Coaching Teaching: What your education professors didn’t tell you


Your college professors never taught you how to be taught or how coaching teaching is CRITICAL for all of us.  They only taught you how to teach. (And some of us have probably wondered whether we were actually taught THAT!) 

One thing that I never heard and wish I had is that I need on-going refinement of my teachingI’m never “there” and am constantly in the state of arriving…never arrived.

Now that doesn’t have to be a negative thing (being in the constant state of arriving or never being “there”)…it’s just something that we need to work with by building support into our daily teaching lives.  We find in education (and I’m sure countless other professions) that in order for us to be constantly refining our practice and refining the power of our teaching, we all need to be connected to a coach

Now that coach could be an instructional coach, could be a mentor, could be a peer…it doesn’t really matter what we call ‘em, as long as we call!

So, instead of the typical coaching article that focuses on how coaches can coach teachers, I thought we might look at it from a different perspective this week: As a teacher, how do I interact with and learn from my coach?

As someone who has been and is being coached, I’ve learned about how important it is to ask the right questions of my coach and be open to responses and refinement points, even when I might feel a little defensive or feeling like I need to explain myself. 

So here are a few questions to ask your coach when you’re working together – it will help you refine the roles in the coaching relationship so that you can improve your performance…after all, that’s the WHOLE point of being coached!

Question 1: What will it LOOK LIKE when I’ve implemented what you’re suggesting?  What should I be doing?  What should the kids be doing?

Question 2: Can we get together and plan for the lesson?  (All good lessons start with a strong planning session and leave nothing up to chance!)

Question 3: Can you show me what that looks like with my kids?

Question 4: Can you give me immediate feedback?  (Immediate = timely = immediate alteration of practice)

Question 5: Are there any of my colleagues that you think I should see doing this technique?

Coaches typically are highly trained, but oftentimes they take full responsibility and ownership of the coaching when, in fact, it’s a relationship-driven responsibility of both the coach and teacher.  I have seen that teachers who regularly take initiative to be coached have proven to have a better handle on how and what to teach the kids.  GO figure!

So my question for you is this: What do you need to be coached on and who will you reach out to as you improve your practice?  RIGHT NOW leave your responses in the comment section below…we all can support each other but we’ve got to get PUBLIC about what we’re working on!