February 2021 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads

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2021-02 February Must Reads header

The groundhog may have brought some bad news earlier this month, but your friends here at TeachBoost have something that may cheer you up: the topic articles from February's weekly coaching roundups. πŸ‘ Learn five techniques for making the most of online instruction, how you can showcase your impact as an IC, a few strategies for building relationships with teachers (beyond chocolate 🍫), the benefits of digital coaching menus, and more. Enjoy!

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Quick E-Learning Best Practices You Can Use Today

Belinda Hill offers five strategies to help everyone make the most of online instruction.

"Taking control of e-learning is a marathon, not a sprint. As educators and coaches, we need to continue to support teachers we work with by providing them with articles, professional development, praise, and encouragement to keep their heads up high and continue doing amazing things in the classroom. . . . The key to making this all work is you!"

The Impact of ICs

Have you ever struggled to share or summarize the work you do as an IC? If so, you're not alone! Learn from Lindsay Deacon how you can showcase the impact of your coaching to teachers and district leaders alike.

"Much of the work coaches do lives in confidential meetings or happens behind-the-scenes. It can be challenging to showcase coaching without crossing a boundary or appearing egotistical. At the same time, finding ways to share the progress and outcomes of coaching is a critical step in validating the work we do. . . . For instance, a coach's work can be showcased by asking a teacher to share a short coaching success story at the beginning of a staff meeting."

The Benefits of Developing a Reflective Routine

Megan Collins shares three ways teachers can harness their reflection skillset to improve their practice.

"In order to thrive in these uncertain times, it's essential for teachers to gain a sense of agency and control. . . . It's easy to recognize what didn't work in your lesson. It's much more challenging to then turn these struggles into reflective questions to improve your practice. Creating guiding questions is one way to begin this deeper work."

Kick-start Your Instructional Coaching

Allison Peterson shows how to use Michael Bungay Stainer's seven "essential questions" to guide your coaching conversations.

"When a teacher comes to you with a problem, it's normal to immediately give them a solution. However, we should replace this urge with a questioning strategy. . . . By asking Michael Bungay Stanier's 7 Essential Coaching Questions, you can turn every conversation into a coaching conversation! In fact, using these questions in your next coaching conversation can open the doors to another meeting next week, and another meeting the week after that. Wait, did you just start a coaching cycle? I think you did!"

We Can Help Manage Your Coaching Work! πŸ˜€

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Digital Coaching Menus

Kenny McKee recommends ICs use coaching menus to identify their teachers' needs before starting a coaching cycle.

"One excellent tool for organizing individual coaching cycles is a digital coaching menu (this one is for coaches supporting literacy across subjects). With such a menu, teachers are able to self-assess their students' needs and their preferred professional learning modalities. They then can communicate these reflections to an instructional coach before they ever have a first meeting together. The coach is able to frame the first coaching conversation around the teacher's assessment in order for both to more quickly come to a consensus on professional learning goals and methods."

Strategies for Efficient Planning

Kathryn Nieves provides five ways teachers can avoid reinventing the wheel each time they bounce between virtual and in-person learning.

" Although my district had planned for in-person instruction, I designed all my content for engaging virtual instruction. The benefit of this plan is that the materials can be used regardless of the chosen setting. Students working in hybrid groups can still use the digital tools I created. In the future, when we return to traditional schooling, those digital materials will still have a purpose. Technology is not going away, so having those resources already created in a digital format can ensure use in future years. By creating everything with the idea that it would be used asynchronously or virtually by the students, I saved myself a lot of time."

Vital To-Dos for ICs

Shannon McGrath passes along a few ways to build relationships with teachers (beyond providing chocolate, which pretty much always helps!).

" Teachers rarely get focused feedback on the practices they devote so much of their time to improving. Be constantly on the lookout for small moves your teachers are making that shift students, efforts that go above and beyond expectations, or relationships that are making the difference for students. Highlight these positive moments for those teachers via face-to-face conversations, written notes, or emailsβ€”or, even better, emails on which you copy administrators."

Co-Planning Sessions

Julie Steele believes that when a coach and teacher plan lessons together built on rigor and engagement, student learning gaps will shrink.

"Co-planning is one of the core practices that separates Student-Centered Coaching from other instructional coaching approaches. Our belief is that all students can learn at high levels and that the practice of co-planning allows coaches to 'get their hands dirty' and co-create rigorous and engaging instruction by assisting teachers to make responsive decisions during the learning process."

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Photo by Chandan Chaurasia from Unsplash.

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