Ready. Set. Coach! 📣 Maria Papiez, instructional coach from Illinois, reflects on her first year as an IC and passes along her two most valuable tips for others starting their coaching journey.
e've all heard the horror stories of new instructional coaches being thrown into a building without any guidance, and the hurdles they had to face as they learned to navigate their new role. Some elements may be beyond the control of an individual coach, like a clearly defined role, support from building leadership, and targeted district initiatives.
From my own experience, however, there are two key areas that new coaches do have control over, and these can make all the difference to your first year.
Set a goal for yourself
Your school or district will likely have lots of goals, and these may shift through the academic year as priorities change. You'll find times when your job description becomes blurry and having a goal will help you hold on to what is truly important and at the heart of all the work that you do.
In my first year as a coach, I set a goal to build relationships with teachers and become a source of support for them. I kept track of this goal by making informal notes for myself about which teachers I was working with, and in what capacity. Going into my second year I modified my goal to focus on working with more teachers in coaching cycles.
Find a support system
Equally as important to setting a goal is finding a support system. In the past, I've reflected about how important it is to find your coaching "lifesavers." Every instructional coach has to find (or create) a team that motivates, encourages, and supports them.
Personally I've found this to be one of the biggest keys to my success as a coach. Why? Because the coaching world can be grey and lonely at times.
Having a clear personal goal and a solid support system are two things that are in your control as a new instructional coach. Get these foundational pieces right and they will help center you when everything starts to get crazy in your first year—and believe me, it will!
About our Guest Blogger
Maria Papiez is an instructional coach focused on Math in the Lemont-Bromberek SD 113A in Illinois where she works with teachers grades Early Childhood through 5th grade. Prior to becoming an instructional coach, Maria was a 2nd-grade teacher and team leader.