I am a firm believer that coaching happens in multiple contexts, in multiple ways and takes many forms. And since my coaching has shifted online in recent months, I’ve been paying particular attention on how to coach and lead digitally and remotely. While I’ve explored the obvious, like virtual professional learning sessions and coaching cycles, I’ve been incredibly interested in the little things that can go a long way….and the email signature is one of them.

An email signature is a block of text that is automatically inserted at the end of every email you send. In most typical email signatures, you’ll find a name, email address, pertinent contact information and a website when readers can learn more. I’ve been paying careful attention to these signatures lately and have realized they can be an important coaching tool. I mean, we all read and answer email and see the signature on a daily basis. What if we used it to our advantage and updated it often to introduce teachers to new ideas and resources? I know! There is such potential and possibility.

Here are some of the ways I have used, and am planning to use, my email signature as a helpful coaching tool:

  • Share what I am currently reading: Add the title of the book yourself manually to your signature or you can link your Goodreads accounts to your email address so it updates automatically, like I do.
  • Share what I am currently writing: This is newer for me, but I think it is essential. We are also used to sharing our reading lives, but what about our writing lives?
  • Share a new website: Add a helpful website to your email for teachers to access. Rotate the resource each week so they can count on getting great new resources from your emails (this means they will open them faster, too!).
  • Ask a question: Ask a question of the week for teachers to consider. These could be big questions about their instruction or small questions about their daily lives. Even if they do not respond, they might take a moment of calm reflection to refuel after reading it.
  • Offer a challenge: Invite teachers to try something new with you: find ten minutes to read, smile at a stranger, tell one student why you love being his/her teachers, etc.
  • Share professional reading: Link a helpful blog post, article, podcast or YouTube video in your signature to connect teachers to ideas and inspiration to ponder.
  • Offer a writing prompt: Encourage teachers to fill the pages of their notebooks by providing a writing prompt, an image or a link to an article sure to get their pencil moving across the page.

These are just a few ideas, but I know there are more and I’m committed to thinking about how we can take regular old everyday tools and use them as another form of coaching. What ideas do you have for sparking learning through your email signature? Share them below!

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