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.
The time has come for hard conversations.
That’s the feedback we have been receiving from educators across the country. There are plenty of tough conversations educators are trained, taught, or feel equipped to handle with children and families - gently bringing up a developmental concern, facilitating a disagreement between students, or explaining what happened with the classroom goldfish are all part of a day in the life. But in the last year, since the killing of George Floyd and other Black people at the hands of police, educators are increasingly asking for help in communicating more comfortably with young children about diversity and difference.
I was supposed to be an architect, instead I was a teacher of young children; it felt like my calling.
When I started my coursework, they tasked me with visiting multiple classrooms. It overwhelmed me when in some classrooms, children were crying, teachers were frustrated, and no one seemed to enjoy the day. I thought I had made a mistake. Thankfully, I had a professor who inspired me to continue. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the behaviors I observed in both children and teachers, the professor charged me to uncover the root of those behaviors.
And so, my journey to support social-emotional development began.
This past year of hybrid and virtual learning due to the pandemic highlighted the gaps in learning and the inequities that we already knew existed. It is apparent, now more than ever, that there needs to be a narrow focus on bridging the divides (e.g., digital) that exist and meeting students where they are in order to promote growth and put less emphasis on standardized testing. This would allow teachers to concentrate on curriculum with greater impact, differentiate their instruction, and utilize effective strategies that they know make a difference for children’s outcomes.