I’m not a fan of instructional coaches. Honestly, it is because, in my almost 11 years of teaching, I’ve never had one that helped me grow as an educator. I know amazing coaches exist; I’ve just never experienced one. So, this post is pretty much my wishlist that can help you become a stronger coach for your team.
People don’t respond to people they don’t trust. Make your staff trust you by simply being honest. If you don’t know an answer to a question or how to do something, be honest about it. We know coaches are human, but nothing is more frustrating than to be given inaccurate information or the run around simply because they don’t have answers or solutions.
If you make a mistake, own it and fix it. If fixing it means teachers will have to do more work, then you should do the work to make it right. I’ve had coaches that have caused minor to big mistakes and then not own up to it and then blame someone else! Do you think I trusted those coaches? Heck no! Our relationship was forever damaged. I lost respect for them, and nothing they did moving forward was credible.
Finally, keep your word. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. I had a coach tell my team they would help us test our kids. We were like cool! They are actually going to help us! When team members reached out for their help, guess what, they didn’t do it and then told my teammates to take care of it themselves.
Establishing trust is the best way to get your team on your side. It establishes credibility. You can deliver excellent information, but if your team doesn’t trust you, they won’t receive it. Teachers won’t apply what you’ve given them, and you’ll never get the results you want.
I mean, really be supportive. Don’t just give the line, if you need anything let me know. Because chances are, they won’t. There are so many ways you can be supportive. Think back to when you were a teacher. What did support look like to you and your team? Here are some different ways you can be supportive.
- Print off resources like tests, scantrons, centers
- Provide a bank of resources
- Do something for the teachers that they don’t have time to do
- Eliminate tasks when possible
- Provide solutions to problems
- Be open to feedback
- Be flexible with deadlines when possible
- Set reasonable deadlines
- Have clear expectations
- Provide examples
- Send friendly reminders
Teachers have always had a lot on their plate, and there’s even more now. If you can find a way to support them and make their job a little easier, your team will appreciate you more than you know.
There’s nothing worse than an unmotivated and lackadaisical instructional coach. If you aren’t passionate about your job, then why should teachers respect you. I’ve actually had coaches tell me they took the position because they got tired of all the hard work that comes with being a classroom teacher. This is the biggest slap in the face. Not only were they flaunting that they are doing less work for more money, they let me know they didn’t take their position seriously. Them becoming a coach was a way to escape the classroom. Any position in education has to be executed with passion. We are directly impacting the quality of our students’ futures.
I hope this post helps current and future coaches meet the needs of the teachers they support. I know there are awesome coaches out there, but there are some bad seeds yall. Really bad. And some of us have, unfortunately, had the experience of working with them. The most important take away is to make sure you are building great relationships with your team if you want your team to give you the results you need.