Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Just Tell Me
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Slice of Life: Just Tell Me


Well there are lots of options.

I know, but just tell me which author you would do.

You shouldn’t pick who I would study, let’s think about an author you love.

I know you are trying to be helpful, but I am so overwhelmed. I just want to be told what to do. Please just tell me which I author I should study.

This slice of life happened over twenty years ago. I was a new teacher. I was looking for an author to study who had a wide range of text complexity to meet the range of learning needs in my class.  When I reflect on this slice, I realize that I did not want to be coached in this moment. I just wanted an answer.

As a coach, I want to remember this moment. Do I listen closely enough to know when someone wants me to actively listen versus an answer? Do I give information when asked or do I redirect? Is it wrong to just give an answer?  I worry that sometimes, as a coach, I may fall into the trap of not wanting to provide a direct answer. In my effort to respect a teacher’s voice, do I frustrate? How do I balance supporting and empowering in my coaching?

The author Tammy ultimately, after a lot of pleading on my part, suggested to me, was Tomie dePaola. He is an author we both love and continues to be a tried and true!

Here are some of our favorites:

Cookies Week


Strega Nona


The Art Lesson


Pancakes for Breakfast


26 Fairmount Avenue


Oliver Button is a Sissy



I am so grateful Tammy gave me the information I needed.  I love Tomie dePaola’s books and I learned an important lesson about listening, truly listening, to what someone is asking for.


  • Avatar
    Linda Baie
    Posted at 15:11h, 16 June Reply

    And I guess I might answer “it depends”. If a student (or teacher) keeps wanting to be told, I think there’s another problem, perhaps of self-confidence, wanting NOT to fail, but if it’s just once in a while, & the teacher or student seems just stuck (maybe too much else is having priorities in their lives?), I think I would give an answer. So-I didn’t really answer either, did I? It depends!

  • Avatar
    Michele Knott
    Posted at 15:14h, 16 June Reply

    Isn’t it funny how everyone has that need to reflect 🙂 How quick we are to have students reflect but rarely do we take the time to do it ourselves – definitely guilty of that myself!

  • Avatar
    Posted at 22:02h, 16 June Reply

    Strega Nona – love that book! Memories like this, though they make us cringe, help push us ever forward, don’t they?Perhaps that’s because they make us cringe?!

  • Avatar
    Julie Johnson
    Posted at 01:40h, 17 June Reply

    Such a great reflection. As I finish my first year of coaching, I look back and wonder how many times I did the right thing. Will I look back and cringe on some of my coaching moments like I do my first year of teaching? Coaching is an art.

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