January 2020 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

Must reads header - January 2020

Happy New Year! 🎆 We're starting 2020 out strong with the top articles from January's weekly coaching roundups. Learn how you can publicize and promote your role as a coach, a few ways principals can support instructional coaches, some elements of professional learning that provoke teachers to embrace learning, and more! 

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PRing Your Coaching Role

Brandy Alexander shares four ways to publicize and promote your coaching role—a must for any coach working in a less-than-perfect coaching environment.

"Being an instructional coach, or a part of a campus or district leadership team, should come with pride. Sometimes we put that aside so that we come across humble or meek with our teams. But take a minute (often!) to remember the hard work you do and find time to get together with the other coaches—you can also consider getting some coaching shirts to PR your specialized roles. . . . By being transparent, accessible, proud, and bold I know that you will be taking the best next step in your coaching role."

The Easiest Way to Triple the Impact of Coaching: Principal Support

Jim Knight identifies seven ways principals can support instructional coaches based on his extensive experience working with organizations over the years.

"Instructional coaching will be most successful in schools where there is widespread trust and transparency. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. In settings where teachers do not feel psychologically safe, they will not be forthcoming with their thoughts and concerns if they feel their conversations with their coach are not confidential. What is most important with regard to confidentiality is that principal and coach clarify what they will and will not talk about, and that the principal clearly communicates that agreement to everyone involved."

Self-Care for Teachers

Adam Drummond explains how teacher well-being is not only beneficial for them but also their students.

"Self-care for teachers matters because unhealthy educators can’t help students. . . . Remember, your goal is to be a better person today than yesterday. When you are well, you can be the educator with shoulders up and face smiling—and being the change so many of our students need."

3 Ways to Build a Culture of Collaboration

Lauren Smith shares how collaboration built on ongoing relationships, learning, and feedback helps improve student and adult achievement within an organization.

"Each member of the community plays a crucial role in upholding the school's shared beliefs and values on a daily basis. The culture thrives on collective teacher efficacy, with the shared belief that all staff members can—and will—make a difference to student learning. As a result, there's a sense of collective strength and unity toward improvement with plentiful opportunities for ongoing learning and growing."

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Design Your Coaching Life

New year, new you! Stephanie Affinito challenges coaches to find ways to improve their current organization and management skills to kick-start the new year.

"Most instructional coaches have the honor of working with multiple classrooms, districts and even schools to support instruction and learning. We meet diverse educators, collaborate across multiple grade levels and content areas, plan professional development for a range of teachers and learning goals and create personalized coaching cycles throughout the year. . . . The success of coaching depends on the success of our organization and management skills, but it can be HARD to juggle so many tasks and tools as we move about our days, let alone adding a busy family life on top of that. The power of design gives us the power to take back control over how and what we fill our days with."

Ways to Improve Your Coaching Practice

Diana Benner reflects on 10 things she wishes she knew during her career as an instructional technology coach.

"Instructional coaching is an incredibly rewarding career, and each day can be filled with both excitement and challenges. . . . It is very important to build on the positive. This will encourage teachers. Notice what is going well, share it, and then build on it."

Supporting Instructional Coaching

Dennis Sparks shares a few actions principals can take to help encourage the success of their building's instructional coaching efforts.

"Instructional coaching has the potential to dramatically improve teaching practice and consequently student learning. But in most cases, a coach's success is directly connected to how effectively she or he is supported (or not supported) by his or her principal. . . . The easiest way to increase a coach's effectiveness is to let the coach coach."

Should We Forget About Goals and Just Focus on Habits?

Jim Knight identifies four elements of professional learning that, when used together, help provoke teachers to embrace learning.

"Habits, goals, learning, and beliefs can be all part of professional learning. Growth isn't just about goals any more than it is just about beliefs. What is most important for coaches to consider is that when they partner with teachers in ways that address all four elements of professional learning, there is a better chance that teachers will embrace learning. And when teachers learn, students have more opportunities to learn, too."

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Topics: Instructional Leadership, TeachBoost, Must Reads, Coaching Relationships, Building Relationships, Collaboration, Principal and Coach, Culture of Coaching, First Year Coaching Tips, Coaching PD

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