Even though educational coaching has been around for over a decade, many school districts across the country have been slow to adopt this very powerful tool for teacher development. Momentum is starting to build as research has shown that coaching is an effective educational reform strategy. Student achievement is directly correlated with the efficacy of their instructor; the instructor’s ability is correlated with their level of confidence with the content and learning tools (READ: 1:1 Learning Environments!), willingness to take risks, and amount of the teacher reflection. All of these things can be improved through coaching.
But you don’t need dig into elaborate research to know what a coach can do . . .Just ask a teacher who has worked with one! Below is feedback from teachers who have worked with a coach in the past two years.
How has transitioning to a 1:1 learning environment been facilitated by working with a coach?
- “Knowing that there is someone there at all times to help you when you run into a technical problem helps build my confidence as a 1:1 teacher. Additionally, I have come around to the idea that 1:1 is good because the instructional coaches at my school have shown me various useful and productive ways to use technology in class without just using it for the sake of using it.“ - Kelly, Science, teaching 1-4 years
Describe how working with a coach helped your classroom to improve your use of questions or discussion in the classroom or using assessments to monitor student learning.
- “The coach helped me create a lesson that assisted students in discussing topics talked about in class and helped create student led assessments.” - Anonymous, teaching 1-4 years
- “Working with my coach allowed me to think of things from a different point of view. My coach has taught in so many various classroom environments and is exposed to so many new up and coming methods of instruction that it was nice to have someone with such a strong knowledge base.” - Natalie, World Languages, teaching 5-10 years
Did working with a coach allow you to break out of your comfort zone? If so, describe what happened.
- “Yes. I completely ditched my old exam, creating a much more authentic and student driven exam.” - JoAnna, Fine Arts,, teaching 15+ years
- “This opportunity has allowed me to try and/or change the way I present information. I have [students] take more of an active role for their learning.” Anonymous, World Languages, teaching 15+ years
- “Yes. I was able to implement some reading strategies that I otherwise would not have tried as a Math teacher.” Lorena, Math, teaching 11-15 years
- “data and assessment make me nervous, having support was really helpful” Anonymous, Fine Arts, teaching 11-15 years
A coach's role is designed to be non-evaluative. Does this increase your interest in collaborating with a coach? Why or why not?
- “It increases my interest in collaborating. The coach is neutral, non-judgmental, but yet able to provide constructive feedback that is helpful.” Anonymous, teaching 5-10 years
- “Yes because I don't feel as if I am being judged on what I am discussing or doing since they are here to help and not criticize.” Anonymous, teaching 1-4 years
- “Yes, because when I collaborate with the coach, I feel I am not being judged or evaluated on what I am or am not doing in the classroom. I am more open to feedback, as my weaknesses are not being held against me.” Anonymous, Special Education, teaching 5-10 years
What are your teachers/coaches doing for your students/staff?