by Katie Kinder
Last week was busy; let’s be perfectly honest, every week is busy, but for this post, last week was extra, extra busy. I’m an Instructional Coach. People ask me, “What does that mean?” Well, it means a lot of different things to me. I teach the teachers, but more importantly, I serve the teachers because, as my good friend, and principal, Charles Williams, says, “If serving is beneath you, leading is beyond you!” If you are a principal, you should get his book; Inside The Principal’s Office, it is a good one.
I’m of the notion that I can’t teach teachers if I’m not connected to kids. In my role, I teach two writing classes that I have affectionately named “Ms. Kinder Mania.” I like to invite a struggling teacher into my space to learn and grow, and then I can go into their space to help model a lesson. In my opinion, everything in a school is instructional. That means I could be doing any number of things on any given day.
Last week I moved broken desks out of a teacher’s room because she asked me to help. I didn’t have enough deodorant on for the heavy lifting, but that is another blog post.
Last week, I ran to a teacher’s room because she texted me ‘911.’ I assumed that meant an emergency, so I sprinted as fast as my short 40-year-old legs could carry me. I found her students sitting in extreme quiet when I walked in, but no teacher. I looked around and saw that she was under her desk, sobbing. She was having an all-out panic attack. I sent her to my room and taught the rest of her class.
Last week, there was a violent fight before school even started, and everyone saw the fight either in person or via a shared video, so I had to drop into a community circle for my kids. They were scared. We journaled, shared, and talked about our emotions. We named our fear and learned some coping mechanisms.
Last week, a teacher called me because she had food poisoning and had to drop everything to go home.
Last week, one of my baby teachers emailed me, “SOS.” I ran to her class, and she was shaken up over a student who had just had a violent episode in her class. Her 6th graders were crying; she needed me to model my community circle, so I did.
Last week, I had to develop lessons for two different classes for the week ahead because their teacher either quit or was sick.
Last week, someone bit my head off when I asked him a question, and I burst into tears. He said, “I thought you were one of those strong women?!” I laughed, “I am! And I also happen to be human.” He backed away as quickly as he could as I said, “I cry for the same reason I laugh…I’m paying attention!” To quote the one and only Glennon Doyle. My coworker ran away.
Last week, I took my son to soccer practice three times 45 minutes away. I ubered my daughter to acting and a school interview. I had to make dinner (Five Times)! Well, four. We ordered pizza one night. Thank God for Mazzios.
Last week, I graded, planned, and implemented my lessons and pivoted when the day needed me to change.
And that was just last week…
To my teacher warriors, we see you. You are valued, cherished, and respected in this most noble profession, even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes. No matter how your last week was, teach on, warriors.
Author & Speaker
Katie Kinder has been an educator since 2006. She believes that life is fun, and learning should most definitely be fun. A teacher of the year, top five district finalist, OKC Rotary Teacher of the Month, professional development leader, and a top 100 educator in Oklahoma on Twitter, Katie has learned a trick or two in the classroom.
How do we engage 21st century learners? How do we reach our underserved populations? How do we keep up with an evolving education sphere? Come on in, have some fun, and hook your students from day one. Learn engagement strategies, classroom management, delve into relationships and rapport in a digital world. Lean into relevant content; we cannot and should not teach the way we did even ten years ago.