“My advice is to go after what really interests you,” Aya, a UW student says to a group of Team Read coaches over Zoom. Aya spent several years as a coach herself, and earlier this month organized and facilitated an alumni workshop where current coaches could hear from graduates about their post-high school experiences.

This workshop was just one of many offered throughout the year. Workshops cover a variety of topics, and coaches have an opportunity to choose sessions that are relevant to the challenges they face in their work or inspire them to think about their next steps in life. During these workshops, coaches reflect, take deep dives into interesting topics, and learn from experts as well as their peers. Two workshops are offered each month, and coaches can elect two workshops per semester to take as paid time. “It really pays to invest in our coaches by offering paid workshop time, in both the short and long run,” says Seattle project coordinator Jeanette Eisenberg. “They’re developing tools they can apply to tutoring, and learning skills that will help them to become impactful citizens later on.”

In a well-attended recent workshop about behavior management, coaches learned techniques they can employ when their reader is having trouble focusing or having behavioral challenges. 85% of attendees reported leaving with a better understanding of how to support their reader, with one coach stating that they appreciated the stories, pro tips, and use of Zoom tech, and another reflecting “Sometimes I want to be as nice as possible to my reader, so I hesitate to be firm. I feel as though after this session I am better prepared to do so.”

Other workshop topics this year have included working with English language learners, using Zoom technology to enhance virtual sessions, and using word games to increase engagement. Coaches are looking forward to upcoming workshops on the dos and don’ts of coaching strategy, college applications and financial aid, and financial literacy. Towards the end of the school year, coaches have the opportunity to participate in the always popular career workshop, where Team Read alum will give our current coaches a look at a day in the life in their established career.

“I really like this new model of workshops where we can choose which topics we are interested in! I found workshops, such as college prep, really useful,” remarked one coach.

Team Read is proud to work with our alum and the greater community to continue offering these professional development opportunities to our coaches. It’s our goal that they’ll gain knowledge that will help them both personally and professionally in the years to come.