you’re a literacy coach. David Pittman creates simple and elegant portfolios with the teachers he coaches of their work together, documenting plans, milestones, and final reflections.
Nothing takes the wind out of a coach’s sails more than flat PD sessions. David Pittman realizes the problem sometimes isn’t what is offered, but when it is provided. He works to create a calendar for the year that reflects the ebb and flow of teachers’ stress levels.
David Pittman is asked about the needs of primary teachers in a leadership team meeting. He suddenly realizes he has spent more time with intermediate teachers. This experience sets him on a quest to be more equitable with his coaching time.
David Pittman works with a teacher who is overwhelmed by all the notebooks, forms, calendars, and notes she is taking to document and assess student progress. He helps the teacher streamline and organize a new system tailored to her needs and strengths.
David Pittman humorously conveys the dread he experiences when he is assigned to lead an inservice session focused on data. He then finds creative ways to reframe the discussion.
David Pittman coaches a fifth-grade teacher to look beyond the sea of grammar and spelling errors in student work, and instead start with strengths to analyze where to go next in instruction.
David Pittman delights in a student’s enthusiasm for poetry, leading him to reflect on how teachers often need to overcome their own negative history with poems to spark student love of the genre.
Uh-oh. A teacher pulls out her tried-and-true lesson plans for a unit on lions, and David Pittman wonders what his role will be as her literacy coach.
David Pittman is stunned when a teacher he is coaching begs off from more work together. The experience helps him reassess how he collaborates with overwhelmed colleagues.
David Pittman finishes a coaching cycle with a teacher and realizes his hesitancy to evaluate the teacher during his classroom visits hinders any celebration of the teacher's growth during their time together.
David Pittman begins a morning resenting bus duty, and ends with insights into how literacy coaches can use chance encounters to build connections with families.
David Pittman finds that a teacher is dismissed as a veteran, which can be code for good luck getting that one to change. What he discovers is someone with a rich life and history beyond the classroom that is worth tapping into.
David Pittman shares the unspoken questions new literacy coaches will ask themselves or will face from teachers in their new role.
David Pittman tackles the "third rail" of literacy coaching: assessing instructional quality.
David Pittman finds that a sherpa analogy helps him adjust his role as a coach—moving closer to teachers without taking over instruction.