Many years ago, a friend and his wife were asked to bring ice cream to the church social. Not just a gallon – their job was to pick up all of the ice cream for the group from the local creamery. Although they were planning to visit relatives in another town that day, the young couple planned their schedule around returning early enough to get the ice cream to the park before the party. When they arrived at the creamery, however, they were told that the ice cream had already been picked up. The leader who had given them the assignment, knowing they were out of town, had taken care of this errand.
Maybe my friend and his wife should have felt grateful that someone had their back. Instead, they felt frustrated that their carefully-planned return trip was in vain. They felt deflated that the leader who gave them the assignment didn’t believe they would carry it out. They wondered if they had a part to play. The sting, and the lesson, lingered. Over subsequent decades, whenever they have conversations about delegating tasks, they’ll ask, “Who’s bringing the ice cream?” This question serves not only to divvy up the work, but also to remind them to give ownership for a task to the one who it’s been delegated to.
Coaches can sometime act as “saviors,” prepared to jump in and save the day when someone is off their game. While it’s important that we ensure the final outcome is effective instruction for students, taking up the slack too often can backfire, reducing teachers’ preparation and motivation.
It may be tempting to keep a few tricks up your sleeve that you can pull out in the time of need. But if a teacher said she’d bring that research article to share with the group, let her do it. And if she forgets this time and the group doesn’t have what they need, she’ll probably be more likely to be prepared the next time around. If the data that’s needed for a decision is the responsibility of the classroom teacher, don’t bring the data yourself. An email reminder beforehand could be appropriate, but “bringing the ice cream” is not.
I’m a firm believer that people rise to the expectations we have for them. Expect that teachers will live up to their commitments. Expect that they will follow through. Occasionally, the group may have to do without the ice cream, but the expectations and responsibility that are built will be worth the lack of dessert.
This week, you might want to take a look at:
Five reasons remote learning did not meet the needs of learners:
10 SEL learning strategies:
Writing-at-Home resources for young children 4 – 8 (great share for parents):
A 3-minute listen on the court’s decision that students have a right to learn to read:
6 Co-Teaching models:
That’s it for this week. Happy Coaching!
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