Instructional coaches drive student achievement through the development of educators and school leaders. But how do coaches find ways to nourish and develop themselves on a professional level? Professional learning communities made up of peers—networks both in person and online—are one fantastic resource to move professional learning forward.
earning is best when it's collaborative, and social media has made it easy for coaches to learn with one another on their own time. Twitter has positioned itself as a source for coaches to learn from each other, meet for topic-specific chats, share one's voice and opinions, and create opportunities for mentorship. Coaches are able to lend a supportive hand to their peers while providing a judgement-free space to show vulnerability.
You too can use Twitter professionally to expand your coaching resources with a little bit of prep, even if you've never used it before. Following hashtags—"categories" that people use to assign their tweets to specific topics—is a great entry point. Every time you see a pound sign, like #instructionalcoaching, you're looking at hashtag which you can click to view all of the tweets that use that tag. Adding the hashtag to your own message gets you into that discussion.
The #educoach channel is for instructional coaches of all content areas and focuses on improving education. Every Wednesday at 6pm central time they hold a live chat on a specific topic. This is the largest coaching channel for coaches globally to share ideas, questions, articles, successes, and trainings with their peers. It's also a great one to start following on Wednesdays to learn how hashtag conversations work.
Instructional coach, Dan Kreiness, shared his gratitude for #educoach during TeachBoost's Coaching Talk webinar, The Support Coaches Need to be Effective, by describing it as "more than just a chat, it's a community." If a community is what you're looking for via social media, #educoach is a fantastic place to begin.
The #ETCoach channel is for those who help teachers integrate technology within the classroom. The channel consists of technology coaches, tech facilitators, technology integration specialists, and instructional leaders who seek support from other technology experts.
Shared content consists of personal recommendations of products and tools, successful use-cases of technology embedded within the classroom, question and answer sessions, and even book recommendations—via #TechcoachBC—among education technology professionals.
The #instructionalcoach channel is for instructional coaches to share news, discuss what they're working on or workshops they're participating in, self-promote their own content, and to share overall passion for working with teachers. From an outside perspective, this channel gets a bit more personal than the others due to the original content coaches share for feedback and workshopping. Ultimately, there's feeling of excitement amongst the coaches and definitely one we recommend checking out!
No matter what role or interests you have there's a community for you. Here's a few examples of position-specific hashtags you might find helpful depending on your role:
Regardless of what you're looking for, there are others out there seeking a similar resource or working through a similar problem. These hashtag conversations are a great way to network and share things you've learned to push the profession forward.
Whether you're an experienced coach, new to the role, or an outside spectator genuinely interested in instructional coaching, don't be scared to embark on the journey to expand your professional learning opportunities through social media—there are certainly benefits for building a community of support from your peers.
As a final note, we challenge you to tweet tag @TeachBoost to your next coaching related tweet in a channel above! :)
Don't miss out on more impactful articles to assist with instructional coaching—join your peers below!