October 2019 Instructional Coaching Must-Reads
Posted by TeachBoost Team on October 31, 2019 at 12:15 PM
All treats and no tricks from your friends at TeachBoost! From the best of October's weekly coaching roundups: indulge in a few key principles for coaching across buildings, unwrap some steps you can take to move instructional practices forward, bite into the stages of a coaching cycle, spook your building admins with some things they should know about coaching, and more! 👻
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What's Your Coaching Level?
Stephanie Affinito shares six steps you can take to move your teachers' instructional practices forward.
"Keep in mind that lower level coaching activities are essential to build relationships with teachers that lead to more focused coaching work later on. If you are new to coaching or new to your building, it is essential that you focus on these level 1 activities to build a strong foundation for coaching. . . . Then slowly shift your coaching to higher levels of intensity with other teachers based on readiness and experience."
The Traveling Coach: Coaching Across Multiple Schools
Bridget McDonald shares three key principles to help a coach maximize their impact when across multiple buildings.
"Building relationships is the backbone of any successful coaching partnership. This can be especially tricky for coaches who work across multiple buildings as you often feel like a visitor and not a full member of any one building's staff. The first relationship you must foster is the one with your building principal to ensure they support your role when you're not there. The principal can also help you understand their staff's strengths. This, in turn, helps you leverage those strengths when you work with each teacher. Without that foundation, it can be really difficult to foster relationships with them."
Best Practices for All 3 Steps in the Coaching Cycle
Annie Forest walks through the stages of a successful coaching cycle and shares how clear goals and continuous reflection help power them.
"As instructional coaches, we're often tasked with doing lots of things: planning with teams of teachers, leading committees, giving professional development, and so on. But one of our most important tasks is working with individual teachers during a coaching cycle. By co-planning, co-teaching, modeling lessons, and more, coaches can really help to develop teachers' skills. . . . No matter the coaching model you follow, most present a coaching cycle as three parts: before, during, and after. . . . No matter the coaching model you follow, most present a coaching cycle as three parts: before, during, and after."
Peer Coaching Strategies for More Collaborative Partnerships
Ellen Eisenberg introduces us to some peer coaching concepts and explains how it can support new approaches to school-wide improvement.
"The best learning is a partnership guided by a teacher leader who differentiates the support according to need. . . . Coaches are not supervisory; they're skilled practitioners who understand adult learning, how to network, give and receive feedback, and have dedicated time to do 'it.' They help teachers become more reflective practitioners and learners at the same time."
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Fun Friday Gatherings!
Michelle Shave uses "Fun Fridays" as a way to build relationships and develop teacher leaders.
"The Fun Friday is an optional gathering and those who attend appreciate the time to build relationships and some enjoy sharing their amazing cooking skills! Pictures are posted on a Google Site I created for our staff, under the "Fun Stuff" page. . . . It's a win-win use of time. While I'm the one to coordinate it, others chip in their help with setting up, preparing the activity, and getting food items - it's a great way to build distributive leadership."
Introducing Mentoring or Coaching
Steve Barkley explores ideas for building relationships with teachers who are new to working with a coach or mentor.
"It's important for the beginning teacher to discover that making him or herself vulnerable to input from colleagues is a career-long path to great teaching. It's critical that the beginning teacher not see the mentor as an evaluator, not see the mentor holding some measuring stick up in front of the teacher saying when you meet these criteria, mentoring will be over. . . . Coaches can work with mentors to introduce coaching and mentoring as a gift. All teachers deserve coaching vs need coaching."
Surveys for Better Coaching Cycles (with Examples!)
Amy Rudd uses teacher surveys to help identify goals and discover trends to help create more successful coaching cycles.
"After teachers and the coach begin to make connections and build common experiences together, the coach can then use surveys to foster a deeper relationship. Sending them out by email or one of the many online form tools can be even more useful too. Once a teacher completes a survey, the coach can begin to gather data to look for patterns and trends across multiple teachers or even buildings."
Through the Lens of an Administrator
Brad Currie shares 10 things administrators should know about instructional coaching.
"Administrators respect the insight instructional coaches share about what is or is not taking place in various learning environments. . . . Administrators know that some of the most talented educators in the world are instructional coaches."
Figuring Out What PD Teachers Need (and Want)
Chrissy Beltran offers two methods to gather information from teachers and better support PD planning.
"Ask teachers where they feel like they are doing well and where they feel like they need support. If you get enough people asking for the same kinds of support, you can turn that into a PD topic!"
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