Teacher Feature Blog Series – Catherine Coyle


We all remember a teacher who inspired us. An individual who has always believed in us, supported us through challenges, sparked our passion for a topic, or inspired us to keep going when we were discouraged. For me, I was fortunate enough to have many teachers who shaped my academic career and passion for education. In addition to being teachers, these individuals served as mentors, nurses, counselors, parents, friends, and ultimately, role models.

Teacher Feature, a new blog series by The School Planner Company, will highlight educators from all over the country. These teachers and education entrepreneurs make an impact in and outside of the classroom sharing valuable knowledge with students and fellow teachers through influential sites and blogs. We are excited to launch the Teacher Feature blog series and bring awareness to how much teachers do each day, the relationships they foster with their students, and ultimately, how we as a community can best support them. Look forward to new teacher features regularly!

If you know an amazing educator who you think we should feature, please let us know by emailing bmctigue@mimeo.com.

Catherine Coyle, Classroom Creations LLC

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new teacher?

Don’t be afraid to try something new! In fact, try out as many of your ideas as you can. Something I love about teaching is that it is flexible. You have the ability to create and implement new routines and ideas into your classroom. If something doesn’t work the way you think it will- NO BIG DEAL! Scratch it and start new tomorrow. You are in control!.

Why do you feel paper planners are beneficial for students?

Paper planners are beneficial to students because it adds a sense of ownership and accountability. It tasks  them with writing down homework, assignments, and reminders. In addition, it’s a great tool to parents informed. My students’ parents and I often communicate through their planners.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to a new teacher?

It’s no secret you’ve got hard days ahead of you. Take some time each day to focus on the little glimmers in each day instead. A student wrote one more sentence today than they could yesterday? Celebrate it! The student you’ve been working on social skills with smiled at another classmate? Happy dance! When the stress gets to be too much, take a step back and have fun with your students.

What is one fun way you have motivated your students?

One fun way I motivate students is through our sticker store in the classroom. I purchased large waterproof stickers and display them in a pocket chart. Students can choose their own sticker by earning them through various tasks like completing a reading log, winning classroom games, and good behavior. I love to see their stickers proudly displayed on their pencil boxes, planners, and water bottles.

Any creative tips for helping a student get into a routine of writing in a planner?

Make it a routine on Monday! Project or display a large copy of their planner for the whole class to see. Model writing down assignments, important reminders, spelling words, etc. Make it an assignment for morning work or bell ringers.

If you could design your ideal teacher planner, what three things would you be sure it includes? 

My ideal teacher planner would have a daily ‘To Do list’ section, as well as a weekly ‘To Do list’ section! I have so many lists it’s hard to keep them organized. It would also be amazing if there was a section to write down student birthdays so that I can see them at the beginning of the week.