This week we learned the importance of self-care for ICs; why instructional coaches need to coach for independence, not dependence; some practical advice for modeling that are helpful for both teachers and coaches; and more. Enjoy! 😀
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Self-Care for Instructional Coaches
Stephanie Affinito suggests that coaches find ways to care for themselves—even self-indulge at times—to better support their professional and personal well-being.
"As coaches, we are constantly looking out for our teachers AND their students. Add a busy family life on top of a busy school life and you can have a potentially exhausted and overwhelmed leader. . . . Self-care, on the other hand, are those practices that actually help us change our current reality or at least better cope with, rather than escape, it. You know, things like taking deep breaths, eating well, tinkering with our daily schedule to give us breathing room, exercising and enjoying small moments. These actions can change the way we feel and act in our actual lives, rather than removing ourselves from them and hoping things will magically change."
Vicki Collet explains why ICs need to coach for interdependence, not dependence, and how questioning techniques can support independent thinking.
"There's a tipping point in a coaching cycle when responsibility shifts from coach to teacher. . . . When a teacher comes to you requesting answers, it can be tempting to give them. After all, you were hired to be a coach because of your experience and expertise. But imparting your wisdom may not provide the most powerful learning opportunity for a teacher. Helping her draw from her own well of knowledge and experience encourages self-reliance and sustainable, self-directed learning and problem-solving."
Level Up as a Coach
Elena Aguilar overviews her 5-step "POWER" framework that helps her plan, observe, and reflect with teachers, rather than just provide solutions for them.
"As a classroom teacher, I know full well that during the class period, the teacher shouldn't be working harder than the students. And in coaching, I operate with the same ethos: I need teachers to be arbiters of their own learning. For both contexts, the power comes in the planning, the moves we make to observe ourselves and step back and let the learners learn, the reflection we do at the end so we can prepare for the next session. And I'm a framework person."
Instructional Strategy: Modeling
Steve Barkley shares some advice on modeling that are helpful for both teachers and instructional coaches.
"Modeling is a natural teaching process which we all experienced in those early lessons of learning to tie a shoe, setting the table the way mom wanted it set, or safely cutting an apple with a knife. Modeling provides the learner with a picture of the successful outcome as well as the process leading to success. . . . Lots of coaching time can be invested in modeling. What needs to be in place for that practice to impact teacher and eventually student learning?"
Coaching, Fear, and the High School Teacher
Sharon Thomas talks about the stereotype of high school teachers being more resistant to coaching compared to other grade levels and how relationships built on trust can help overcome coaching reluctance.
"People respond to pressure and fear in all kinds of ways. If one is willing to respond empathetically with teachers who uses tears to express those emotions, then one should also be willing to support teachers who vocalize sarcastic and blunt statements to cope. Teachers are all worthy of the same level of respect, empathy, and engagement in professional learning."
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