Turn up your style’s volume
“I’m sorry I am late,” Rebecca said as she walked in for our coaching session. “Some students caught me after class to ask me questions about our first exam on Monday. I felt it was important to meet with them before the weekend.”
“This must be the beginning German class you told me about,” I said. “Is it as fun as you thought it would be?”
“No,” she answered, “I’m not having as much fun as I thought I would.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“This is the first class I’ve taught at the junior college level. I was flattered and excited to have this opportunity,” Rebecca said. “After I was hired, I met with the head of the language department to get a better sense of his expectations. He gave me a syllabus, which I thought would make it easier to prepare my classes.”
“Have you been using the syllabus?” I asked.
“I’ve been using the syllabus and the curriculum that have been used the past five years,” Rebecca said. “But I don’t like the way it’s laid out.”
“Tell me more about that,” I said.
“Every time I try to build my lesson plans around it, it doesn’t feel right,” she explained. “I feel like I’m trying to teach someone else’s class, like a substitute teacher ... but I’m not the substitute. This is my class.”
I paused to allow her to hear her own words.
“No wonder it’s frustrating,” I said. “What would YOUR class look like?”
“The examples in the book seem to have no relevance to the students,” she said. “It’s as though the materials were created in the ‘80s. I would update the materials to make them more relevant.”
“How would you do that?” I asked.
“I would use more of my own materials from the community classes I taught last year,” Rebecca said. “There, students brought in articles that they were interested in and we used that as the basis for learning German. The exercises I came up with were fun, and helped the students learn the basics. That class flowed so much better than this one.”
“How strict is the department on using the provided curriculum?” I asked.
“I didn’t even ask,” she said. “But I think, since I have the rest of the semester in front of me, I’d like to talk to the department head to find out exactly what’s expected.
“In our first meeting, things were so new that I didn’t even know what to ask. Now that I have a better idea of how this works, I’d like to integrate more of my own teaching style. Even if I had to use the books, but could develop my own lesson plans and activities, it would work better for me. I feel paralyzed using someone else’s materials.”
Rebecca agreed to call that afternoon to schedule an appointment and meet with the department head.
Over the weekend, she planned to review the materials to gain a clearer understanding of how she would integrate her style into the existing class structure.
Coaching Challenge: How would you describe your style and how does it impact important areas of your life such as work, hobbies, relationships and health?
If you had a “your style” volume button, how could you turn it up so more of you would come out in everything you do?
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. For more information, go to: http://www.coachwithsheri.com.