4 Ways Teacher Coaching is like Getting in Shape: Part 1

Building habits is hard. Whether you’ve resolved to get in shape or a school leadership team resolves to start observing and coaching teachers, success does not happen overnight. Luckily, the same strategies that help people accomplish fitness goals can be applied to the goal of providing regular feedback and coaching to teachers. For the next four weeks, I’ll share strategies to help set school leaders and their teachers up for success when implementing a teacher coaching program. Here’s the first:

Strategy 1: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Like all good habits -- whether that’s eating more vegetables or working out regularly -- sharing regular feedback with teachers takes time to develop. The thought of observing every single teacher every single week can seem daunting, especially for school leaders who already have nearly every minute of the day booked. But, just like marathon training -- which begins with a 1-mile run and works up to 26.2 -- successful school leaders slowly build a culture of feedback in a school by starting with small steps.

Start small with this sample schedule:

  • Quarter 1: Pop into each teacher’s classroom for 5-minutes, once a month; leave a sticky note with one thing you observed that you loved
  • Quarter 2: Keep up the monthly pop-ins, and add one monthly, 10-minute face to face feedback meeting with each teacher to discuss what they think is their biggest area for growth
  • Quarter 3: Continue the monthly pop-ins and check-ins, and add one 15-minute observation focused on the area of growth the teacher identified (email the feedback or share it during your check-in)
  • Quarter 4: Keep up with everything above, and add one 30-minute end-of-year conversation with each teacher to reflect on growth and set goals for the following school year.

Libby Fischer is CEO of Whetstone Education.