It’s a new year! I work with so many coaches across the country, and this year I wanted to think through some goals to help them re-commit to Real Time Teacher Coaching for the rest of the year, especially as many schools face challenging periods ahead such as testing and hiring. Here are my top four goals and commitments that I found helpful as a Real Time Teacher Coach to help start 2018 off right:
Create “moments” when coaching your teachers.
I just read the book The Power of Moments, where the author describes moments as meaningful experiences that stand out in our memory. By creating these “moments”, coaches can improve the coaching experience for both teachers and students. A few of the coaches that I work with have even made coaching into a time to celebrate where they create these types of “moments” for teachers! For example, one of the coaches I train consistently shares our “Look Fors” checklist on instructional strategies to show teacher growth from the baseline observation to coaching session, and makes a ceremony of revealing it to teachers. Another coach does a drumroll to reveal growth and celebrates teachers with lunch and coffee. Another also shares shout outs for increased student outcomes over the school-wide announcements (e.g. “Ms. T’s class went from a 40% to an 83% on their exit ticket data. You go Ms. T’s class!”). These moves create “moments” that lead to increased buy-in for coaching and helps teachers feel valued!
Create your Real Time Teacher Coaching schedule, make it a priority, and stick to it!
Coaching is a proactive strategy that increases teacher effectiveness, student engagement and student outcomes. All of the coaches that I work with can see it working and have data to support increased student engagement when they coach and give feedback consistently. However, for many coaches, scheduling is challenging and most admit that if they don’t schedule coaching and prioritize it, it doesn’t happen. Yikes! With all the competing priorities, roles, responsibilities and things that come up during a given day, coaching can often become a second thought – but we know this is not what’s best for students! In order to make sure teachers are receiving consistent support through Real Time Teacher Coaching, start by creating your schedule and blocking out the times that you intend to coach. Then, communicate the coaching schedule with teachers and the rest of your staff so that you are able to hold this time sacred and follow through with all aspects of the Real Time Teacher Coaching cycle. Many coaches I train make their schedule ahead of time, color code their coaching schedule on their calendar and have someone that holds them accountable to that schedule. Remember: consistency communicates care!
Share the why for coaching.
One of the most frequent prompts I give to coaches is to share the “why” with teachers. Not only does hearing the “why” help increase buy-in, but then teachers are able to share this with students, which is a culturally responsive teaching move! So, next time you are asking teachers to complete a deliverable or next step, tell them why. I’ve also sat in countless post-coaching conferences where teachers give feedback to coaches and affirm the coaches’ ability to provide the rationale for different aspects of coaching. For example, I recently observed a Charlotte teacher sharing a “glow” from their coaching relationship: Coach S. always provided the rationale and the “why” behind what she was asking the teacher to do and how that deliverable impacted student learning!
Channel your inner yoga teacher, and don’t hesitate to cue.
One of my personal goals for 2018 is to attend more yoga classes. One thing I noticed that one of my favorite yoga teachers consistently does is scan the room of yogis and cue us in a No-Nonsense and Nurturing tone to make corrections. He also affirms the class when the class is meeting expectations. Every time I am in his class, I think that coaches need to channel their inner yoga teacher – don’t be afraid to cue if it means that the cue can lead to the teacher being more effective and increasing student engagement. The yoga teacher does not wait until after the class to debrief if he sees something wrong with their posture or pose. He says something in the moment, and as a result, more students have proper alignment and a more effective yoga session. So, coaches, I challenge you to channel your inner yoga teacher when you are real-time coaching, and if you see something, be sure to give the teacher a cue so the teacher and students have a successful session. You only have 20 minutes, so you don’t have a second to waste, and you care about your teachers too much to not let them have the most impactful coaching session.
Hopefully these goals and commitments help you start the New Year off on the right foot and help you re-commit to your coaching goals! Have more questions about coaching or need further support? Email us at email@example.com.
By Heidi Towne, CT3 Associate
Click here to watch a short video on how Real Time Teacher Coaching works and here to read more about Heidi’s background and advice for educators.