Lately, I’ve been paying very close attention to the way I learn. Anytime I’m in an environment where I’m learning something from a teacher or coach, I study them. I pay close attention to their methods and techniques.
I recently joined a membership called Class Pass, which lets you visit different workout studios for classes around your area. It’s a great way to try different workouts and see what you like. Since my health and fitness has become a major priority, it allows me to keep things interesting. For me, going back to the same gym over and over again can really get monotonous. With my Class Pass in hand the past few months, I’ve tried a lot of different studios, and I’ve been paying attention to how the instructor leads the class.
I’ve learned a lot, and here are the things that stand out and apply to the classroom.
1. Build community at your school or in your classroom.
Fitness instructors try to build a community inside their studio. And this makes sense because belonging to a welcoming community feels good — it’s what keeps class-goers coming back. The fitness instructors create community by having us introduce ourselves to our neighbors and giving them a high-five after a challenging move. My favorite community builder is when they call me by name. When the trainer, says, “Dahlia, you killed it today,” I feel like a rock star and motivated to come back to class.
This got me thinking about how we can build community in the classroom.
It’s important that teachers like each other, feel respected by their leader and colleagues, and feel seen and heard. Leaders can build community inside of their school, and teachers can also do this with their kids. Cheer students on when you see them working hard, remind them that you believe in them, and see their potential. This will make all the difference in the world.
2. Set goals with your staff or your students.
I decided my health was more important than spending money on frivolous things, so I hired a trainer. I told Ace, my trainer, that I really wanted to see if I could get to 25% body fat. When I started working out with him, I was very overweight, depressed, and not feeling great about myself. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight in the past three years, and I’m happy with how I look, but I want to see if I can hit the recommended healthy amount of body fat for a woman my age and height.
First, I had to get a body fat test. Ace looked it over and made a plan. He explained how many calories I’d have to eat to begin to gain lean muscle mass and lose body fat. He said it wouldn’t be easy, but he gave me some strategies to help me reach my goal.
If you lead a school, set goals with your staff, and if you lead a classroom, set goals with your students. Once you’ve helped each person set their individual goals, give them some tips or strategies for how to reach them.
Just as Ace gave me tips about drinking water, using a meal delivery service, counting calories, and trying intermittent fasting, you can offer up ideas from your experience. With your expert advice, your teachers or students are much more likely to succeed.
3. Hold those around you accountable.
Another thing that helps me as a learner is to be held accountable. I have recently started a priority planning journal where I keep a plan and track my workouts. After listening to the audiobook Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, I decided to buy the accompanying priority planner, which helps me set goals and create ‘mile markers’ so I can achieve them one by one. Ace is also great at checking in on me and my weight. I type it into my phone every morning so that I can show him how it’s changing over time. He also looks at my calorie intake which I track on an app called My Fitness Pal.
By having my own tools and then a mentor and coach following up with me, I feel confident that I’ll be able to reach my goal. Do you see how this can translate to your teachers and your students?
4. Be a community that celebrates
My trainer also runs boot camp classes on Saturday mornings at my apartment building. He has done an incredible job of building community among the tenants and guiding us to become healthier and happier individuals. I now have a growing community of friends in my building, thanks to boot camp. He also plans celebratory brunches for us all a few times a year, which encourages us to celebrate our progress and connect with one another.
Whether you’re the superintendent, principal, coach, or classroom teacher at your school, you can create both classroom and school communities that celebrate together. Consider hosting school-wide celebrations in reading and writing. Host celebrations in your classroom and invite parents and other classes to be a part of the celebration!
This is a picture from a school-wide writing celebration where parents visited during the evening to walk the school and read their child and other children’s writing. Teachers instructed them to jot positive comments on sticky notes to let the writer know what they liked about their work.
Take your leadership and coaching deeper
These are all strategies you can use — whether in the classroom or across many classrooms to help you become an even greater leader and coach.
Get even more support with your leadership skills at an upcoming Leadership & Coaching Institute.
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