Heather Rader's motto for life is "stay curious." In Side By Side, she explores one of her greatest curiosities: What does change look like in schools when it is a true collaboration between teachers and their mentors? Heather takes you into classrooms where she works as a literacy coach and guide, presenting challenges from two perspectives - the teacher's and the coach's. Because Heather lives in both worlds, respect abounds in these classroom vignettes. With humor and compassion, she demonstrates there is an alternative to inflexible mandates and curriculum implemented in a rush. Relationships between teachers and school leaders based on trust, open communication, and analysis of real students at work lead to achievement that endures. These relationships also take time to build, with many creative compromises along the way.
Side By Side is organized as a series of matched essays on specific themes. Teachers and literacy specialists or coaches might use the pieces in study groups and team meetings to discuss everything from integrating writing into science programs, to dealing with sarcastic colleagues. The brief essays are also an ideal length for reading aloud in professional development sessions.