Coaching is becoming common across many organizations. If coaching works for top athletes, Fortune 500 companies, and other professions, why shouldn’t educators capitalize on the benefits of coaching as well?
Classroom coaches can enhance a teacher’s individual teaching practices, provide support and encouragement, build upon their existing strengths, help them overcome daily classroom challenges, and increase effective interactions in the classroom. This leads to positive outcomes for students and increased professional development and growth for the teacher.
A typical teacher’s response to learning they’ll be working with a coach are often affected by their previous experiences. I’ve received a range of responses when I’ve asked teachers, “What do you think working with a coach will be like?” Some teachers remember a coach from their childhood yelling or screaming at them on the sports field. They fear that the classroom coach experience might be the same. Others have shared images of compassionate and encouraging individuals who helped them overcome challenges, provided resources, and gave support.
No matter how you feel about your past coaching experiences, building an open, collaborative, and positive coaching relationship can truly enhance your overall quality of life in the classroom.
Teachers are used to supporting others, providing instruction and building relationships with students. Transitioning into being coached can be difficult. Your ability to build a collaborative trusting relationship with your coach is one of the key ingredients for success. It’s important to know what you as a teacher can do to enhance the coaching relationship and make the most of your coaching experience.
You’ve heard it said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” I would propose this addition: “Except in teaching!” Of course, we know the first moments of the first day of school are critical to establishing a tone for the year ahead, and we put a lot of energy into those first moments. It’s always fun to prepare our classrooms for the new school year because we are full of renewed hopes and dreams.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve interacted with teachers, coaches, and administrators as the “new” year begins for the adults and children in their care. What I am hearing has a common theme—frustration, disappointment, hope. What is going on? Well, maybe we can use the CLASS to think this through.
So, it’s June and you have just wrapped up the year with your students. They have made tremendous progress over the course of the year. The routine of the day flows naturally, the expectations about what is and isn’t appropriate behavior is fairly clear to all of them (and to you), and you leave the school year feeling confident that they are ready for the new challenges that lie ahead. You go into the summer months looking forward to a much needed break, but also looking forward to your new group of students in the fall.