Coaching Question:  Just wanted to hear your advice on an experience I had.  Actually all my coaches want to hear as well.

Went and modeled for a teacher the other day, per his request.  Modeled exactly what I had told him he needed to do.  Afterwards, I got an observation form sent to me from him.  Same type I’m required to send to teachers when done.  When I met with him asked if I wanted to know what he thought or the students thought…  He then went on to say that the strategies I used were for elementary students, etc…  The kids thought they were being treated like elementary kids, etc.

Anyways, I went on to ask if I modeled what I told him I would and he said yes very reluctantly.

Anyways, what’s your opinion on working with this teacher?  He’s gotten away with this type of behavior for years.  He intimidates people and they stop coming around.

My desire is to keep going back and not quit giving him the feedback he needs, etc, whether he liked it or not…

My Response:

Here are some thoughts:

  • This is common – these type of ridiculous folks are out there and their strategies of intimidation or straight up shaming tend to work…sounds like it’s the same in your situation since it’s “worked for years”
  • I DO think this guy needs to be coached – of COURSE he needs to be coached…I mean, how could someone be a great teacher who gets great results when he is so unprofessional, right?
  • Questions for you:
    • Did you give him something to take notes on during the observation that aligned with what you were demonstrating?  Did you give him something to TALLY?  (going for numbers of things/repetitions/questions/etc. not just how he “felt”)
    • Did resorting to how he felt/what he thought about the lesson provide an open door for him to belittle or criticize?  Would “Let’s talk about the notes you generated during my demo” or “So, talk to me about how many critical thinking questions I posed to the kids and what you jotted down about how they responded?” have changed that debrief?

I think that there is probably a combination of attitudinal (ha!) teacher and a weak pre-conference (sorry to be so blunt) – – -if you can nail down that pre-conference (who, what, when, where, why, how) and then avoid the “what did you think?” debriefing lead-in, you’ll basically force this teacher to focus on the facts and that’s what leads to coaching…with any teacher!

Here’s what I would do next:

  • Click these links here on pre-conference and debriefing – I hope that you’ll find some quick and easy tips for gearing up for your next interaction with this teacher!
  • Take a deeeeeep breath and act as if you didn’t have that messy interaction where you came away feeling badly.
  • Make an appointment with the teacher and say, “Ok…so let’s talk about where we head next.”  And take him through a pre-conference where you nail down all of the particulars.

Just hit that reset button and practice not taking any of this personally.  That is what most people before you have not done…they have deemed this teacher “uncoachable” because he’s acted defensively.