As a newbie to the blogging world, I thought I’d try my hand in getting my thoughts and ideas out there!
Being an instructional coach (iCoach) over the past six years has given me valuable learning experiences and has allowed me to grow both personally and professionally. It is time to share this learning with whomever will listen! I have navigated through professional development with some of the gurus of Instructional Coaching: Jim Knight, Diane Sweeney and Doug Reeves, and I have taken bits and pieces of their respective philosophies to form my own values as an iCoach today. If I had to sum up the pieces of the puzzle, it would sound like this:
1) Build and foster relationships: Without these relationships, we are nothing. Getting to know the staff and earning their trust is the key to success. How do you do this? However you can! Each respective teacher/staff member is unique and you need to figure out what makes them tick.
2) We are non-evaluative: It is not my job to come in and judge you; I am here to help you, learn from you, succeed with you, and struggle with you all in order to meet the needs of our students.
3) Support and encourage: “Whenever you need me, I’ll be there”. The Jackson 5 nailed it. It sounds cheesy, but to be a great iCoach, I have to follow through and be in the trenches with my teachers, and encourage them to try new things and be innovative.
4) Confidentiality: Conversations or coaching cycles with teachers should stay there. It’s the Vegas rule when it comes to coaching. It sounds counter-intuitive, but you also do not want to share how great a lesson or activity went while coaching with a teacher–leave it up to the teacher to decide what they would like to talk about. If teachers and/or staff hear you talking about other teachers, then they think you are talking about them as well. Be it good or bad. It is just a sticky situation and you should avoid it to keep your credibility!
5) Find your team: Sometimes being an iCoach can be a lonely gig. I may not always be valued, or I may feel that all of my hard work is unappreciated. Find your place on a team where you can feel that support and encouragement that you readily hand out but may not often receive. It is your safe, happy place!