After a year of finding my way as an instructional coach, learning by trial and error, and educating myself about strategies for guiding my colleagues, I’d like to share what I’ve learned about my experience. Administrators who are seeking to improve student achievement by improving teacher effectiveness might want to consider the value of having such a teacher on a building staff.
When my principal called me with the idea of becoming a part-time teacher and part-time instructional coach, I had recently completed my National Board Certification in adolescent and young adult English language arts, and was eager to serve as a teacher leader. Our district pays the entire fee for the certification process and expects, in return, a good-faith willingness on the part of the certified teacher to serve in whatever leadership capacity that fits his or her particular strengths and serves the needs of the district.
Our building principal saw a need for an educationally proactive position, rather than a reactive one, but there was no job description—I was on uncharted waters. I brought with me over thirty years of teaching experience, depth of knowledge in educational pedagogy, and a willingness to take risks. I would still teach three classes in our A/B six period schedule, but two periods would be devoted to coaching, and my planning period would “float” over three periods so that I could reach more teachers. I was charged with helping teachers teach more effectively so that students learn more effectively. I had no restrictions and no guidelines, just her confidence in my ability as an instructional leader and the expectation that her investment would pay divid...
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...other—getting away from the mind-numbing isolation of our profession. An instructional coach can help his or her colleagues achieve their untapped potential. The joy of teaching is that every class, every day, and especially every year is a new beginning. Maybe you’d like to instill hope in particular buildings. An instructional coach is one way to help bring about a sea change in both teacher effectiveness and student achievement, where teachers begin to come out of their “individual caves,” as Roland Barth calls them, into a community of professionals who willingly share their joys as well as their sorrows.
Fouts, Jeffrey T. (2003). A Decade of Reform: A Summary of Research Findings on
Classroom, School, and District Effectiveness in Washington State. Lynnwood,
WA: Washington School Research Center.
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