August 2020 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

2020-08 August Must Reads header.min

Welcome back! The 2020-21 school year may look a little different and we want to wish everyone a safe and successful one. To help you get ready, we went through August's Weekly Coaching Roundups and pulled out some of the most relevant for the start of this year: learn the value of using shared language to define the role of an IC, why a team approach to distance learning is key, a few tips for taking control of your classroom virtually, and more. Enjoy!

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Defining Coaching: a Tool for Busting the "Unicorn" Myth

Joseph Kanke makes the case for using shared language to define and explain your role as a coach to your colleagues, and to support coach growth at the organization level.

"As educators, we should all be engaged in continuous improvement. To make coaching workable and sustainable, there needs to be a shared definition of coaching which everyone can reference. . . . A practice profile is not intended to be used in an evaluative manner for individual coaches, but rather to inform a comprehensive coaching system that supports individual coaches. It is a way to operationalize coaching in the field, making sure it is teachable, learnable, and doable. As a result, the tool lends itself to informing coaching practice, selecting, training, and coaching coaches."

Remote Coaching Cycles

Kathy Perret breaks down remote coaching cycles and why sharing a "we're in this together" mindset between a teacher and coach is key.

"The role of an instructional coach is often misunderstood. The more we work together with teachers, the more they will come to understand the role and that your main focus is them (and their students). I see co-planning possibly taking a more substantial role within coaching cycles this year. Teaching remotely, using a hybrid model, or even face-to-face teaching will look and feel different. Both teachers and instructional coaches are going to need to learn together, plan together, and implement together."

Mastering Live and Recorded Virtual Lessons

Blake Harvard overviews five evidence-based principles for refining the effectiveness of your instructional videos.

"When designing instruction in my classroom, I try to incorporate strategies having research supporting the effectiveness of the strategy. It just makes sense to me that I want to teach my students using methods that support student learning in an efficient and effective manner."

How to Improve Remote Learning Experiences

Eileen Belastock believes a team approach and starting with what you know are key components of distance learning.

"Educators and support professionals collaborate, share data and support students on an ongoing basis through department, grade-level and team meetings. These invaluable opportunities result in increased attendance, reduced numbers of discipline issues, improved academic performance and better identification of high-risk students. . . . It is important to keep three things in mind: Take time to reflect on the experiences gained, the skills learned and the more robust relationships with colleagues, students and parents."

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Adapting to Coaching Changes by Working with Ego

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused educators to abruptly change their routines and practices to meet the shift to distance learning. 💻 Fiona Hurtado reflects on what she's learned during the pandemic and how it's shaping her approach to coaching moving forward.

"I was one of the few that was able to return to school before the end of the academic year, but it was not a return to business as usual. Curriculum was adjusted to match new timelines and learning environments and daily changes in district guidelines meant constant planning meetings. Coaching interactions remained "lite" for the majority of the teachers I worked with, even once I was back in the building. What I strived for—deep coaching cycles—was not what teachers wanted! . . . This is when I realized that I needed to find a way to let go or work with my ego, rather than steadfastly holding on to it."

Content Coaching Cycles

Stephanie Affinito encourages ICs to use "blog hops" to connect and collaborate with teachers.

"A content coaching cycle follows the same sequence of a classroom coaching cycle with just a few tweaks. We still have initial conversations around the shared vision for our work together and end the cycle with reflective discussions around what we learned and what might come next. The difference? Rather than work together in the classroom with students, we collaborate around content in new and different ways, from individual book studies, creating instructional resources, reflecting on videos of classroom instruction, watching webinars and replays and more."

Being a Classroom Management Pro

Christine Weis relays a few tips for taking control of your classroom virtually.

"So now that we may not be physically in the classroom, what expectations do we need to teach in our virtual classroom? First, you showed your students where to find what they need in the virtual space (LMS), now you'll show them how and what you expect of them."

The Power of Instagram

Social media can be a lot of fun, but it's also a great way to grow and develop professionally. Nita Creekmore shares how she uses Instagram to support her roleas an instructional coach and why she got started.

"Three years ago, I became an instructional coach and I captured my transition from classroom teacher to coach right on my Instagram page. I soon realized that fellow coaches on Instagram were eager to share their resources and tips, allowing me to learn some of the tricks of the trade from coaches in the field. . . . I could connect with them for help with specific issues I was facing and they also provided a virtual shoulder to lean on for support."

Bonus: Preparing for a New and Different School Year

If you missed August's Weekly Coaching Roundup topic, here's your chance to learn how your peers are leveraging relationships to start the 2020-21 school year, top tips from ICs on school year preparation, a few pitfalls coaches should avoid, and much more.

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Topics: Must Reads, Coaching Cycles, Classroom Management, Ego-Envy Effect, Virtual Coaching, Remote Coaching, Instagram, Practice Profiles

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