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MP0863 MP0863 is offline
 
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Instructional Coach
Old 09-01-2019, 03:48 PM
 
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What makes a good instructional coach? What do you want and need from your coach? What do you want them to NOT do?


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Teacherbee_4 Teacherbee_4 is offline
 
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What NOT to do?
Old 09-01-2019, 04:39 PM
 
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*Don't be buddy buddy with the principal. I once had a lit coach who would go to the principal's office and shut the door right after meeting with me...every time.

*Don't act like you know everything or that what you say is always the best way. There is merit to other ways and in teaching there is often more than one right away to do things.

*Don't gossip about or judge teachers.
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Old 09-01-2019, 04:50 PM
 
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I agree with Teacherbee on all 3 points. Our IC is knowledgeable, but she's also BFFs with the P, which makes me feel like I can't trust her. The best IC I worked with made a point of saying there was an "iron curtain" between her and the P and she actually stuck to it.

Another thing that I really appreciated is that she was willing to get her hands dirty in actually doing some of the work, rather than coming in, meeting with us/giving suggestions, and then basically piling a bunch of extra work on our plates. For example, I wanted to change up my math centers. She talked through it with me and then made the materials for 2 of the 4 centers for me. She was also willing to cover our classes so that we could go see someone else teach something.

In another building, I had one who was constantly making suggestions involving me having to go buy things. I know it's extremely common for teachers to just spend freely on their classrooms, but I legitimately didn't have the money and I am a firm believer that one should not spend money to do their job. It drove me crazy. Every time I met with her she'd say, "Well you should buy..." "It's only $20 on Amazon..." etc. etc. Just one small example, one time she wanted me to go buy a bunch of sand timers to teach my whole class how to use a literacy center at once. After that one lesson, all the extra timers wouldn't be necessary as only a few kids would be in that center at one time. She looked at me like I had 3 heads when I told her I wasn't buying timers to use one time.
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Old 09-01-2019, 05:10 PM
 
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I've done this job. Teachers should volunteer for your advice and not be forced to listen you. Model with the class all the techniques you espouse to work. Be sure to model with only the supplies that the teacher has available to him/her. Always begin the first convo with the teacher with the questions what do you want and what have you tried.
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Old 09-02-2019, 04:57 AM
 
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Remember that we are professionals and all bring experience and knowledge to our position. In our building the coaches are given power to act like administrators and forget they are instructional staff just like the teachers and are there to help us, not admonish us.

I would love a coach who helped find/provide resources.

W have asked our math coach, multiple times, to model a lesson for us based on what she thinks we should be doing.... she always avoids it.

I loved our reading coach we had a few years ago. She would meet with us, ask us what we needed or what questions we had, and then meet with the principal, if needed. She was efficient and would always come back to us with answers.
She helped a ton with finding resources and created an entire writing unit for us that was awesome, with examples of finished products (she wrote them all herself).


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Old 09-02-2019, 06:10 AM
 
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NOT DO - We had one that the P told us one thing and the IC told us the opposite. It was so frustrating! Make sure your ideas/suggestions don't contradict another admin.

DO - Always find something encouraging to say. Teachers are hard enough on themselves without someone else nit-picking them to pieces. When you need to critique, begin and end on a positive note.

This is my first year as an IC, and I'm in a different school than where I taught forever. I'm being careful not to compare everything with "how we did it", but I'm also giving them suggestions on what worked for me.

I'm also trying very hard to take some of the responsibilities off of the teachers (like having interventionists do dibels rather than the teachers). I want them to focus on teaching (there's a new concept! ).

I agree with not running to the P about them. When I notice anything, I mention it to the teacher. Honestly, the P has enough to do - she's counting on me to take some off of her plate - not give her more to worry about.
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Thanks for asking
Old 09-02-2019, 06:53 AM
 
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I have rarely had the support of any services, so when I had an IC, I was excited. It soon turned out to be suggestions, suggestions of materials and that's it. I really needed someone to show me what they meant and how to do it. As a classroom teacher, I am always looking for the next great thing through the year and deciding if I'll add something different to my instruction - we are often our own instructional coaches.

Do ask what the teacher would like to know more about or an area that seems especially challenging to teach - maybe time or materials is an issue.

Don't suggest something that you can't actually help model or implement. We are usually using every minute we have already. Please help us see what it is and how it works.

Do offer support of time and materials. If you have a suggestion that requires implementation - try to help implement it with a little of your time until we have it.
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Another idea
Old 09-02-2019, 09:13 AM
 
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Don't talk too much or take up too much time during the teacher's planning period. Be succinct and then leave her/him to work.

(I only say this because I have first hand experience with one who would come in and talk and talk and talk and talk and the next thing I knew, my entire planning period was over. Sigh...)
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Old 09-02-2019, 10:07 AM
 
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Don't run back to the principal and try to make me look bad.

Don't come in my room everyday and put me under a microscope.

Don't tell me to do a completely new thing that I'm not used to and then come back in 4 days and expect me to be proficient.

Don't sit in the back of my room and take notes and then not tell me what you were taking notes about...and then run to the prinicpal.

My last instructional coach did these things. She and the principal have run 5 teachers (that I know of...probably more) out of the school and caused immense stress. Two years later and I still have anxiety flashbacks.

The school I'm at now doesn't have instructional coaches. I am terrified they will get one though.

In my experience, and most teachers I know, instructional coaches are not helpful and cause undue stress. They would be better used as a classroom teacher. That's my opinion.
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Old 09-02-2019, 11:27 AM
 
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I was an instructional coach under a different title—Learning Support Teacher. What I tried to do was to act behind the scenes for teachers. After I met with them to find out how I could best help them I would collect the materials, resources, etc. that they felt they needed. I reworked Calkins units of study for them—- condensing them and linking resources. We would, through Google Docs plan lessons together. I would go in their room to do an activity with their kids while they went to observe in another classroom. Truthfully, I didn’t always feel comfortable in that role. No matter how much you try to ensure teachers you are not there to evaluate, they still feel uneasy. I would have rather been an interventionist because that is what they really wanted.

On the other hand I have a friend who is an excellent coach. She has helped a number of teachers who would have lost their jobs keep them and truly improve their teaching.


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