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February 21, 2010

If you want to build a ship                          
don’t herd people together to collect wood 
and don’t assign them tasks and work,
but rather teach them to long for the 
endless immensity of the sea.

          — Antoine de Saint-Exupery                                    

If you think about the hardest work you have done as an educator, chances are that it was motivated by what you wanted for your students. If you have had a transformational experience as a teacher – an aha moment – chances are it occurred because you had a greater vision of what could be.

As coaches, we can help teachers’ learning by helping them create a sense of the possible, for themselves and for their students. Questions that can assist include:

  • What do you hope will be different at the end of this lesson?
  • If this problem is solved, what will it look like/sound like/feel like?
  • What difference for your students will you achieve by making this change?
  • How will your students be different as a result of this effort?
  • What are your big-picture goals as a teacher?
  • What are your hopes for your students this year?

Teachers want to make a difference in the lives of young people. As coaches, we can help teachers remember their wishes for their students and then work toward those visions by making informed decisions and following up to see what difference has been made.

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