I Thought I Was on the Right Track

I thought I was on the right track.

The startup at school has been great so far. Obviously, about a month and halfway into the new school year everyone starts to settle in and in some cases young students show some hesitation or shall we say reluctance to follow routine or process. It happens all the time, usually a few stern, but clear and concise conversations regarding the importance of the process is all that it takes to get them back on task and focused for the rest of the way.

You see I thought I was on the right track, I thought I was providing the right balance of instruction and independent time for the students to have success, develop the skills necessary independently and grow.  

I thought I was on the right track, but that all changed with one conversation this morning.

The last few classes I’ve really tried to stress the importance of listening and not being distracted or on their phones during instruction time. I only have two classroom rules, “don’t talk when I or anyone else talks, and respect.” I’ve written countless times about classroom management, but I’m a firm believer in the following quote, “for every behaviour you ignore is a behaviour you will have to correct.”

I thought I was on the right track with my teaching strategies, ideology and procedures, I thought everything was bang on. I thought my pacing was great to start the school year. I’ve done a few connection assignments to ensure the students were ok and I have been giving them more time to work on assignments in class so they wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed.

I’ve made a concerted effort to scale back my time at the front of the class lecturing and have placed the focus on the covering the content while facilitating growth. I just assumed my approach was working and that I was creating a relaxed, comfortable and safe environment for students to learn and grow.

It’s critical to “run a tight ship,” or that’s what we were taught during our early days in the profession.

From the classroom to the ice and behind the bench, “running a tight ship” is incredibly similar and as equally important. Nevertheless, there comes a time where you have to react, reevaluate and reassess. My time to reflect was today after having a conversation with a student that I thought wasn’t paying attention and wasn’t engaged.

I’m not going to discuss or divulge the private aspect of that discussion in the hallway this morning, but it was eye opening on a lot of levels to say the least.

All of my teaching strategies that I have in place are seemingly working very well for all three of my classes and advisory period, but they don’t appear to be working for this one particular student. There was a time back in the day in education or in the coaching realm where the general consensus would be to continue to pursue the same behavior modification for that particular student or player and stay the course, trust it and don’t change anything.

Times have certainly changed and when young students or players have the courage to share their perspective and thoughts, we should all listen.

Clearly the student voiced their thoughts and feelings today regarding their perspective of class and the processes set in place. As teachers and coaches, just because we are confident that we are right, we still have to consider how the player and or student in this case feel. Obviously, the lines of communication are key in both examples. As a teacher or coach we need to know where the person stands given the situation. They need to understand where we stand and our perspective on how things are going.

I have the utmost respect for my all of my students and it’s our job as educators to teach and ensure every student learns to the best of their ability, grows and develops. The same can be said about coaching.

Transparency, honesty and communication is the key to success in teaching and coaching. Everyone has to understand the expectations and boundaries set in place. Everyone involved should always know where they stand and that growth and development is the key. Just because we as the teachers or coaches believe we are right doesn’t mean we can’t be receptive to change to ensure the success of the students or players. Every player, student and person is different. The best coaches and teachers understand the subtle nuances of every learner and why it’s so important to get to develop a rapport with them. It’s all about the messaging, it’s all about being receptive and growing from a student, teacher, or coach perspective.

I learn something new every day on how to interact with people.

At the end of the day, I thought I was on the right track and maybe I am, but that doesn’t mean I won’t listen, re-evaluate, reassess, and grow. I hope every coach, player and student feels the same way to.

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