Celebrating Teachers Who Grow

A Global Family

I specialise in working with teachers as these are the professionals I reIate to the best, understand the fullest, and care for the most. I help teachers who are stuck in their practice, seeking a change in their career path, or struggling to maintain their own wellbeing in a profession increasing under pressure.  

Throughout my career I have been a Teacher-Coach, school Principal, a teacher-educator and an education-policy advisor, but I have always returned to the classroom. I have taught in New Zealand, Indonesia, Japan and Germany. 

Teachers, throughout the globe, are my kin. Helping them grow is my privilege.

Having committed twenty-five years to the field of education, my admiration for teachers will never be dampened. Teaching is a human-service industry - a profession requiring intelligence, skill, emotional agility, strength and abounding energy. The challenges we teachers face on daily basis include the practical limitations of bureaucratic decisions, constant changes in technological demands, and increasing social pressures and expectations.  These annoyances create such stress and lower teacher passion because they restrict our ability to have impact - that is, they distract from our raison d'être. The reason why teachers do what they do is to impact the lives of others. When we know we can't do this to our fullest potential, it eats away at our passion, our confidence and our happiness. 

My teacher clients come with a range of questions which our coaching sessions explore. Some are struggling with the increased pressures of emotional and behavioural challenges within the classroom, and the effect this has on their teaching impact. Others are questioning their commitment to the profession, and are looking to explore options and possibilities both within and outside of education. Some teachers have experienced the impact of the past few years on their relationships and their families, and they are trying to work through what a new normal looks like for them. And others simply want change - they know something needs to shift, but they are not sure how to start.

Coaching is the perfect way to explore these questions, clarify your direction and build a plan to grow. 

Covid 19, as it did for many, brought me new perspective on my life and my career goals. I experienced first-hand the sudden challenges faced by classroom teachers, and moved my classroom online, then into a hybrid model and then back to the not-yet-normal world of masks and distancing. I watched my students and my colleagues search for ways to cope with anxiety, constant change and the personal life questions living in a pandemic raised for us all. It made me challenge my own career path, and I sought support from a Coach to help me work through my inner struggles. She helped me uncover a gift I had never before thought to utilise - my ability to listen and use curious questioning to support others' growth. I began to study coaching professionally, and found the skills and techniques I learned were enhanced by my years as a teacher, giving me the ability to lead others through their own learning journeys in a way that is empowering and endurable. I now have a new goal in life: to bring joy to other teachers. My mission is to help teachers move through whatever obstacles might stand in their way, on whatever pathway they wish to travel.  My vision: happy, healthy teachers growing in happy, healthy schools. 

 

   

 

Teachers Who Grow

Asri Mills

Teacher: Economics & Business Studies

Surabaya, Indonesia

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Meet Asri:

Giovani Widyanti Asriningtyas, or Asri, is a teacher that primarily focuses on IGCSE Business Studies and Economics for years 9 and 10. She started teaching in a formal school in July 2018, where she gained additional teaching experience in Humanities. When the pandemic began, the school was just starting to prepare for its accreditation, and she took on responsibility for five subjects over three grade levels. The work she had to do for these two years took her to a point where she lost her confidence. She began to feel like she was losing her passion as a teacher. This was when she was introduced to Justine Hitchcock as her coach. 

 

Asri has now moved to a different school where she can focus entirely on the subjects she loves. Her sessions with Justine brought her returned her to a high level of confidence in her teaching and in other areas of her life. She is now pursuing her career in the Economics & Business Studies department in one of the prestigious schools in Surabaya, East Java.  

 

 

Testimonial:

Having Justine as my coach for several months has helped me develop my way of thinking or the way I see problems. When I was in a difficult situation, my mind was clouded, and I could not think clearly, and Justine was there to redirect my thoughts. She helped me focus when I had to make difficult decisions. What I appreciate the most from Justine is that she never makes judgmental statements about you and always tries to understand your situation by ensuring a mutual understanding in every session. 

 

Justine also provided me with complete guidance on my goals. She helped me reach my full potential because she gave me space to reflect so I could build confidence again, achieve my objectives and find capabilities within myself. Justine also recognised my strengths and challenged me with her questions so I could move forward and not just dwell on my problems. That is what makes her an excellent coach. 

 

Thank you, Justine, for your being there as my coach. I will always be eternally grateful for your existence. 

Jen Sutherland

Teacher-in-Transistion

Zurich, Switzerland

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Jen's story.... (so far...)

For 16 years I had the opportunity to work in Title 1 and small private schools in the US, as well as a variety of international schools around the world. I've always loved working with children, and so it made sense for me to become a teacher. I became team lead, hosted workshops, presented at conferences, and dove fully into learning best practices for my students. However, I began to learn that there wasn't much more forward mobility for a teacher unless they moved into administration, something that never interested me. I recognised that even though pedagogy and curriculum seemed to ride an ever changing roller coaster, I wasn't feeling like I was growing and being fulfilled by what I thought was a lifelong passion. I had noticed myself starting to feel a little lost. On top of that, a pandemic hit and I began to have anxieties like I never did before. Talking to my family and friends helped me feel better, but they didn't have that outside perspective I needed. 

 

Taking a year off, which has now turned into two, has been the best thing I could have done for myself and my students. With Justine's guidance, I've opened myself up to any possibility that lies ahead. I decided to do some tutoring over the year in order to earn a little extra cash, and through that I've realized that I do still have a passion for working with children. I had the opportunity to substitute teach in a middle school learning support class, something I never thought I would have done, and learned that I really love working with middle school aged students. I've also started looking into corporate training opportunities, because that possibility sounds interesting as well. Did I mention I also started studying German, learned how to throw clay on a wheel, and have become a pretty good cook? And although I don't know exactly what I may be doing in the future, I am absolutely okay with that. I am loving trying the new things I never had the time, energy, and opportunity to while teaching. 

 

 

Testimonial:

Justine has helped me more than I honestly could have thought possible. She listens without judgement in a relaxed and comforting manner. What I appreciate most though is the way Justine is my sounding board, helping me to make sense of my thoughts and recognise repeated language Justine has helped me to see the patterns in my actions, and even in the words I use that have been holding me back, some things I had not even recognised myself. I’ve made some pretty big life changes this year. Justine has helped me navigate through all this turmoil. It hasn’t been easy, and I’m still on quite a journey, but I am feeling better than I have in years.

If you're a little nervous about the idea of coaching, as I was, do not hesitate making an appointment with Justine. If you’ve been feeling a bit stuck, a bit lost, or even unmotivated, I highly recommend you email her. The initial contact is the hardest, but I assure you, this woman is an absolute bad ass.

Kyle Shahan

Grade 4 Teacher,

Düsseldorf, Germany

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Kyle's Challenge:

My name is Kyle Shahan and I've been teaching in upper elementary for 20 years in the States, Japan, and now Germany. My professional interests over this time have expanded to include Making, Mindfulness, and Outdoor Education as ways to increase happiness and also improve learning outcomes.  Working in the Outdoor Learning Environment has made me highly sensitive to our treatment of the earth and specifically how we sort and dispose of our waste at school. The trash-strewn playground, irresponsible habits and systems inside the building, and the indifference of both adults and children was a burden upon me. Worse, my first attempts at change were ineffective, and this only generated more frustration, anger, alienation, and despair.  I knew I needed help. 

 

Testimonial:

In just a few sessions, I made lots of progress that I could never have done on my own. For example, Justine helped me visualise the outcome that I desired, make specific attainable goals, and set deadlines to get there. We focused on bite-sized and concrete actions that helped me move forward, and followed up on these in our two-week check-ins. Justine is an amazing listener and questioner. She asked pin-point questions that made me deeply reflect and also deeply reason through my concerns.  Soon I could feel all those weighty and tangled emotions loosen and actually change into motivation, hope, and optimism. Working with Justine gave me a deeper understanding I really want to make change with people, not just change people. This shift in thought helped me approach challenges with curiosity rather than judgement, I was able to relax and talk more easily with people, find win-win solutions, and discover unexpected allies. 

Looking forward, I am eager to continue the improvements I've made at school with teachers, students, and leadership until we are truly a climate responsible school.  I am more confident that I can influence people and situations positively, and make changes more effectively.  Thank you, Justine!

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