10 Things Great Coaches Do Over the Summer
Great athletes make their careers in the off-season. The same is true for coaches that focus on the development of teachers. So much of what makes them amazing coaches is practice and preparation.
At CT3, we are fortunate to meet and train hundreds of coaches in schools across the country. We are often asked what effective educators do over the summer to prepare themselves, their teachers, and their students for the coming school year. Here are 10 practices that great coaches do during summer break:
- Summer Outreach: A great coach reaches out to their teachers/staff during the summer to strengthen relationships. This can be in the form of text messages, phone calls, thank-you cards, etc. Make it more personal and stay away from including work questions or ‘asks’ in the same breath.
- Thinking Ahead: A great coach prioritizes needs of the teacher. This means identifying teachers needing immediate support during the first days and weeks of the school year, so that “re-norming” classrooms during the year can be minimized.
- Scheduling Superstar: A stellar coach works over the summer to develop an effective calendar for themselves during the school days, weeks, and year. We find it helpful to block off time for specific buckets, such as checking in with students, conducting walk-throughs of a grade or building, making parent phone calls, grade-level planning and Real Time Teacher Coaching.
- Refresh Your Space: Many coaches spend time before school starts decorating their coaching office or space, so that when teachers arrive, it reflects urgency, mindsets, and open communication. Make your own anchor charts and post coaching expectations, the four steps of the No-Nonsense Nurturer model, meeting norms, or data targets.
- Self-Reflection: Great coaches reflect on their own strengths and weaknesses, as well as personal and professional goals for the year and beyond. They also reach out for feedback from leaders or peers.
- Connecting with Leaders: A great coach meets with school leadership to review goals and targets. Deciding on norms, such as frequency of school walkthroughs, is helpful to do before the year gets under way.
- Students First: An effective coach makes moves to stay connected with the communities of the students they serve, even during the summer. Visit restaurants, playgrounds, stores, or attend students’ summer programs or activities.
- Role Plays: Great coaches know that practice makes perfect! Maximize your time during car rides, morning coffees, etc. to role-play conversations or scenarios so that you are prepared come August. Role-plays for teams of coaches, admins, or during staff PD are particularly useful to norm expectations and help new staff members.
- Mindset Work: A great coach prepares to address the mindsets of their teachers or school staff members. Review literature and collect and share an inventory of strategies that can be utilized to combat disempowering mindsets.
- Self-Care: A great educator takes care of themselves so they can give 100% to their students every day! Take steps to be healthy and find balance so that when the school year begins, you are focused on the role of developing teachers.
For more thoughts on being an educator during the summer months, click here.
Co-authored by William Sprankles, CT3 Associate and Katy McArthur, CT3 Program Manager