Saturday, July 10, 2021

What Goes in a Coaching Office Space? Ep. 67 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

There’s not much information in instructional coaching books on how to set up your office space. Most books are about the theory of coaching and not the practical stuff.

If you’re not sure what your coaching office needs or how to set it up, don't worry—I've got you covered.

There are many considerations when designing an instructional coaching office space. On this episode of the Coaching Podcast, I talk about what you can do to get your coaching office set up. 

I share eight different types of work areas and why you may want to include them. I also give ideas for how to do it, even if you have a small space.

Planning Your Instructional Coaching Office Space

The purpose of your instructional coaching room is going to be a little bit different depending on your exact job description and the space you have available. 

Before planning out your room, you want to figure out your role and the responsibilities you have this year. You need to understand the things you're trying to accomplish with that room before you get started planning out your space.

I recommend making a physical list once you’ve gotten a firm grip on your role and responsibilities. You can then turn that list into a map. The map can help you think about flow and movement in your space.

Eight Types of Coaching Space

Here are eight different areas you may want to include to make your room functional and comfortable.

1. Your Private Workspace

In this area, you might write out documentation from classroom visits or work on preparing PDs. You’ll want to organize all of your office supplies for personal use and include a desk or table. There should be an outlet for your computer and preferably a printer nearby.

I kept my teacher documentation binders behind my desk. I wanted to make it clear that it was not public information and was more of a secure private space. A documentation binder is easy to make and can help propel coaching sessions. If you want a resource for creating these binders, check out my Instructional Coaching Binder Megapack on Teachers pay Teachers.

2. Planning Tool Space

As an instructional coach, I was responsible for facilitating and planning PLCs every week with each grade level. I created baskets that included a copy of everything the teachers were given to ensured we all had access to the materials we needed to work. Before they came to my room for professional development, I would grab the basket and put it on the table. I found that if all the resources I needed were in one place, our planning went much smoother.

Image of planning materials for each grade level in coaching office space

3. Teacher Workspace

This area is designed to give teachers room to work and communicate during PD. The idea around it is to have a space to share ideas and not feel cluttered or cramped. In this area, I had large tables with a big basket of office supplies. This allowed teachers to spread out and feel comfortable. These tables were large enough to accommodate support teachers who were part of the planning as well.

4. Teaching Resources

My focus was primarily reading and writing as well as social studies. Most of the resources that we used to plan were books. I had two sections of books in my coaching space. One was dedicated to models for writing. I created a separate basket for each grade level. When they came for planning, the tools were there and they didn't have to drag their basket down the hall. 

The other section of books were classroom sets or multiple copies books. They were organized in baskets with a checkout binder and teachers could check out small collections of books to use with a small group of students.

5. Direct Instruction/PD Space

If you're going to give PD in your room, this is another space that you need to include. I used to do a little bit of professional development at the beginning of our PLCs, so I created a direct instruction space. In that area, I kept my projector, charts, and boards. If I was modeling a lesson, I could create a sample chart and we could build it together. 

Having a direct instruction space was helpful because it kept my office feeling like a classroom. I could model what a lesson would look like, just like if I was in the classroom.

6. Wall Space

The wall is valuable, whether in a classroom or coaching room. It can be used to post anchor charts made during professional development or to create sample charts that teachers might like to use in their upcoming lessons. It's also a good place to keep your calendar. I always posted a large monthly calendar in my room, showing two months of upcoming events.

Image of Direct Instruction/PD Space and Wall Space in a Coaching Office Space

7. Professional Development Resources

This area can have PD resources for you and the teachers you support. I organized and labeled them so that if people needed a recommendation, it was easy to find. I stored my resources in a slightly different place because I wanted to keep them separate and accessible. It was handy having it organized and in one spot so that when teachers needed something, we could find it right away.

8. Conversation Space

I used a guided reading table because my workspace doubled as a conversation space. Some people recommend using a circular table as a dialogue space with teachers because then nobody is the leader. That can help make teachers feel comfortable knowing they can join you and have a calm dialogue there. They can ask for help, tell you their problems, and collaborate with you on some solutions. 

It can be difficult for teachers to admit that they are struggling. If we can create a place that shows that we are trying to work with teachers and be collaborators, then at least our intention is there.

Your Instructional Coaching Room

Those are the eight spaces that I recommend that you have in your coaching area. They will look different depending on your workspace. You also may not need all of them because you might not have certain responsibilities.

You can get a checklist with these areas in my resource called The Instructional Coaches Book of Plans and Lists. It has 40 different forms, including checklists, graphic organizers, and other helpful tools. It also includes a ton of other lists that will help you save your time and stay organized as an instructional coach.

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros of Crowd & Town Creative
 
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