We're all on the Same Team: A Teacher's Perspective with Jabiz Raisdana
episode we’re chatting with Jabiz Raisdana, Head of Grade 8 and Middle School English Teacher at United World College, SouthEast Asia in Singapore.
Bonus: Watch the video of this episode on YouTube!
As an experienced classroom teacher, digital literacy coach, and school leader, Jabiz shares his perspectives about building a successful coaching relationship. Jabiz highlights the importance of viewing your colleagues as human beings and the need for coaches to adapt and adjust for each individual teacher, just like we would for students. The strong coaching culture established at UWC that Jabiz describes provides a great foundation for what coaching can be, so there are lots of great takeaways for teachers, coaches
and school leaders!
What do you think coaches do?
A coach is someone that is a sounding board or a mirror who coaches you through the improvement of your craft, so you don’t feel like you’re working in isolation. Seeing things that you don’t see in order to help you hone your craft as a teacher.
How do you work with the coaches at your school?
Digital Literacy Coach and Literacy Coach ask what I want to work on, and then we design a plan and they coach him through that. The coach doesn’t come with an agenda. It’s not a deficit model, for the most part, teachers aren’t coaching because they’re on a support plan. The coachee comes to the coach with a goal.
What are some good opportunities for coaches to work with you?
If there’s a set of expectations for teachers so they can see where they have room for improvement. If they know what they could be doing, this is a good way to open the door. Teachers run on survival mode most of the time, this is a good opportunity to see where we can get better. Demystifying the notion of a master teacher – it can just be one thing the teacher is working on.
What do you do when you don’t have the opportunity to work with a coach?
Fostering a sense of camaraderie and rapport within the team. Your colleagues can be your coaches.
What are the essential elements for coaching success in a school? What’s needed to build a coaching culture?
Trust. We trust our teachers, we trust each other, admin trust teachers. Realizing that teachers are human beings, they’re not always going to be great, and that’s OK. If I’m constantly realizing I’m not perfect, and there are ways I can get better.
Where do coaches / does coaching fail? And what can we do about it?
The way we interact with each other and the way personalities work have a big impact. Sometimes we need frameworks and structures to work together successfully, like norms of collaboration. Personalities can be a big problem – if the coach doesn’t have rapport and relationships with everyone. You have to get through the personal social connections and then move on to the teaching/coaching ideas.
What makes a coach invaluable to you?
Depends on the type of personality. The coach needs to be able to be flexible and adapt to the different type of person to “be the other half”. The coach needs to know what the other teacher needs and adapt best to their needs.
What was your “aha” moment that shifted your perspective from not caring about coaching to being on board?
After the last couple of years of working with coaches, has been my “aha” moment. Going through learning how to be a coach myself makes me realize there is a lot of really useful stuff and I can appreciate how others can fill that role for me. It’s not something that is being done to me by an expert, it’s something that anyone can do for another person at any time.
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