WHAT IS INSTRUCTIONAL COACHING?

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Instructional coaching is about helping teachers get better faster.

How do you do that? You, a principal or instructional leader, provide teachers with frequent coaching touch points throughout a school year. You observe them teaching in their classroom, you meet with them to debrief the observation, and you collaboratively set action steps that the teacher will work to master weekly. Sometimes you’ll refine lesson plans together, sometimes you’ll look at student data and design a reteach plan during a Weekly Data Meeting, and sometimes you’ll role play classroom management strategies. The key is that you -- the instructional leader -- are helping the teacher grow in their craft through continuous feedback, ultimately improving classroom outcomes and making teachers feel supported, positively challenged, and rewarded for their growth.

Unlike teacher evaluation, with instructional coaching, you don’t have to wait until the end of the school year to give your teachers feedback. By having multiple coaching touch points throughout the school year, you can help teachers improve their practice when it matters most -- while they’re still in front of students.

instructional coaching drives teacher growth

Coaching is a method of providing feedback to teachers on a regular basis to help them grow professionally and improve classroom outcomes. While evaluation has its place, many districts have shifted to instructional coaching as a guided approach to providing feedback to teachers in a more human-centered and helpful way. Coaching is a better way to support teachers, a better way to provide job-embedded professional development, and an all around better way to get teachers better faster. Because when teachers are growing, so is your school.

Good instructional coaching is composed of three touch points:

  • classroom observations,

  • coaching meetings, and

  • action steps.

Strong instructional leaders use these touch points to build trust, accountability, and momentum across their school. It’s about meeting teachers where they’re at, and working together to get them to where they need to be.

From a school-wide perspective, coaching represents the gateway to the growth of your school; and happy, supported teachers provide the energy that fuels that growth because they are, with your guidance, improving their practice every week. But, if your teachers are unhappy, either because they feel disconnected from their leadership or they aren’t being supported to grow professionally, the ability for your school to grow becomes limited.

When you build a culture of coaching in your school, you can provide growth opportunities for all teachers, no matter where they are in their careers. Classroom observations are no longer only for end of year performance appraisals, coaching meetings are no longer scary, “corrective” interactions for new teachers, and action steps are no longer reserved for those who have been placed on improvement plans. Every classroom observation, coaching meeting, and action step now present an instructional leader with the opportunity to support teachers, to challenge teachers to grow professionally, and to honor teachers for their contributions to student and school outcomes, ultimately building an all around stronger school community.