Resources for Teachers and Instructional Coaches – November 2021

chalk drawing of lightbulb with text "Noted and Notable Content Resources for Teachers and Instructional Coaches November 2021"

It’s November, and we’ve rounded up this month’s top resources for teachers and coaches! This edition of noted and notable content for educators includes resources all about building and maintaining a culture of collective efficacy, student empathy, and teacher sustainability.

Our top picks for important November reads are below, with the highlights, article links, and related content for you.

Teachers’ collective efficacy doesn’t just magically happen

Collective efficacy is the shared belief of teachers in a school that they are positively and effectively impacting student achievement. However, that can be easier to say than to fully believe.

This ASCD article asserts that collective efficacy doesn’t just magically exist, but must be intentionally built. Here are 3 actions that help cultivate a culture of collective efficacy.

Action #1: Embed a Routine Practice of Public Learning

Collective efficacy requires making teacher learning visible. Teachers need to be able to take stock of their own success, and to do that, they must have opportunities to see their growth over time.

Action #2: Periodically Pause to Reflect and Celebrate Teacher Learning Over Time

Periodic pauses to synthesize and celebrate bigger take-aways at pivotal points in the year, typically December and May, help teachers collectively see their progress as professional learners. To make this happen, whether in grade-level teams, department groups, or as a whole staff, teachers pause their normal collaborative routines to reflect on and share what they have learned about their practice over the last few months.

Action #3: Use Knowledge Management Tools to Help Make Teacher Learning Visible

Without opportunities to document their unfolding learning over time, teachers and leaders alike may reach those pivotal moments of the year and wonder, Did anything important happen for me as a learner this year? Did we get anywhere as a group?

To avoid this pitfall, knowledge management tools are vital to teachers’ ability to build awareness of their efficacy.

With a heightened awareness of their own effectiveness in contrast to failures, teachers both know what strategies are working and feel confident that they can continue to positively impact student learning.

Read more at ASCD: Three Actions for Building a Culture of Collective Efficacy

Need help capturing and showing teacher feedback to enable more effective teacher reflection? Here is how to make teacher feedback more concrete and actionable.

New teachers need relationships, rituals, and reasons to sustain their teaching

It’s not news to any educator that teaching is stressful. Resources for teachers are often instructional, but educators, especially those new to the profession, need more than that to thrive in their work.

This Edutopia post talks about teacher sustainability, or how teachers are “identifying, pursuing, and being intentional about maintaining the conditions that help them.”

Here are 3 strategies for new teachers, and the coaches and school leaders that support them, to help with teacher sustainability and success.

Look for relationships to re-energize you

Humans are wired for connection. … It’s important to consider relationships that are warm and supportive as well as recognize the benefit of the ones that encourage us to feel inspired, take risks, and grow personally and professionally.

Use rituals to restore you

Our second R is about the habits and activities that help us reestablish a sense of well-being. Rituals can give us a sense of reliability, peace, and calm. Therefore, we find ourselves seeking them to feel renewed and strengthened. In our work, we encourage pre-service teachers to identify three activities that they enjoy and to think about how the activities help them feel restored.

Have reasons to remind you

The last R ties to our values, why we chose teaching as our vocation, and renewing our commitment to it. Commitment to our reasons and values compels us to critically reflect on our work in order to assess the extent to which our teaching is aligned with our values. … Our reasons keep us anchored to teaching as an ongoing process of self-reflection, learning, and growth.

Read the full post at Edutopia: A Sustainability Strategy for New Teachers

And here are resources for teachers from Harvard researcher Heather Hill about approaches for positive classroom environments, which have a great impact on teacher well-being. 

3 resources for teachers to help students build empathy skills

Do your students know how to show and foster their empathy among each other? Here are 3 strategies to build community in your classroom.

1. Shift individual assignments into collective activities. There was a distinct and sudden change in the attitude and demeanor of my students when I started evolving individual worksheets into team tasks. … Students engaged because others relied on them to do so.

2. Allow students to lead. Letting go of control in your classroom is hard, but students need real and authentic opportunities to lead in the classroom. Curate spaces for students at all readiness levels to take a leadership role at some point.

3. Focus on care, not skills. Teachers often spend most of their worrying about standards, assessments, and grades when we should really be focusing on how we ready our students to achieve not only the academic goals we set for them but the personal goals they have for themselves. Being able to empathize with others and care for the people around you allows for true collaboration.

Read more at EdSurge: Empathy Is a Crucial Skill. Here Is How We Are Teaching It to Our Students.

Coaches, are you working on building empathy to better support teachers? Here’s our recent post on 3 skills to build empathy.

Missed last month’s edition of our Noted Content? Catch up on our October top resources for teachers and coaches


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