Give up and continue

coachmartinrichards

A teacher gives up and continues teaching. Can they be re-inspired through coaching?

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The Coach in the Classroom

Written by Co-Active Coach Martin Richards

The purpose of this book is to explore the question:

What happens when you use a coaching

approach in an educational environment?

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Contents

Contents.......................................................................................................2

Acknowledgements....................................................................................3

What is a Coaching Approach?................................................................4

Developing your coaching approach skills.............................................4

How to use this Book.................................................................................5

Coincidences................................................................................................9

Chapter 1: Inspiring Teenagers...............................................................27

Chapter 2: Attitude Makes a Difference................................................57

Chapter 3: Two Teachers’ Strategies......................................................75

Chapter 4: Classroom Fight.....................................................................93

Chapter 5: Give Up and Continue........................................................107

Chapter 6: Reading Aloud from the Book...........................................123

Chapter 7: More Talk, Less Control.....................................................139

Chapter 8: Wake Up Call.......................................................................169

Chapter 9: The Juvenile Criminal.........................................................187

Chapter 10: The Ambassador................................................................207

The Midwinter Vigil...............................................................................227

All rights reserved.

Copyright 2017, (c) Martin Richards, Gothenburg, Sweden.

Web www.martinrichards.eu

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Acknowledgements

This book is the result of many collaborations, collaboration with the

many fictional characters portrayed in this book and collaboration

with real, living people, of whom the following deserve heartfelt

and special mentions:

Hetty Brand Boswijk, CPCC, for partnering with me in

our quest to write a book together. It is an ongoing

journey of learnings and revelations.

Michele Helman, CPCC, for accelerating and easing

the final stages of writing, reading and supportively

commenting on the need for this book to be published.

Elizabeth Nostedt, ACC, DTM, PMP for proofing and

commenting on an early version of the manuscript.

Vicky Jo Varner, PCC, CPCC, for repeatedly and

meticulously proofing and commenting on the later

manuscripts.

Jenny Geuken, for the original cover artwork.

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What is a Coaching Approach?

Certified coaches use a coaching approach, on the inside. A coaching

approach names what is happening inside their bodies and inside

their minds, while they are coaching. It could be called the hidden

skill of coaching, because it’s hidden. It is not always visible in what

they do, nor audible in what they say. It is, however, apparent in

what they do not do, and what they do not say. Certified coaches do

not, for example, judge the person they are coaching. That takes

practice. Nor do they offer their opinions or experience. That takes

even more practice. Not judging and not giving advice are two of

the most powerful hidden coaching skills. There are coaching skills

that are visible and audible, they include: asking great questions,

and listening actively.

Teaching using a 'Coaching Approach' is carrying out the work of a

teacher and 'making use of the skills of a coach'. The combination is

awesome.

Teachers who use a coaching approach, interact with students in an

authentic, self-developing, reflective manner. A description of the

coach's mind-set appears gradually in all the stories in this book, an

especially in Anthony's notes at the start of each campfire story.

Developing your coaching approach skills

Whatever your professional background, the best places to start

developing your coaching approach are the the hidden skills of:






Active listening

Non-judgement

Holding back personal opinions and advice

Being comfortable with not knowing what is right or wrong

Not knowing what will happen next.

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Riccardo

Midwinter’s

Tales

of

The Coach in the Classroom

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Chapter 5: Give Up and Continue

Riccardo arrived early at the room where he had agreed to meet the

teacher, Alan, who he would be coaching this term. Seating himself

at a desk, Riccardo looked through the agreement he would be

asking Alan to sign, about confidentiality, and who was responsible

for choosing the coaching topic; and of course the logistics about

room booking, phone numbers and emails. Riccardo looked out of

the ground floor window at the late spring winds bending the birch

trees outdoors, and waited.

Alan came into the room without knocking. He was in his late fifties,

his balding head was bowed, his back was stooped. He looked like a

lost and wandering spirit. His narrow black eyes were two spheres

of night-black marble. The straggling remains of his unkempt black

hair was shoulder-length. He wore a pale grey jumper and old blue

jeans. He carried a worn briefcase under one arm and he dragged

the soles of his shoes across the floor as he walked across to

Riccardo.

Alan presented himself in a flat voice, "Hello"

"Hi, I'm Riccardo, your coach," replied Riccardo slightly too

gleefully, getting up to shake Alan's hand.

"Yes, so what do we do?"

"First, we get to know each other, find out what's going on and

maybe plan to observe some of your lessons if that's what you

would like.

"Ok."

"I have a question I would like to ask first. What brings you to

coaching?"

109


"Well, as you know, this school has a lot of students from, you

know, the local area, and they are so unmotivated to learn, and they

fail, most of them, it's like eighty percent that don't get grades that

will take them into higher education and they have to do that to get

a job, the job market is demanding and they have no chance of

getting a job without good grades and a good education. Well most

of them don't get jobs anyway, nor do their parents, but it's like they

don't have any ambitions at all, any of them. It's been like that for

years, but it never used to be like that when I started teaching. Then

you could see that most of the students actually wanted to succeed,

although some of them did struggle, we did our best for them, but

now we have really poor students, I mean they are not poor in

money because they get social welfare, they are poor in other ways,

and they have no ambition maybe, perhaps it's because they have no

role models, well then it's not surprising that most of my leavers this

year are going to fail, they have nothing to look forward to, nobody

to look up to and I'm getting stick about it from the Head and even

my colleagues, and it's not like they are doing any better, they teach

the same students in other subjects and they are just as lazy with

them as they are with me, the students I mean, not the teachers. So

it's not really my fault, but I have to do something about it."

"Perhaps I should mention that what we say here, stays here, I won't

speak about this with anyone. I have an agreement about

confidentiality for us to look at and …"

"I don't care who you tell. It's no secret. The whole school is under

pressure to get these students through their education with good

grades. Everyone knows what kind of students we have, and where

they come from. You have been at this school for a while, right and

you have seen the students we have here, almost none of them are

from here, this country I mean.

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That's part of the whole problem, they don't come from here and

they don't know how to be students at a school like this one, in this

country. They only know how to mess around like teenagers, and

how to sign on for social welfare when they leave school, that's

when they aren't driving around on their mopeds or praying in their

church or whatever it's called. And their parents aren't much better,

we get pressure from them too to make their kids work hard in

school and they have no self-discipline at home, not like we have it,

you know what I mean, some of the parents can get heavy-handed

with their kids, knock them around a bit, maybe that's what they

need, a firm hand, but we don't do that here, you can't hit them, you

can't even touch them, and that's where the lack of respect comes

from, they don't respect the teachers, the kids I mean; and the

parents, they don't respect us too. It's a mess, and I don't know what

to do so that's why I asked for coaching, maybe you have some ideas

about what I can do. I mean what can I do with them? It’s too late to

make any difference anyway!"

"What I am hearing, in between the lines, is that you want to

motivate them to behave, learn, succeed."

"Yes."

"And you said that results important for you and your job; and for

them and their jobs, as well as for the general benefit of the local

community."

"Sure, but what do you suggest?"

"We are close to the end of term, and we have time for an

observation or two."

"So you can see what's happening? But I just told you."

"You told me about the students. And the purpose of an observation

is to see what you do, how you interact with the students, how you

motivate them to behave, learn and succeed."

"And then you will tell me better ways to do it!"

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"Not tell. The aim is for you to find those other ways by reflecting on

what you do, what else you could do, and what specifically you

want to try doing."

"It's a bit late for this class, they are right at the end of their final year

at school, their grades will be finalized at the end of the month. You

know their grades are based on all their previous performances in

class and on all the tests, the last test is in two weeks’ time, so there's

not much of a chance of changing anything for them."

"Then we need to move quickly to set up an observation."

"Do you really expect it will make any difference to their grades?"

"I expect it will make a difference to how you teach."

Alan paused, for the first time in thirty minutes, he paused in silent

thought. Riccardo kept quiet and waited. The trees outside the

window stood to attention.

Alan continued, "It might. At least I can learn something for next

year's students. They aren't much better than these. It's either that or

I start looking for a teaching job somewhere else, or a different job. I

could drive a bus, no problem, a bit early start but I could get used

to that, it would be better than coming here every day and banging

my head against a brick wall, but if you could show me how I could

teach better, so I can reach these little buggers then I wouldn't have

to get up in the morning and drive a bus all day. Actually, I'd prefer

that, I like being a teacher, it's just that I don't get these kids at all,

not at all. Are we done now?"

"Not quite. I need some direction from you about what to observe,

and we need to plan the dates."

112


"Well for a start you can see how motivated they are, or aren't. There

are a couple of students who do get on with their work, but for the

main part they just sleep through the lesson or waste their time in

endless arguments with each other, but not with me, I am tough on

talking back, I don't accept it from anyone. You will see, I am sure

you have seen it before if you have been to any of the lessons in this

school. It's nothing unique for me. It's the students!"

For the observation, Riccardo recalled that Alan's question was,

"What can I do with them?; it’s too late to make any difference!" He

had asked Riccardo to observe the motivation level of the students,

and how it shifts during lesson time.

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Riccardo drew a chart showing 4 levels:

Disengaged

Mildly engaged

Mostly engaged

Highly engaged

When the lesson commenced, Alan sat at the front of the room and

called out the attendance list, noting with disappointment in his

voice that certain students were not attending this lesson. He

lamented their chances of passing the course. "This is the last week

before the final test, do you think there's any point in missing

lessons at this stage? I can't help you if you don't come to the lesson.

I have done my best all term and you skip lessons and still expect to

get good grades," he berated the students who had come to his

lesson today.

There was a dismal sense of submission in the room. Riccardo could

feel it in the whole of his body as a lowering of energy, hope and

expectation.

"What can we do here?" asks the voice in Riccardo’s head. "Simply

observe," replies Riccardo. "Observe, then coach."

Alan rose from his seat, walked around the room and handed out a

three-page worksheet to each student. The students groaned and

said they couldn’t answer these kinds of questions.

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Alan launched into his introduction for the lesson, "As usual, I

expect you to complete the worksheet – to the best of your ability –

and hand it in at the end of the lesson, which is in ninety minutes.

You should be able to do these kinds of questions, it's basic stuff you

should know it by now, we have been through it time and time

again and you should have got it by now. It's going to be on the test

for sure. No, they aren't the test questions, that would be stupid

wouldn't it? These are almost the same, I have written them

especially for you to practice today so that you can pass the test. If

you need any help you may come to the front desk where I will do

my very, very best to help you. You may not leave your seat for any

other reason. Yes you may go to the toilet if you think it will help,

but I will mark you absent if you are gone for longer than five

minutes and don't come back smelling of cigarette smoke, I'm not

stupid."

A muffled groan ran through the room, and through Riccardo's

heart too.

"What’s the feeling in the room?" asked the voice in Riccardo’s head,

"How would you describe what you are feeling?" "A victim," replied

Riccardo." I feel like a victim. I feel like giving up." The voice then asked,

"Whose feeling is it? Who does it belong to?"

Most of the students remained in their seats and rested their heads

on their desks. A couple of students started picking a fight with each

other using some well-chosen provocative words. Alan stopped this

with some well-chosen words of his own! One student left the room

to go to the bathroom. He didn’t come back.

Riccardo remained in his place at the back of the room and wrote

notes, mainly about how it felt to be in this classroom, but also

exactly what Alan was saying and doing at every step of the lesson.

After an hour had passed, some of the students got up and left the

room; they didn’t come back either. Alan did not acknowledge or

respond to their absence except to write a note of their names.

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The few students who were in the room seemed to be looking at the

worksheet that Alan had handed out. There was not much writing

going on. A couple of times one student or another went up to Alan

and seemed to be getting help.

When the end of the lesson arrived, the remaining students departed

the room, most of them leaving their worksheets lying behind on

their desks. Alan went around the room, sighing as he picked up the

worksheets and wrote the students’ names at the top of the front

page as necessary. He filed the sheets away for later marking.

"There's not much to mark even after a whole lesson," Alan

lamented. "And these scores will be included in their final grades!

They have no chance!"

Alan suggested, "Can we do the coaching straight away?" Riccardo,

sick in his stomach and still reeling from the lesson, agreed. They

walked to the same room as before. Alan launched into, "You saw

how they were didn't you and this was a quiet day I think you being

there calmed them down a bit they must have thought you were

there to look at them not me and that was good I mean at least there

weren't any fights there can be especially if one of the boys has gone

off with one of the other boy's girlfriend they change girlfriends

more often than they change their clothes."

"Can we focus on the lesson, and see what happened and what you

could choose to do differently?"

"You saw what they did. Half of them just went to sleep and the

other half; well, they didn't do much. I looked at their papers at the

end of the lesson and none of them will get more than ten percent

right, ten percent after a whole term and we have been doing these

questions for three weeks now, they just don't get it and it's not

hard, look, they are simple calculations!"

Alan showed Riccardo the worksheet. The calculations were indeed

simple.

"Can we focus on what you did during the lesson, and see what you

could choose to do differently?"

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"It would have been better for them to stay at home, not bother

coming to school at all! Some of them obviously have given up."

"Given up! Now that's a wide-open door," yelled Riccardo's inner

voice.

Riccardo asked Alan, "When did the students give up?"

"Some of them gave up at the start of the year when they moved to

this school. They've slept through three years of education it's no

wonder they haven't learned anything … "

Riccardo jumped in and inquired, "How close are you to giving up?"

Startled by the question, Alan stopped and thought for a good

while. Minutes ticked by. Riccardo kept silent.

Alan returned with a strong voice that has not been heard before

today, "I am not going to give up. I must do things differently next

time, that's clear. We can see the same kind of students coming up

next year and I can't bear to have this situation again with the

students being so de-motivated. We have to do something. I have to

do something."

"Whoah. That was a SHIFT!" Riccardo could feel it down to his bones.

"Perhaps we could make a list of some of the things you could do

differently?" he suggested.

Together they spent the last few minutes of the coaching session

brainstorming things Alan could do differently when he had the

chance.

Alan said he would turn those ideas into plans of what he hopes to

do differently with the next group, next term.

"When will you tell him about his negativity?" asked Riccardo's inner

voice. "Not right now, it's the end of the coaching session. I want to end on

a good note," defended Riccardo.

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Alan seemed to have regained some energy at the end of this

session, he thanked Riccardo and stood up to leave the room.

Riccardo followed Alan out of the room but continued to swim in

the feelings of despair and victimhood that had been apparent

during the coaching. He felt disempowered, useless, at the point of

giving up.

"What is it you are feeling? Whose feelings are they?" asked the inner

voice again.

Riccardo was feeling lost. Tired and lost. He decided that he needed

a cup of strong coffee, a brisk walk, and a break from coaching for a

while until he could find himself again.

"When will you tell him about his negativity?" asked Riccardo's inner

voice.

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