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What coaches can be doing right now to support teachers and students

This blog series is aimed at helping educators in a time of uncertainty and challenge.

Are you a coach at a school? Has your role shifted significantly these last few weeks? Over the course of the last two months there has been unprecedented change in our approach to education in K-12 schools. Learning has shifted to a virtual space, students are doing work packets or using web-based instruction, teachers are rushing to learn how to instruct through online platforms, and the roles of administrators and coaches have shifted significantly. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been working with colleagues at CT3 on blogs and resources to support coaches. In recent conversations with coaches across the country, many of the same themes are shared, including:

  1. Things continue to shift based on unforeseen challenges.
  2. My role in this virtual space has shifted and it may or may not include coaching.
  3. The challenges experienced by teachers are varied.
  4. I don’t even know what questions to ask because of where we are at right now.


We want to assure you if you are feeling some or any of these challenges, you are not alone and that others in your role are experiencing the same things.  We don’t have a solution for you, and we don’t have a list of solutions for these problems. But given our conversations with coaches from around the country we can share a few things that coaches are finding useful so far.

  1. Continue to check in with teachers weekly on Zoom. This will help maintain your relationships and allow you to support them if they’re struggling emotionally.  This is also a time to figure out what challenges they are experiencing to prioritize their needs. Because of the rapidly changing landscape and unforeseen circumstances/challenges that have arisen from moving instruction to a virtual space, this can help you individualize support. Virtual office hours are another format that this support could take.


  1. Provide lesson plan support and do virtual walk throughs where you watch a recorded lesson. Providing support is critical, and so is providing feedback and celebrations on lesson plans and virtual lessons. 


  1. Many of the coaches we have talked to in recent weeks have expressed how teachers are doing an excellent job reaching out and checking in with students. This is amazing! However, one challenge folks have experienced is that some students have been difficult to get a hold of. As a coach or leadership team member, work on a plan to support teachers in getting a hold of these students and prioritize what you can do to reach out to these students and their families. 


  1. Continue to check in with your coach/mentor. Please feel free to reach out to any of the associates at CT3 to problem solve and have a thought partner when you are experiencing a challenge. Sometimes a sounding board can provide invaluable questions, feedback and suggestions that can push your thinking. And definitely keep track of what you are finding that works! With so many brand-new challenges, if you have a data point of celebration or success, let us know. We work with schools and districts across the country and want to unite to share best practices!


What challenges have you experienced? What support do you need right now? What have you found that works? Reply in the comments to and let us know.

By Heidi Towne, Associate, CT3

Our self-paced No-Nonsense Nurturer online course is taken by thousands of educators every year. Click here to access hours of content, classroom resources, and hundreds of videos, including interviews with real teachers on how they build relationships.

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