September 6, 2006

















I try not to reinvent the wheel

I have been keeping a journal with a student from last year and she just gave it back to me yesterday. Her last entry had her goals in it for next year, her senior year, she then asked me to put my goals down for next year. I was thinking this morning as I drove to work...what are my goals? I thought about committing to commenting on the blog once a week and making a new entry once a week. As I contemplated this goal...I wondered what if I don’t have anything to write about. Do I just write for the sake of meeting the goal? Is that being truly reflective and will that have any meaning? I was then thinking about the movie “Finding Forrester,” Sean Connery tells the young writer to just start typing – he even gives him one of his essays to copy initially to get him started. Maybe that is how I need to think about it – just start typing and the introspection will come.


In reflecting back over my seven years as a Critical Friends Coach, I remember my whole first year of coaching was copying what the trainers in my new coach training had done with me. It felt a little weird at first providing the same experiences, but then again it was a magical time for me and I wanted the whole group to have that same feeling. The first year went amazing well. I am glad I didn’t try to come up with all new material and adapted the training and skills to my campus culture.


Keep coaching and if you have to copy the work initially to get started—greatness is only moments away.



New Coach follow up session

Saturday, September 9, 2006

8:00 am—noon—UH Hilton

Continental breakfast and parking provided


Coaching Facilitates Greatness is a weekly support newsletter from The Houston A+ Challenge for new CFG coaches. Questions and comments are welcome at 

Text Box: Happy Labor Day.
(well the week after anyway)

Enjoying the fruits of my labor in Rock City, Tennessee







I think Labor Day comes at the perfect time in the school year, just as I get past the honeymoon period with my students. I realize that now is when the really hard labor starts. One way that I have helped to make that Labor Day hump a little less stressful is by spending time during the beginning of school on non-curricular, but essential learning.


As I was contemplating the content of this issue, I found myself wondering how Labor Day was initiated.  


 Labor Day:

How it Came About; What it Means


"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."


Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. -Taken from:


As teachers, this holiday was made for us philosophically as contributors to the strength, prosperity, and well being of the future of our country and by honoring the labors of our profession.


I hope we all enjoyed our holiday.














Facilitation Tip 2.

When starting your school groups remember to spend time establishing the team. Utilize your ice breakers and team builders, as not only ways to get to know your colleagues in a different light, but as tools to use to get to know your students.


See an article Michaelann wrote for NSRF Connections describing how she used her CFG tools in the classroom at


She can be reached at, if you have any questions or comments.



Important Web Links for new CFG coaches:

· Looking at Student Work (This a great alternative to the NSRF site to support the work)

· Coalition of Essential Schools (a foundational organization to the work )