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Tch Tips: Make the Most Out of Your Coaching Experience

September 20, 2018 / by Lily Jones

You’ve got a coach! Now what?

Coaches can make your teaching life easier by giving you the tools and feedback you need to succeed. But as a busy teacher, sometimes meeting with a coach can feel like just another thing on your long to-do list. How much you get out of your coaching experience is really up to you. Use these tips to make the most of your time spent with your coach:

Build a Strong Coaching Relationship

We know it’s important to spend time building relationships with our students, but it’s just as important to build a strong relationship with your coach. Before digging into teaching practices, learn more about your coach and share things about yourself. Making personal connections is a great first step to developing a positive professional relationship.

In this video, watch how teacher Marquis Colquitt builds a relationship with his coach Joshua Parker. Notice how Marquis and Joshua smile and laugh throughout their work together. Think about the work they must have done to get to this point. While you might not be laughing with your coach right away, think about how you can begin to build a joyful and trusting relationship.

VIDEO: Building Coaching Relationships

VIDEO: Building Coaching Relationships

Set Goals

You may have certain goals that your coach or district wants you to meet, but it’s also important to communicate your individual goals. Think about what you want to get out of this coaching experience. Is there a particular student that's challenging you? Are you struggling with lesson planning? Make a list of all the ways a coach can help you, then prioritize the goals you'd like to start working on. You could also share your list with your coach to see if he or she has particular expertise in any of the areas you highlighted.

Watch Marquis and Joshua go through a coaching cycle together. During the pre-observation meeting, Marquis shares that he'd like to get better at creating and executing text-dependent questions. Through the pre-observation, observation, and post-observation conference, Marquis is able to get feedback from Joshua on how to achieve this goal. Working together to accomplish a goal is more sustainable and enjoyable than tackling it alone.

VIDEO: Transforming Practice Through Coaching

VIDEO: Transforming Practice Through Coaching

Track Progress

A benefit of coaching is that it carves out time for reflection. It’s easy to go day in and day out without taking time to reflect. Meeting with a coach can be a great way to ensure that you check in about your goals and track your progress. Think about doing a free write before meeting with your coach. Write about how your goals are progressing and jot down any new goals you might want to add. It can be helpful to keep all your coaching free writes and notes in one place so you can revisit them and reflect on your progress over time.

Reflection is an essential skill for both students and teachers. In this video, watch National Teachers of the Year reflect on practice and growth. Even the most accomplished teachers are always reflecting, experimenting, and improving.

VIDEO: Reflections on Practice & Growth

VIDEO: Reflections on Practice & Growth

As you go on your coaching journey, be sure to stay open to feedback. Everyone has areas of strength and areas for growth, but if you want to improve, you have to be open to feedback. To truly make the most of your coaching experience, embrace a growth mindset and use your coach as a source of support and inspiration. You and your coach might even want to try using video to capture your progress. Check out Tch Plus to learn more!

Topics: Professional Learning, Coaching

Lily Jones

Written by Lily Jones

Lily Jones taught K/1 for seven years in Northern California. She has experience as a curriculum developer, instructional coach, teacher trainer, and is also a contributing writer for Teaching Channel.

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