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November 1, 2021
Vol. 79
No. 3
Relevant Read

Compassion for Teachers on the Journey to Efficacy

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    Professional Learning
    November 2021 Relevant Read header image: Book cover for "Compassionate Coaching"
    Credit: November 2021
      Compassionate Coaching: How to Help Educators Navigate Barriers to Professional Growth by Kathy Perret and Kenny McKee (ASCD, 2021)
      Teachers have had it rough the last 18 months. They've battled anxiety while working in shifting teaching conditions—from suddenly having to go all-online, to returning to in-person with awkward safety logistics, to mastering hybrid models. Coaches' role in helping a teacher feel effective has become more complex, too. According to this helpful book—by two former teachers who are now coaches—the key thing coaches can give teachers striving to improve in these "interesting times" is compassion.
      Perret and McKee spotlight strategies for guiding each educator on their learning journey with the kind of "heroic compassion" and differentiation that teachers often show students as they guide their growth. Compassionate coaching is personalized: A strong coach pinpoints the barriers to excellent performance each coachee faces and guides that teacher to make plans that will help surmount those barriers, strengthening efficacy. "Coaching with compassion and in a way tailored to the individual can result in transformational improvement—to student achievement and teacher work satisfaction," the authors assert.
      Using a metaphor of journeying with a GPS (Goals, Plans, and Steps), Perret and McKee show the coaching actions that work best to help a struggling teacher get around each of six common barriers: lack of confidence; failure; overload; disruption; isolation; and a challenging school culture. Each chapter shows how a coach might collaborate with a practitioner to set goals, make a plan, model practices and more for one barrier. One especially timely section highlights resources and lesson-planning protocols (in all content areas) that coaches can share with any teacher facing "disruption" to help her reclaim order and confidence in the classroom.

      Naomi Thiers is the managing editor of Educational Leadership.

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