I was speaking to a group of administrators last week in Chicago and I got to do one of my most favorite things during the “off” times: just sit and chit chat with people!  I think I end up learning so much by just listening to what principals are asking and what they are struggling with.  One of the question that came up was, “How do I get my teachers to see me as a coach hem in times when I am not their evaluator?”

My answer to the guys I was talking to was this: you can’t.

I am not even sure that that’s even what we want to do, really.  I mean they always need to see you as the administrator and evaluator, so you don’t want to confuse people by changing your role.  But what I think we are really asking in this case is how do I approach my teachers in a way that allows them to be open about improving their teaching?

Here are a few of the things that I shared with the administrators at my table.  Note: They’re small moves, but make a big impact on teachers and help them to feel more comfortable with us as we give feedback:

  1. Tell teachers that you will always be their administrator, but there are times you will be working in collaboration with them about the quality of their teaching and that this will look a lot like coaching
  2. Determine a structure for your coaching that is not the same as the evaluation form or process
  3. Tell the teacher that you will provide feedback to them and suggest things they need to change, but that you are not officially documenting this in their file
  4. Just be trustworthy and keep your word…if you say you’re not going to officially document, then don’t!  If you say that you’re going to show up at 2:40 for an observation, then do! (Trust is so simply built, really!)

If you liked this blog post, then I bet you’ll love this, too!