Five Reasons Why Every Teacher Should Embrace a Coach
Schools use their coaches for different reasons. Whether your coach spends time curating educational resources, gathering and analyzing data, modeling lessons, planning PD, covering classes, or all of the above, she's in that position because she wants to help you. Ultimately, she wants to see improvements in student learning, and the only way to do that is through developing the skills, knowledge, and craft of teachers.
You want to be at the top of your game? Invite your coach in. Routinely. Here's why.
1. Working with your coach will save you time. A coach can take some of the burden off you when you're trying new things. Coaches bring a fresh perspective to your work, so asking for a co-planning session when you're about to take an instructional risk allows you to refine your thinking, increase your confidence, and maximizing your planning time.
2. Working with a coach promotes deep, reflective practice. According to Charlotte Danielson, teachers make over 3000 nontrivial decisions each day. You live in the fast lane, and you're lucky if you have 90 seconds between classes to reflect upon the success or failure of a lesson. Eliciting the assistance of a coach forces you to reflect more deliberately. Ask your coach to come in and observe something with which you're students are struggling. In the debrief, I guarantee she'll ask probing questions that'll help you realize how you can improve your own practice in order to increase student learning.
3. Working with a coach gives you an automatic thought partner. While you've probably found a thought partner in one or more of your colleagues, time is a precious commodity. I always felt bad "bugging" my colleagues because I knew they had their own planning and grading to do. Your coach's job is to give you undivided time and attention. She's there to help you use research-based strategies nimbly while prompting new thoughts and ideas you can bounce off each other.
4. Working with a coach maintains your passion for teaching and learning. You should leave every coaching session feeling empowered and ignited. A coach will celebrate your successes and pick you up when you fall.
5. Working with a coach inspires others with your positive personal brand. Inviting a coach into your room tells those around you that you have a growth mindset. It says, "I want to refine my craft; I want to be better." Because teaching is an ever-evolving profession, it's impossible to master. Working with a coach shows you are a learner at your very core, and indirectly encourages others to reach out for assistance.
With next generation assessments, Common Core Standards, constant pedagogical shifts, SAMR, TPACK, PIPs, POPs, SLOs, IEPs, 504s and more, we can't afford NOT to embrace our instructional coaches. This isn't the educational landscape we grew up in; no one's got this. And no one will ever get it by working alone. Now go--reach out to your coach. I promise you won't regret it.