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Coaching Playbook: When Education is Disrupted, Optimize Learning via Engagement

00-Coaching Playbook-EDU 101- Survival Skills When Parents Become Teachers Because of COVID-19 School Closures


Your school has shut down, you are expected to ensure your student(s)’ learn ….online, but it is hard to get your student(s) to focus and concentrate without their usual support system, what can you do? A LOT!

What to Expect from this Series

I am changing the audience of my coaching playbook, a collection of tools I offer my clients. As a friend pointed out these articles are more so for parents to coach their student(s), see the updated color code, noting Purple cards are for students and offer a variety of content resources to explore.

Disclaimer: This Series does not warrant any legal, financial, nor investment advice. These resources are offered for educational purposes only. I do link to other sites that may contain words that are not used in your home or school. The elements of the series that I write will be free of profanity. I do not personally collect any personal data from you, if that changes, I will properly disclose those terms of service. I am a strong data privacy advocate and frequently research and write on the intersection of Data Privacy and Education as both a consultant and an MLAW student.

The activities in this Medium Series are resources for your family to keep on top of your game and leverage strengths while all educational pursuits are disrupted. You are about to embark on an exciting journey, one that many students have yet to encounter. However, whatever your situation, I assure you, you can use this time to

(1) Refine skills (Pink)

(2) Rejuvenate minds (Yellow)

(3) Discover strengths (Green)

(4) Engage Student(s)/Families (Blue)

(5) Student Activity Content (Purple)

How do I know this? I am a former educator and I had a very difficult time learning for a variety of reasons. I will state that I graduated summa cum laude in 2002, so you understand that I have the skill set to be of assistance. [1] But this series is not about me. It is about you, the student, a valid stakeholder in your own education. [2] I do have a master’s of education and am also an MLAW student. I am studying Education Law, with an emphasis on Data Privacy & Cyber Law as noted above. [1]

My goal is simple:

I seek to empower all students and parents to love learning. However, learning has transcended the traditional ‘assembly-line’ of instruction. We have entered the information age and beyond. We have moved beyond the norms to engage, educate, optimize, connect, inspire, and advocate.

Contact Me, DM’s are Open!

My DM’s are open and you may contact me any time. I use Twitter, Email, & Telegram. You may follow me on Twitter, but I do want to warn you, my Twitter is opinionated and I do have clients for marketing and PR, I do not advertise per se, but if there is a material connection that disclosure is found here, [3] Twitter | Email | Telegram

Coach and Consultant

I am happy to consult with you and assist students of all ages. Donations are appreciated, but not necessary. I will add a link later. N.b. (latin for note well) all families are struggling during this time, either economically, socio-emotionally, physically, or cognitively. I simply want to help as many students/families as possible to use this time, not to perseverate on the state of affairs that our society’s lack of metacognition has put us in, but rather to be the leaders that learn and solve these problems in creative and symbiotic ways in the future. That said, we (educators/parents) can only inspire students, if we teach students to think for themselves. This can be a difficult skill for educators in any school to teach. There are a myriad of political reasons for this difficulty. I do not have these issues as I am not affiliated with a school. I work with parents & students. I educate teachers, policy makers, and other stakeholders on the state of education including my analysis of potential technology solutions rooted in my 25 years within the field both in and out of the classroom. I have termed this, ‘Education Reform Simply Speaking.’ Below is one a key resource that demonstrates what happens when we remove engagement or play from schools. To quote Mr. Keil,

“The opposite of play is not work…it is depression.”

Education Reform Simply Speaking Boils Down to the Fish Philosophy: PLAY [17]

I hope to lobby formally for comprehensive anti-bullying legislation for all students in the near future. The laws that exist cover some students, but not all. My entire goal is to inspire the love of learning that I have developed throughout my childhood. If I include something on my political views that is overt, I will tag that in red. However, my political views are moderate and bipartisan. I do not align with any party. I proudly have voted for candidates on both sides of the aisle for years, was raised in a very conservative home, and door dropped for many conservative politicians in Wisconsin in the 80’s and 90’s.

N.b. It makes no difference if you love politics or despise it. Mis-information is fueling issues that have never been encountered prior. Let’s stop this through Education.

I want to hear both sides and inspire everyone to search for same. If I wanted a fantasy, I would read a favorite book from children’s lit, Harry Potter.

Resources: I am a Voracious Researcher, I Consume Information & Data Like Most Consume…Life?

This series is jam packed full of my favorite resources. Here are my caveats.

(1) I will always attempt to give both sides of the story.

(2) I am not an affiliate of any of these sources. If that status changes, I will properly disclose that here,

(3) The majority of these resources are free. If they are not, I will clearly mark that. and contact the company asking if there is an option of providing you a free copy. Though I cannot commit they will do this.

(4) My resources consulted, will lead to even more information.

(5) My views are dynamic in that they can change with more data, please respect that.

(6) I am creating this alone, so it may have a few issues. I am opening up my coaching, a highly individualized practice, to all. Please be patient if there are times that I do not respond as quickly as I should. I have a fiduciary duty to clients.

I love learning, and I want you to love it too. The learning I love is not ‘teach to the test.’ It is ‘Project-Based Learning’ fueled by investigation. I do not teach you the topics, I facilitate your process. I am a Vygotskyian. [4]

Lev Vygotsky author of Thought and Language, is a social cognitive theorist. He believed that teachers need to be on the sidelines as a coach. Id. See also, [5]

“A word devoid of thought is a dead thing, and a thought unembodied in words remains a shadow…“By giving our students practice in talking with others, we give them frames for thinking on their own.” Id.

“The teacher must adopt the role of facilitator not content provider.” Id.

Coaching v. Teaching: A Short Description of Academic Super Powers

Why Me?

I have spent my entire career, and I am old, engaging and advocating for technology adoption.[7] I feel that via assistive technology we can overcome the constraints of antiquated learning methodologies and become genuine collaborators. [8] I have taught, parented, and been parented in this manner. [9] My daughter and I research and learn together. It is our passion. Her father and I are divorced. When she is with me, I coach to optimize her general academic skills though her passions. For example, on Instagram, when she becomes upset about a post against animal welfare, I assist her in finding the pertinent section of the Code of Federal Regulations, fact check, and summarize. [10] I encourage her and all of my clients to write (a lot) as writing enhances metacognition. (Thinking about thinking) I highlight proper research skills, AKA fact checking with my daughter. I have since she was very young. I think she began footnoting in Kindergarten. I cringe a bit when she states,

“My teacher will only let me use Wikipedia.”

Do not get me wrong, Wikipedia is a good start, but I encourage her to go beyond. She and I also have a podcast where we discuss and explore the topics she has learned about. I needed a way to break the cycle, “So what did you learn this week?…Nothing.” Our podcasts are very “The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash.” [16] We only record these when she is here. It is difficult to do so when she is not. Due to circumstances, it may be awhile. [11]

This episode was recorded in February 14. The stories are from that time and may be out of data.

Balance: Embrace the Opposition

My views are open, eclectic, and creative. I call my core beliefs: Education Reform Simply Speaking. As noted above. [12] I feel that the issues with education today, are rooted in education’s complexity, but it does not need to be complex. I have spent the last 25 years learning and connecting with the best resources. I hope that this list is helpful. Id.

I believe in all types of education, from public to private and everything in between. My only concern is for the fiduciary duty and mandated need(s) to follow standards that surround. I believe that high stakes testing is detrimental to student success. I ground my statements in research and data. In short, these tests produce anxiety, and are measured in inappropriate ways, which negate the ultimate results. It is difficult to learn when stressed. This will be discussed later. I do not expect anyone to agree with me. That is the beauty of freedom. We are all free to believe what we choose. I enjoy constructive debate, and love to challenge my thought processes. I hope this inspires your love of learning, inquiry, and assist you to question information to do same.

We must reform Education now before we destroy the intrinsic desire to learn. [15] *I am not funded nor accredited by any school district. Therefore, I have the freedom to coach and educate in the manner in which Education was created. I serve as an adjunct to teachers, and an advocate for students and parents. I previously was licensed in the state of WI.[13]

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Resources Consulted






[6] Warning- may be taken as political, it was not intended to be-











[17]; see also



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Jenny Balliet

Jenny Balliet

Frmr. Dir. of Presentations, Athena.Trade | E Media Group | Educator|ADD/ADHD Coach |M.Ed. |Writer | MLAW |Founder of MinED & Lula & CO|Mom (14yo Gmer./Writer)