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October 18, 2018

Instructional Coaching: First Impression and Tips

Written By: Stephanie Machado
Instructional coach

As an educator, you have probably had experiences with instructional coaches. Whether those experiences are positive or negative, the truth behind coaching is not what you would expect. They said it would be hard. They said it would be different. They definitely said it would not be easy. I knew all along it would be worth it. Transitioning to the role of instructional coach has proven to be a huge change filled with tons of learning experiences. If you are thinking of transitioning into the role, here are some tips to get you started.

Instructional coach

Relationships First

Build relationships! You will see it in every blog post and book out there but I did not realize how true it was until I was in the role. Get to know your colleagues on a personal level. Find out their interests, check on them and invest your time in getting to know them. Because you will not have a classroom or team anymore, these relationships are what will make you feel connected to the adults in your school so take the time to make them great.

Get Organized

Find a method that works for you and stick with it! In this role, there is a lot of paperwork to keep up with whether it is goal setting sheets, observation notes or checklists. In order to do this job well, you have to have a system for all that you will be handling. I have found that file folders with an organizational stand on my desk has been helpful in keeping paperwork visible but put away.

Instructional coach

Be Open and Willing

In this role, you will wear many hats. That is something you need to be open to. Everything can be used as a learning opportunity even if it is not in your original job description. I have helped with meetings, events, ESOL compliance, cafeteria duty and carpool. Everything I do, I have tried to take something out of it – even if it is just to remember to have extra hair ties available for hot days! A positive attitude and being open to new experiences will help you to go far in this role.

I want to add that there will be bumps and hurdles. Try not to take things personally. Do what is best for the school and the kids in it. Come from a genuine place when helping teachers and learn from them as well. No one person has all of the answers. It is important for teachers to view you as a person they can come to as opposed to a person who is there to criticize them. Give teachers time to feel open to your feedback and go to sleep each night knowing you are doing what is best for the kids!

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