Saturday, August 10, 2019

Working with teachers (who don't want you around): The Instructional Coaching Series

Coaching teachers can be challenging when they aren't interested in having instructional support. This post provides ideas for instructional coaches when they're working with teachers, especially when the teachers aren't excited to have you around! Learn about how to build relationships, add value to the work teachers do, and how to get your foot in the door. We're here. 
We've arrived. 
After sharing about coaching cycles, collaborative planning, and preparing for modeling & coteaching, it's finally the big day. 
The day we talk about the elephant in the room.

How to work with teachers who don't want you around.

*GASP!* I know. I know. It's shocking.

"But I'm so nice!" Yeah, look how nice I am ------------------->
but there are still teachers who aren't that excited to see me.

"But who wouldn't want me around?" you ask.

Well, I'll tell you. There are almost definitely a couple people on your campus who aren't that excited to see you coming.

These could be the reasons why, but it also could be any other reason in the world:
  • They don't like you as a person (not likely; it's usually the other reasons).
  • They think you're going to tattle on them or gossip about them (don't do it).
  • They're overwhelmed with a million demands already. 
  • They've had really bad experiences with coaches in the past.
  • They don't know what you do or how you can make their teaching lives better or more purposeful.
  • They don't want to do the things you're proposing because it's hard or scary.
  • You stress them out because they think you're going to make them do stuff they don't want to do.
  • They don't want to change (It might not be nice to say it, but sometimes it happens).
  • They don't want to try anything different because it could mean more work (this also happens).
  • They think you're going to tell them what they're doing is "wrong". 
I know, you probably didn't even know half of that stuff was being pegged onto you. And every campus is different, to be sure, but on many campuses, this is the impression teachers have of coaches - sometimes because that's the kind of coach they worked with before.

In a previous post, I mentioned that, when you start coaching, you want to start with someone who would like to try new things. Don't start with the person who rolls her eyes every time you open your mouth.

BUT you can not stay in that happy place. If you are going to support kids on your campus, that's all kids, not just the ones in the classrooms where the teachers like you. Which means you have to take a deep breath and get in the game.

And you have to work with those teachers who don't want you around.

But how? HOW HOW HOW HOW?

Here are a few things to do before you even try to approach those teachers to support them in their classrooms.

#1 Introduce yourself and what you do.
Maybe you've been on campus for three years and it should be obvious. But guess what! It's not. The teachers who don't want you around might not know what support you can provide, so you may have to reintroduce yourself and your services. You can do this with a coaching menu like this one from my Coaching in Classrooms Kit, or with a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation like the one in my Coaching in Classrooms Kit.

Coaching teachers can be challenging when they aren't interested in having instructional support. This post provides ideas for instructional coaches when they're working with teachers, especially when the teachers aren't excited to have you around! Learn about how to build relationships, add value to the work teachers do, and how to get your foot in the door.
Get this Coaching Menu in the free download right below this post!

Another great way to show what you can do is to have teachers provide testimonials. Keep it simple. Ask them to share the kind of support you provided and what the outcome was.

#2 Maintain a positive attitude 
Nobody likes to work with a grouch. If you have a generally positive demeanor and a good personality, that will go a long way to getting people to open their doors to you.

#3 Demonstrate empathy
We show empathy by listening and feeling how the person feels. Think back to your time as a teacher. Say things like, "Oh, that's hard. I know what that's like. It made me feel like..." But don't make the conversation about you. Always offer support before the conversation ends. You might say something like, "Would you like to get together to work on that? I can meet with you on Friday and we can try to figure something out together."

#4 Demonstrate credibility
If you don't know anything, nobody is going to ask you to help them. That might sound harsh, but we've all worked with someone who isn't able to support us because they have limited knowledge or experience of teaching and learning. If your knowledge or experience is limited, don't give up. Instead, grow it. Read books. Watch videos. Attend trainings. And work in the classroom with teachers who are knowledgeable so you can benefit from their experience. We all have to keep learning.

#5 Use another classroom as a door to collaboration
If you're modeling a lesson or coteaching in a classroom, you can invite the teacher who isn't excited about support to come watch. This is a low-stakes way to get that teacher in the door that doesn't involve letting you into his or her classroom or being vulnerable in any way. Provide coverage for his or her class by scheduling a technology lesson or a library lesson. Provide the teacher with an observation guide so they can take notes about the lesson and you can have a debriefing conversation. Then segue into the support they would like.


#6 Focus on the goals that are important to them
Even complaints can be made into goals. "My kids can't add without using their fingers." is not a nice thing to say, but it might be true!

As a coach, you can take this statement and flip it into a coaching goal. Say, "So what I'm hearing is that you'd like your students to learn different strategies for addition." BAM! Now you've got a goal to work on together!

"I'm available on Tuesday at 3:00! I'd love to meet with you so we can figure out some next steps for working with your kids!

Coaching teachers can be challenging when they aren't interested in having instructional support. This post provides ideas for instructional coaches when they're working with teachers, especially when the teachers aren't excited to have you around! Learn about how to build relationships, add value to the work teachers do, and how to get your foot in the door.
Surveys are a great way to figure out what teachers would like to learn or try. 
You can get editable surveys in my Coach's PD Kit on TpT!

#7 Watch what you say and do
Everything you say and do is being used to judge you: your personality, your teaching ability, and how trustworthy you are. Teachers who don't want to work with you are sometimes looking for an excuse. And if they've had a bad experience before, they're looking for confirmation that you are the same. Don't give it to them. Do not say anything snotty, overtly pushy, or bossy. Be yourself, with a personality, but manage your emotions. It's a hard thing to do as a coach, but it's essential for building a relationship with teachers - especially the ones who don't want you around.

In addition to this, be on time and don't take a long lunch. Nobody likes it if you take advantage of your position.

#8 The most important thing to do: add value
Add value to things teachers do. Make relevant suggestions. Help them think through tough situations. Provide quality PD. Show that you care. Give them the tools they need. Help them figure out how to use the tools they have.

But, remember this: you are kind, you are supportive, but you are relentless. EVERY child deserves to learn. If there's a classroom that needs your support, don't stop until you've made it happen in a positive way.

This is the last post in the series! Click on these topics to read about conducting a coaching cycleplanning collaboratively with teachers, and preparing to model and coteach!

Other posts in the Summer Coaching Series: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
Coaching teachers doesn't have to feel like deep sea diving with no oxygen tank. Get my free download, Coaching in Classrooms:  A Free Download to help you get started.

  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!

 
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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Preparing to Model and Coteach in Classrooms: the instructional coaching series

Modeling and coteaching in classrooms are some of the most effective ways to facilitate change on
your campus. But they can be scary, too.
The first time I modeled in a classroom, it was in a room that stressed me out, big time.

There wasn't a classroom management system or approach in place. When the kids misbehaved, they were yelled at.

The layout of the room was confusing to me and I couldn't figure out how to get from one part of the room to another to work with students without moving furniture around.

I couldn't find chart paper or markers, and the projector was facing the wrong way.

The teacher had chosen materials that were far above grade level and didn't provide me with the copy that I requested until I walked in the door.

And worst of all: the teacher stressed me out, too. We didn't speak the same language (figuratively) and we weren't on the same page at all.

Overall, it wasn't a great experience for anyone.

I remember thinking, "How am I supposed to model in classrooms when it feels like I'm on a different planet?"

It took some time, but I figured out how to change my approach so that it became more effective for me and purposeful for the teacher.  Modeling and coteaching still stress me out a little bit, but it's light years away from that first horrible day!

Tips for preparing to model and coteach:

1. Plan the lesson with the teacher.
Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. I can't say this enough times! I have shared a pretty thorough post about how to plan
collaboratively with teachers, as well as how to conduct a coaching cycle that begins with planning together and assigning roles. I really recommend that you check them out to be prepared for modeling and coteaching!

In short, planning beforehand would've improved my first modeling experience 800x. I would've been familiar with the materials, and I would've helped the teacher choose grade-appropriate texts. We would've worked through the standard and learning target to ensure that each of us knew what was going to happen that day.

This also ensures that you are focusing on the goal the teacher would like to see in action, and that the instructional strategies are in alignment with the teacher's classroom.

2. Plan for a classroom management system.
This one is a biggie. In some coaching books, I've read that you focus on the learning and only integrate classroom management when the teacher wants you to. But I can't figure out how to teach any sort of a lesson unless there is some sort of classroom management system in place. Without a system, I spend the entire time putting out fires and students aren't learning (which is the goal).

When I plan with teachers before visiting their classrooms for modeling or coteaching, I make sure that our planning session involves a plan for classroom management. If the teacher has a system in place, we talk about whether it will be my responsibility to use it or his/her responsibility.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. If there isn't a management system in place and the class will not learn without some structure, I introduce three basic expectations to students and we use gestures to chant them.

We discuss what each one means and looks like. Then I use a chart to record "team points". These are points the teams earn when I see them working towards or demonstrating one of the three basic expectations.

There are no prizes for points; they're just fun and show that I acknowledge the work they're doing.

Over time, we can take the points away and just have students set goals and discuss their progress, but points are a visible way to start working on behavior.

You can read more about this simple system here.


Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support. 3. Assign responsibilities for each person. 

Whether you are modeling or coteaching a lesson, you want it to be clear who is doing what at each point in the lesson.

If you're modeling and the teacher is observing, provide them with an observation guide that will help them focus on specific elements of the lesson.

If you're coteaching with the teacher, document who does each step of the lesson to ensure that you are both contributing.
 
You can get seven different observation guides (editable) and two different collaborative planning guides in my Coaching in Classrooms resource!


4. Bring your materials with you.

It's just easier this way. I recommend having a little bin or bucket where you bring along everything you'll need. In some cases, I've even used a cart to hold the materials I planned on using.

This includes markers, post-its, a pointer, highlighter tape, laptop, or anything else you will need. It's better to be prepared than to spend ten minutes hunting around a classroom for the materials for the lesson. For small groups, I actually bring pencils, markers, and highlighters for the students, too. I'd rather bring what I need than waste time with them running back to their seats to find something.

Modeling and coteaching are important parts of instructional coaching and the coaching cycle. But they can be scary, too! This post includes four BIG ideas for being prepared for modeling and coteaching, especially in elementary classrooms. Scheduling, planning and preparation for the lesson, materials, and classroom management go a long way to reducing stress and maximizing the effectiveness of this classroom support.

If the teacher is very organized, you can also ask them for exactly what you'll need. Larger items or student supplies can be provided by the teacher, such as a projector, power strip, chart tablet, easel, and student notebooks, scissors, glue, highlighters, colored pencils and/or crayons.

5. Schedule the debriefing conversation before you do the lesson.
It's best to schedule the debriefing conversation before you actually teach the lesson. This will help you make sure that it's timely, shortly following the lesson. You may have students work independently while you debrief quietly with the teacher, or you may schedule a time later that day or week to have a focused conversation. Prepare for this in advance. You can get debriefing sentence starters in my Coaching in Classrooms Free Download right below this post!

Want to read more about conducting a coaching cycle that includes modeling and coteaching? Check out my post: Conducting a Coaching Cycle. Next week, I'll share all about the elephant in the room: working with teachers...who don't want you around!

Other posts in the Summer Coaching Series: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
Coaching teachers doesn't have to feel like deep sea diving with no oxygen tank. Get my free download, Coaching in Classrooms:  A Free Download to help you get started.

  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!

 
Pin It

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Planning collaboratively with teachers: the instructional coaching series

One type of professional learning community is a planning PLC. During a planning PLC, teachers plan collaboratively for an upcoming lesson, unit, or time frame. This post includes steps for instructional coaches to take to facilitate planning before, during, and after the planning session! Learn tips and ideas about why agendas matter, how to get started right away with preplanning, and why you start with the standards. Stop spinning your wheels during planning time and get something accomplished! It was my first full week on the job as an instructional coach.

My space was ready for my first
collaborative planning PLC. I'd made sweet little welcome gifts for the teachers I was working with. I had snacks on the tables. I'd set up a sample classroom library full of the books I had used in my own minilessons.

I was ready.

The first grade level arrived. I shared a general notetaking format with them that I'd created for our work together. It included space for us to write the focus for our unit, the TEKS (state standards) we'd be working with, and a spot for brainstorming possible experiences we wanted students to have.

I kept it broad and general, because I was afraid that too much structure would seem limiting and stifling to teachers.

"What does this mean?" one teacher asked, pointing to the "Learning Experiences" column. "That's where we can record the kinds of things we want students to do," I said. "Maybe it's a specific read aloud title, or a foldable, or a hands-on activity you'd like to share."

"And what's this?" another teacher asked, pointing to "Word Study". "Is that spelling?"

"Well, in our district," I said, confused at her confusion, "word study is a component of our reading framework, so it involves working with the standards that are about developing vocabulary strategies, context clues, and word parts like prefixes..." I trailed off. I realized that we were not speaking the same language.

Another teacher said, "I don't even know what I'm supposed to do on Monday." "Well," I said, "We're here to figure that out together. Let's take a look at -"

"Can you show me how to access the online curriculum system?" another teacher asked. "I can never log in."

The meeting quickly devolved into what some like to call "venting" and literally not one thing was accomplished - except that I felt like I had made a HUGE mistake in choosing to be an instructional coach.

Flash forward to a couple of years later. Teachers arrived with their materials for planning. Everyone knew what the upcoming unit was, and where to find the resources the district had provided. We reviewed the state test questions and decided what question stems we'd include in our daily lessons. 
One teacher shared her thinking about the nonfiction unit and led the conversation about the ideas she had put together for our PLC. Other teachers reminded her, "Remember this idea from last year? I really think that worked." I facilitated the meeting, moving us from one focus to the next and interjecting when needed, providing a different perspective on the standard and its intricacies. In short, we were collaborating.

Was it perfect? Nope. Was it purposeful? Yes! How did this happen? Well, it definitely didn't happen overnight, or even from one nine weeks to the next. It took time, it took patience, and it took structure. Here are some of the structures I recommend to have in place when you plan collaboratively with teachers.

Before the planning session

One type of professional learning community is a planning PLC. During a planning PLC, teachers plan collaboratively for an upcoming lesson, unit, or time frame. This post includes steps for instructional coaches to take to facilitate planning before, during, and after the planning session! Learn tips and ideas about why agendas matter, how to get started right away with preplanning, and why you start with the standards. Stop spinning your wheels during planning time and get something accomplished!  
1. Everyone needs to know what is going on. Teachers need to have access to the curriculum provided by the district or state, whether that's an online source, a textbook, or any other type of curriculum. They need to know what's coming up by looking at the curriculum calendar. Everyone also needs to know what the purpose of the session is. Are you planning for every content area for one week? For reading only, for two weeks? For an entire unit? Make sure this goal is clear to everyone involved by providing an agenda.

2. Have teachers prepare for the planning session. One way to do this is to have grade levels designate one person per team to be responsible for "preplanning" each content area. For example, in a grade level with five teachers, it might look like this:

Reading - Gonzalez
Writing - Beltran
Math - Medina
Science - Bejarano
Social Studies- Rangel

For each content area that they are "preplanning", the teacher would dig into the curriculum documents, think about possible learning targets for each step along the way, identify a few possible ideas for students to interact with the content, bring a few materials that might work well, and review the tested language: vocabulary and question stems that students would be expected to know and use.

Ideally, the teacher would lead the PLC planning. For my school, some grade levels made it to this point, and some still relied on me to facilitate the planning. As long as teachers have a voice and are ready to contribute, either way works. Grade levels just develop differently.

3. The facilitator (the instructional coach, in this case) needs to be very prepared to facilitate the planning session. This includes...
  • Understanding how students learn incrementally towards the standard they are expected to master
  • Knowing the curriculum inside and out
  • Being very familiar with the end of unit expectations or the end of year test and what this content looks like on that assessment
  • Having ideas for books, resources, and activities that could work
  • Reflecting on grade level dynamics and how to best support the grade in collaborating: giving teachers thinking and responding time, asking everyone to contribute as needed, clarifying understandings of the concepts that are being taught, addressing misconceptions, etc.
  • Creating an atmosphere of collaboration and ensuring that people feel like they can get the support they need 
  • Keeping in mind any upcoming dates, school expectations, etc. that need to be built into the plans. This could be holidays, district testing dates, book of the month or other school initiatives, and due dates for important artifacts.
I recommend to organize your curriculum documents, calendars, and other 
relevant planning materials by grade level.
 Get organized with the Instructional Coaching MegaPack.


4. Agree on a lesson planning document that everyone is comfortable with. This should include the parts needed: whatever components you are planning for (minilesson, read alouds, independent practice, etc.), the learning target for each lesson, and the procedure for completing the lesson. Simple is better.

During the planning session
1. Be aware that this can be a challenging role. When it comes to planning together, there are definitely pros and cons. Pros: teachers can learn and figure things out together. Everyone benefits from everyone else's knowledge and experience. Cons: teachers might feel like they have to agree with things even if they really don't. Everyone has different teaching styles. 

There's really no right answer to this challenge. But research does show that planning together improves student achievement, so we know that the pros outweigh the cons in the long run.
  
2. Designate roles for planning together. Someone should write down the thoughts of the meeting. I preferred to scribe myself, because it was easier for me to do this while facilitating than it was to leave it to another teacher. However, most teachers also prefer to record their own notes so they have their own thinking documented. Someone else may serve as a timekeeper, or the person who asks clarification questions.


3. Start with the standards. Discuss what they entail and what kinds of thinking students need to do in order to master them. Consider the unit assessment or state assessment. Use this to create learning targets: step-by-step learning objectives to help students do the requisite learning and move into mastering the standard. Then chunk these over the days you think it will take for teachers and students to work through them.



4.  Plan what will to do, what materials to use, and what to say on a day-to-day basis. Be specific and clarify. Ask questions that help teachers envision themselves teaching and make sure that everyone understands. This might include...
  • What does that look like?
  • When __ happens, what do you say? what do you do?
  • How do students complete this assignment?
  • Can you show us a sample problem? (Asking a teacher to model on the spot can be scary, but it's so valuable for each teacher to see it in action!)
  • How do you introduce that idea?
  • How would you say that in kid-friendly language? 
  • How will we know if the student is being successful? What will that look like? 
  • How will we assess this standard? How will it be scored or evaluated? When will that happen?
**If you're planning to model or coteach, read more about how to prepare for this in next week's post!

5. Get participation from different voices. If you notice one teacher leading the conversation with little participation from others (or if you catch yourself doing this - I am a verbal processor, so I have to catch myself frequently), pause to get some responses from others. You could say...
  • You have so many ideas, Mr. So and So! Thank you for sharing. What do you think, So and So?
  • Does anyone have a response to that?
  • Do you agree/disagree?
  • Ms. So and So, I'm noticing you seem to be concerned/quiet/reserving your comments/keeping your thoughts to yourself/nodding. Can you tell us a little bit about what you're thinking?
  • Would you share your thinking about this, So and So?
  • Ms. So and So, I've seen you do something like that in your classroom really well. Can you share that with us?
  • Has anyone tried this?
  • Does anyone see any possible problems with this approach?
After the planning session
1. Make sure everyone has what they need to do their job. This might mean requesting books from the library, or sharing an activity digitally or on paper. It's also important to share the final lesson plan with everyone - give everybody a digital or paper copy of the ideas they put together.
2.  Follow up. Check in and see how the plans are going. Ask teachers about what adjustments could be made to your planning process.

Did you check out my post from last week? It's all about conducting a coaching cycle! And check back next week for my next post in the series: Preparing to Model and Coteach!

Other posts in the Summer Coaching Series: 

One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
Coaching teachers doesn't have to feel like deep sea diving with no oxygen tank. Get my free download, Coaching in Classrooms:  A Free Download to help you get started.

  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!

 
Pin It

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Conducting a Coaching Cycle: The Instructional Coaching Series

Conducting an instructional coaching cycle can be scary and stressful, but these five steps will help you get started with coaching in classrooms! Learn about how instructional coaches can support teachers through choosing and inviting a teacher to work with you, planning together, coteaching, debriefing, and more, all bundled into one friendly coaching cycle. These strategies and ideas will provide you with an easy approach to coaching! Are you afraid to work with teachers? Many coaches are. Working with teachers is scary. This is why: 
  • You don't know if they like you.
  • You think they don't want your help.
  • You don't know if you're good enough to model or coteach.
  • You don't always have all of the answers.
  • You feel like a fraud.
Ring any bells? Those are my deepest, darkest fears. Here's what I say to myself to get over it:

I am not here to be the best or to have all of the answers. I am here to support teachers so that they can provide the best possible instruction to kids. No one person has to be perfect; we're a community of people learning together. We can't learn together if I don't put myself out there. 

Still scared? How about this:
It's your job.

Haha! I know. That maybe didn't help too much. But the point is that the only way teachers are going to grow is if you can swallow your pride (and fear) and get into those classrooms.

Here are a few tips for setting up a coaching cycle with a teacher. You can get more tips in the free download at the bottom of this post!

#1: For your first round of coaching, choose carefully.
Start with the teacher who has some stuff going on but who'd like to try something new. That means DO NOT start with the teacher who doesn't like you (gasp!) or the teacher who has every single amazing thing going on. Start with a good, solid teacher who'd like to learn a new thing or two. It helps if they have a positive influence over their grade level, too!


Conducting an instructional coaching cycle can be scary and stressful, but these five steps will help you get started with coaching in classrooms! Learn about how instructional coaches can support teachers through choosing and inviting a teacher to work with you, planning together, coteaching, debriefing, and more, all bundled into one friendly coaching cycle. These strategies and ideas will provide you with an easy approach to coaching!
#2 Invite the teacher to work with you.

There are lots of fun ways to do this such as physical or email invitations, or you could go the tried and true route and just ask them.

Either way, make sure that they know a coaching cycle is...
  • flexible based on the needs and goals of the teacher
  • focused on learning students should be doing anyway
  • usually around 2-4 weeks long
  • scheduled at a time that works for teacher and coach
  • about learning and growing together
  • fun and purposeful
Get 8 beautiful coaching invitations in my new Coaching in Classrooms resource!
Or get a free black and white version as part of my free download right below this post!

#3 Plan together. Plan together. Plan together. 
I can't say that enough times. Plan together for EVERYTHING. I'll have a detailed post about collaborative planning coming out later in this series, but for now, just know that you need to plan for a few things together:
Conducting an instructional coaching cycle can be scary and stressful, but these five steps will help you get started with coaching in classrooms! Learn about how instructional coaches can support teachers through choosing and inviting a teacher to work with you, planning together, coteaching, debriefing, and more, all bundled into one friendly coaching cycle. These strategies and ideas will provide you with an easy approach to coaching!
  • What kind of service you will provide. Will you model? Will you coteach? Will you observe and provide feedback? 
  • The learning target for the lesson: what do students need to know and do in this lesson?
  • The lesson. This doesn't have to be really complicated. A simple plan that includes the target, steps in the procedure, and which materials you'll  use should be fine. Embed the vocabulary and the questions in the procedure rather then separating them out. They tend to be forgotten that way.
  • The classroom management plan. Here's a possible system you can try out if there's not one in place.
  • What each person will do. I recommend using a three-columned planner to show what is happening during the lesson and what each person's responsibilities are during that time. This is especially important during coteaching.
  • This editable and printable planner is part of my Coaching in Classrooms resource on TpT!

Need ideas for setting up coteaching roles? Here are a few easy ways to share responsibility!

Conducting an instructional coaching cycle can be scary and stressful, but these five steps will help you get started with coaching in classrooms! Learn about how instructional coaches can support teachers through choosing and inviting a teacher to work with you, planning together, coteaching, debriefing, and more, all bundled into one friendly coaching cycle. These strategies and ideas will provide you with an easy approach to coaching!
  
#4 Build in time to debrief.
Meet with the teacher after a lesson to reflect on a few things. Have a plan for debriefing.
  • The effectiveness of the plan on student learning
  • What the next steps should be
  • What kind of support should be provided

#5 Work through the cycle together.
If you need to make changes, do it! Don't stick to modeling for the duration of the cycle, and don't stick to 50/50 coteaching, either. Change the type and level of support to respond to the needs of the teacher and students.

Conducting an instructional coaching cycle can be scary and stressful, but these five steps will help you get started with coaching in classrooms! Learn about how instructional coaches can support teachers through choosing and inviting a teacher to work with you, planning together, coteaching, debriefing, and more, all bundled into one friendly coaching cycle. These strategies and ideas will provide you with an easy approach to coaching!

Get the Coaching Cycle Checklist in The Instructional Coach's Book of Plans & Lists!

Next week, I'm going to share all about how to plan collaboratively. Be sure to check back and read that post, because it's a BIG one!

Other posts in the Summer Coaching Series: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
Get the coaching menu, a coaching invitation and thank you note, and tips & forms to help you start working with teachers by filling in your email address below!

  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!

 
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Saturday, July 13, 2019

How to introduce yourself as an instructional coach: The instructional coaching series

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers! When I first started coaching, I just...started. I was introduced during a faculty meeting, I gave a professional development day on shared reading, and I set up my room. When I met teachers, I said, "Hi! I'm excited to be here! Thanks!"

They had no idea what I was supposed to be doing.
Previously, they hadn't really had an "instructional coach". They had someone who filled my position, but this person was used as more of an administrative type person, so the teachers didn't have experience with coaching.

My principal asked me to start visiting classrooms so I could get to know the school and faculty, so I did.
Teachers asked what they were doing wrong.
I started planning with grade levels during PLC.
Teachers wanted me to make their copies.
I looked over data to figure out which students needed intervention.
Teachers said I should pull small groups and do it myself.

Basically, without a good introduction to my role as an instructional coach, there was a lot of misunderstanding as to why I was even on that campus. 

And it made doing my job very difficult.

If I could go back and have a redo (don't we all want at least a couple of redos?), this is what I'd do instead: I'd explicitly introduce myself and my role to the faculty as a whole. Then I'd reiterate it in grade levels. Then, when I was approaching individuals for coaching work, I'd share it again.

Here are three different ideas for introducing yourself and your role as an instructional coach! The best part? These ideas will work even if you've already been working with a school. You can re-introduce yourself and your role to start the year heading in a different direction!

Choose a method that suits your personality and your approach. You want people to know who you are and what you're about right away!

ONE BIG IMPORTANT TIP: Make sure you and your principal are on the same page when it comes to your coaching roles and responsibilities. It's important to have a conversation before you introduce your role to your teachers. Need a checklist to be prepared for this conversation? Check out the Roles and Responsibilities checklist from The Coach's Book of Plans and Lists.

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers!
#1 Coaching Roles Presentation
For this idea, you'll need to "borrow" a few minutes during a faculty meeting to share about your role as a coach. 

Prepare a PowerPoint or a Keynote presentation that includes an introduction to you as a person, as well as your instructional background. 
Include the kinds of support you can provide to teachers, such as what a coaching cycle can look like and what you can do to help them work towards their goals. 
Explicitly introduce which content areas, grade levels, or subjects you're going to work with, if you are limited in any way.
Need a ready-to-go (but editable) presentation? Get it in my Coaching in Classrooms resource. 

#2 Coffee with the Coach
If you're unable to secure time with the faculty, you can host a little before or after school event (or you can park yourself in one spot and make yourself available all day for people to come by). I recommend hosting this event in your own room, if you have space, so people can start to become comfortable with visiting your space in a nonthreatening way.

Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers! Send out little invitations that include the day, time, and location of "Coffee with the Coach". 
Prepare a nice coffee bar, and make sure that this bonus is noted on your invitation. (In other words, a doughnut or breakfast burrito never hurt anybody.) You want people to show up on their own accord, so you have to provide that nice incentive.
As people arrive, make sure you have written out how you plan to introduce yourself. 
It helps to have your services available in writing, too, such as on a Coaching Menu that you can hand out to people as they arrive. 
You can get a Coaching Menu as part of my Coaching in Classrooms resource, or you can join my email list at the end of this post to get one for free in your inbox.

 
#3 Coaching Newsletter
Again, if you aren't able to get time with your entire faculty, sending out an introductory newsletter will at least get the ball rolling. 
In your newsletter, include a bit about who you are (with points that will help people relate to you such as interest, hobbies, or family life) and your instructional background. Make sure to explain simply the services you plan to provide and the grades/content areas you are able to work with. Make it easy to contact you via a phone number or an email address.
You're unlikely to get many responses to it, but you want to make it immediately clear that you're there to support teachers towards their goals. It's important to be available and reachable!
Need ideas for introducing yourself as an instructional coach? Without a good introduction, teachers might not know what job you are there to do. This post shares three fun ways for introducing yourself and your role as a coach. Try a newsletter or a presentation, or even a fun "Coffee with the Coach" event to share your role and responsibilities with teachers!
No matter what method you choose, make sure you do these things:
  • Introduce yourself as a human. (begin making connections to people)
  • Introduce yourself as an educator (this builds credibility)
  • Describe the services you can and will provide 
  • Explain how to contact you for these services
  • Assure teachers that you are there to work towards their goals of educating their students
The posts for the blog series this summer are: 
One lucky duck will win the Instructional Coaching Kit, an over $170 value!


Included in this kit (some of these are affiliate links: 


And four people will win the Digital Coaching Giveaway: the Instructional Coaching Resource Bundle and my all-new Coaching in Classrooms resource! Over $75.00 worth of products!

To enter this contest, follow the rafflecopter directions below to enter. Plus, you can add one new entry with each blog post that comes out in the Summer Coaching Series!

If you're really serious about winning, you can share a takeaway (bonus points) every single day between now and August 17, when the giveaway closes.




 
 
I've put together a collection of free tools for instructional coaches:
  • Tips for getting started
  • Coaching services menu
  • Classroom sweep form
  • Coaching invitations (black and white)
  • Using the gradual release model to coach teachers
  • Coaching plan
  • Observation guide
  • Debriefing sentence starters
  • Thank you notes
You can get them all by entering your email address below!
 
 
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