Welcome back to TeachBoost’s Coaching Roundup! Embarking on the journey of instructional coaching can be both exciting and nerve-racking, and may even have you asking yourself: “now what do I do?” Read below to learn from fellow coaches on how they transitioned into their role and some tips they’ve learned along the way. 👍
Maggie Colicchio dives into her transition from being coached as a teacher to becoming an instructional coach herself.
"Many districts and schools do not define what they expect from instructional coaches. Coaches go into their jobs completely blind, and are often given roles and responsibilities that are not related to coaching. . . . The best way to combat this issue? Partnerships.
The role of a coach starts by establishing trust, expectations, and boundaries—first with your principal, then with the rest of your coachees."
Lily Jones relays advice from five instructional coaches on how to successfully kick-start your coaching career.
"Though you may be stepping into a new position, you have a wealth of experience to draw from. . . .
You are still a teacher. The only thing that's changed is that now you are teaching teachers instead of students. The same strategies and approaches you used with students can be helpful when working with teachers. As with classroom teaching, it's important to try ideas, gather feedback, and adjust your approach as needed. It's a constant learning process!"
Joy DeFors says that relationships are the linchpin to building trust and offers some tips on how to do that as a new coach.
"Just like any relationship in life,
the partnership between instructional coach and classroom teacher takes work. Deliberate and considerate attention to relationship building strengthens rapport between coaches and teachers, ultimately leading to a greater impact on student learning and achievement."
Megan Purcell reflects on five things she learned from her time spent coaching. Heads up: Lots of really great insights here!
"Teaching can be lonely, but what I have come to learn is that instructional coaching is even lonelier. . . .
As an instructional coach, you need a support system. While the job may start out great and you’re getting along just fine on your own, there will come a day when your patience is tested and your bucket is full. In these moments, you need a cheerleader and supporter of your own.
Building your professional learning network and filling it with other instructional coaches is critical to your growth and sanity in this job."
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Lori Donatelli shares her answer to a common question for ICs and how she describes all the things she does as a coach every day.
"The coaching cycle is a structured procedure in which a teacher works with a coach to set a goal they have for their classroom. . . .
EVERY single teacher, even the absolute best, can benefit from coaching! Do pro athletes still go to practice? Yup. And who do they see when they get there? Coaches."
Brandy Alexander offers four ways you can publicize and promote your coaching role—a must for any new coach.
"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."
Joseph Kanke provides a few ways that ICs can introduce themselves to peers in order to build long-lasting partnerships.
"As a coach, the more seeds you can plant around your role and how you see yourself positively impacting the work already being done, the higher the yield of trust and buy-in you'll achieve. . . .
The support of building leadership is essential to developing a vision of growth and a culture of coaching. Without a clear understanding of what coaching is and the research behind it, a leader may ask coaches to break confidentiality, act as an evaluator, or use the position as a substitute for all other positions and tasks."
Chrissy Beltran serves up some insights for new coaches beginning their journey (or reminders for experienced coaches!).
"Your principal (or possibly your district) has an idea of what your job is.
If you have a different idea of what your job is, and you continue doing that job for any length of time,
one of you will end up being pretty unhappy. When you apply for any instructional coaching position, it's necessary to ask the principal, 'What are the three most important things I need to spend my time on? Where will most of my time be spent?'"
Bonus Content 🎉
If you or someone you know is transitioning into a coaching role and are looking for tips on how to get started, we can help! Check out our First Year as a Coach series with reflections, best practices, and advice written by your coaching peers. 👍