As a product developer, I’m always on the lookout for effective tips and strategies to infuse into our professional development resources. To that end, my team interviewed Amy Stephens Cubbage, who at one point served as Teachstone's MTP Coaching Program Manager.
Amy brought a ton of coaching tips to the table, but one thing she said really stuck with me. When I asked her about how she might mentor a teacher on a particularly complex or overwhelming dimension, she offered the following advice:
“Tackle one indicator [at a time], and as a coach, stay true to your word.”
I found this advice to be really useful, not only because breaking down a dimension to the indicator or behavioral marker level makes the dimension far less intimidating, but also because she emphasized the importance of staying true to your word. It reminded me that trust is at the heart of all relationships—coaching or otherwise.
For example, if you tell a teacher that you will only be looking for evidence of one indicator during your next informal observation, then stick to it. It can be tempting to point out missed opportunities across other indicators or dimensions, but trust is all about keeping promises. When coaching teachers, establishing trust is integral to developing strong relationships, and ultimately, affecting change in their classroom interactions.
You can find the full interview with Amy, as well as interviews with other CLASS experts, in the Instructional Support Strategies online course.
Share your coaching tips in the comments below!
When I first learned about CLASS Group Coaching—a training for early childhood professionals about building relationships with children—I was more than a little interested. This, I thought. This is what teaching is all about. It seems to be an obvious concept, but once we dig deeper, we are able to identify the whys and hows of our interactions. CLASS Group Coaching allows us to identify the benefits of our classroom relationships with our students and helps us be intentional in our daily practices. It allows us to utilize each moment we have with our students to deepen our understanding of their perspectives and genuinely connect with them as people. It helps us see the world from their view and guide their learning in a way that is relevant to them.
Since the coronavirus has disrupted many of our in-person plans, you might be trying to figure out how you can transition in-person coaching to online coaching. Online coaching can open a number of doors for coaches and teachers that might not be an option in face-to-face work.
Even top athletes rely on the support of a coach to improve their game. Players need coaches to help identify their unique strengths and grow their talents while increasing their skills in areas of challenge. To do all this, coaches spend lots of time observing athletes while they practice—giving real-time feedback based on current efforts, breaking skills down as needed to cultivate mastery, and encouraging players to keep trying in pursuit of their goals.
As coaches, we've all encountered resistant teachers. Resistance to coaching can take many forms. You might encounter a teacher who is direct, making it clear they don't want your help. Or a teacher who is passive, putting off your meetings and recommendations, or acting like they're open to coaching but never actually changing their behavior. While this can be frustrating, you shouldn’t assume the teacher is to blame.