There is no doubt that if I could create time for coaches I would be a very rich woman.
And if I were very wealthy, I probably would be writing this blog from Bora Bora, taking excessive amounts of breaks to jump off the hut into the water and grab a shell that would contain a 1 pound black pearl that the man who fans me with palm fronds would string onto a necklace…WAIT!
Let me start again here.
Well good morning, fine educators! I am so pleased that you have chosen to join me here on this fine morning/afternoon/evening as we delve into the art of instructional coaching and how to mentor.
Okay. So that’s a little overboard, too. I’m a gal of extremes…so sue me!
Really what I’d like to share with you is how to create more time instructional coaching by prioritizing your calendar and the work that you do. It really will help you grasp how you will spend quality time with the teachers who need most support.
So, here are some powerful but easy-to-implement actions in prioritizing the instructional coaching role. I’m excited for you to make every moment with your teachers count – for them and for you.
Tip One: Privately organize (so as to not be evaluative) the teachers in your coaching cadre by intensive, strategic and benchmark in relation to how they’re performing in relation to your school’s instruction focus areas.
Directly coach and have contact with the intensive teachers once a week, the strategic teachers at least once every 2 weeks and the benchmark/advanced teachers at least once a month.
Tip Two: Create a coaching calendar to give focus to your instructional coaching.
You are less likely to be pulled to substitute at the last minute for an absent teacher, attend a meeting on behalf of the principal or be pulled to fix the copier (ha!) when you are moving around your school with purpose.
If people ask you to do something that might be outside of your position, you can say, "I would love to help – but I’m booked in classrooms until 9:30, I’ll check back with you then and I’d be glad to help!"
What you’ll find is that they will have long moved on by the time you check back.
Tip Three: Schedule the debriefing of the coaching cycle during the pre-conference. You will spend much less time chasing down the teacher in the end. When you honor the teacher’s time, too, you strengthen the relationship!
Tip Four: Listen. Really listen. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to have "coach-able moments" with a teacher that will lead you more informally into the instructional coaching cycle.
Use these times to pre-conference and before you know it, you’re right back into the coaching cycle and getting that teacher feedback and notes.
Look for natural extensions of coaching in less formal settings – they can be your most fertile coaching locations!
What do you think? Can you see how these little tips all add up to more coaching time? I certainly hope you can see it, because I have so much evidence from the field that they DO work!
So, tell me which tip you’ll implement first…leave a comment! I love to hear about YOUR next steps and encourage along the way!