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Coaching Minute: Use Soft Words and Hard Arguments

Heather Rader explains the importance of using gentle words when giving honest but difficult feedback in this quick video tip. A transcript is available below the player. In a small-group...

Reluctant Teachers and Nonfiction

At a recent workshop, Franki Sibberson asked us to recall our experiences with nonfiction texts as children. I shuddered. My memories of childhood nonfiction are not good ones. I remember...

The View from a Principal’s Window

This is the view from my office at 4:00 every day —  a cluster of mothers, acquiescing to their children’s begging, lingers after school while the youngsters stomp and shout...

High Schools, Scale, and Reluctance: A Podcast with Diane Sweeney

In this 18-minute podcast, Diane Sweeney talks with Heather Rader about the challenges of coaching at the secondary level, and shares advice for working with reluctant teachers. Diane’s latest book...

Coaching Minute: Venting and Rant Ruts

Heather Rader explains in this one-minute video the difference between healthy venting and "rant ruts," with advice for how to help colleagues move beyond unhealthy talk patterns. A transcript is...

Coaching Minute: Different Philosophies

What do you do when the teacher you are coaching has a different philosophy? Ruth Ayres advises you to find common ground in this coaching minute video.  

Why I Hate Homework

I hate homework. I hate it more now than I did when I was the one lugging textbooks and binders back and forth from school.  The house my children are...

Phasing in New Initiatives: Keep the Baby!

Laura, a literacy coach, came to the first coaches’ meeting of the year with a glum look on her face. With just a little prodding, she told her story. The...

Turning “Unfortunate” into Good Fortune

Recently I sent an email to an administrator that went to everyone in the school. It was an email regarding the strengths and needs of teachers. Although I scrutinize every...

Improvement Plan

Maria taught sixth-grade language arts in the middle school where I was an assistant principal. When I first came to the building, my principal warned me about Maria. “She’s struggling,”...

Some Study Group Participants Aren’t Reading the Book

 A couple of teachers who participate in our book discussion group don't seem to be reading the book—at all. It makes for awkward moments in the conversation, like last week...

Making Assumptions

It had been a rough morning. I’d spent the last two and a half hours in jaw-tightening silence, watching a novice teacher making misstep after misstep in his classroom. In...

Walk-Arounds: Gathering Data to Test Assumptions

As an instructional leader, I am subjected to tattling. You are probably assuming I mean tattling on the part of children, but you'd be surprised. I am referring to teachers...

Busywork?: From Classroom Assistant to Agent of Change

It’s the day before school starts, hours before the kindergarten classrooms will be filled with parents and students excited to meet their very first teachers at a meet and greet...

Overwhelmed Coach

Everyone in education feels overwhelmed from time to time. Coaches can feel extremely stretched at particular times throughout the year. The months of November and March are the most intense...

Collaborating When the Going Gets Tough

 When the going gets tough, turn to inquiry.                                                                          Courage to Teach Touchstone I don’t know about you, but when the going gets tough, inquiry is not the first thing...

Katherine Casey on Sharing Blunders with Colleagues (PODCAST)

In this podcast, Katherine Casey explains to Heather Rader why it is helpful for coaches to share their teaching blunders with colleagues. Katherine is the author of Literacy Coaching: The Essentials....

I Can’t Quite Put My Finger On It

Have you ever been working with a teacher and they start to tell you about a new strategy or "program" you are not familiar with, but the description you are...

What is the Evidence?

The first and most brutal fact that must be confronted in creating professional learning communities is that the task is not merely challenging: it is daunting. It is disingenuous to...

Not That Into Me

For the past 11 years during the holiday season my husband and I have watched the movie Trapped in Paradise with my brother. The movie stars Nicholas Cage, Dana Carvey and Jon...

Eight Tips for Building Relationships: A Tale of Two Literacy Coaches

I stopped by Monroe School to see the literacy coach, Kate, before the school day began. I was in her office for about five minutes when second-grade teacher Leah burst...