Online learning is now part of our daily lives. This new reality brings with it of course overloaded professionals. EduTwitter is awash with the manifestations of this exhausted headteachers, teachers and staff. This is no great surprise as job dissatisfaction has, for many, been a pattern we are getting used to. The recent surveys on how we all are doing – focussing particularly on the most vulnerable paints a realistic picture. The picture is honestly not that much different for those not in classic poverty parameters. The anecdotal and incidental chatter at the checkout is honesty. Little engagement. How to motivate. Giving up on trying to teach online at home. The snow has been a small and welcome distraction for those adventurous enough to go play in it. So for those absolute professionals continuing on the front line in schools and communities, the least we can provide is some space and time to process all of this. Coaching during lockdown is one of these ways that can provide a professional structure most necessary for these professionals.
I understand that there is not enough time to do all that it has to be done. Many headteachers and teachers are working overnight to cope with the job load. Many times neglecting their own families and personal lives. That is exactly why it is so important to pause, take note and pay attention to themselves. Yes, it might seem impossible. But regular coaching to reflect on their work can make a huge difference in their daily practices.
Here are 3 direct ways in which coaching can help you during this lockdown:
1 – It is a time fully dedicated to the professional
Coaching in lockdown means that for at least one hour, the professional is the sole focus of the conversation. He or she or they can bring anything to the talk. Fears, challenges, classroom and staff problems, anxieties and so on. It is a moment of reflection and structured discussion. This can bring a feeling of security and control, very beneficial during these uncertain times.
2 – It provides a safe space
When engaged in coaching, the professional has a safe space to open up about their professional challenges to an external and independent coach. This can be very helpful since the coachee does not have to fear judgement or any other negative reaction from the coach. There will be no external impact on what is discussed confidentially.
3 – It values the professionals and their efforts
Coaching is a difficult process, filled with difficult conversations in which the professional is challenged to look at their own practice, reflecting on their flaws, mistakes and changes that might be necessary. However, by dedicating time to their improvement, the professional most times feels reassured of their value to the school, having more confidence in their daily practice.
In the extremely difficult situation we are working through, coaching might be the last thing going through school staff’s mind right now. However, it is a very important tool to access at this moment. That, and of course the much-needed half term for us all to recharge again. Move away from the screens and have a moment in the calendar to mark Valentine’s Day, in whatever format that may be. The underlying premise is for us to consider love in its many forms and manifestations and how we might show it. So a song to take us there.
If you feel like knowing more about coaching, please contact us. We will be happy to help you.