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The Necessity of Instructional Coaching: Helping New Teachers Thrive

September 12, 2018 / by Lily Jones

Six years ago, I transitioned out of the classroom and became a part-time instructional coach. The other part of my time was spent working here at Teaching Channel. In retrospect, this was a pretty perfect combination. After being a classroom teacher, I got the opportunity to see into other people’s classrooms in two very different ways.

At Tch, I got to learn from the masterful teachers we film. I learned about all sorts of new approaches, initiatives, and research in education. In my coaching practice, I got to put into action what I learned at Tch while drawing on my own experience as a classroom teacher.

Spending this time learning in other classrooms felt like such a gift. As teachers, we are often confined within our four walls and rarely get a chance to learn by watching other teachers. But as coaches, we can help teachers see different approaches without even leaving their classrooms!

But coaching, like teaching, is about so much more than just instructional approaches. To truly support new teachers, we need to begin by remembering how simultaneously overwhelming and exciting having your first classroom can be. I mean truly remember: close your eyes and try to transport yourself back into those feelings. For me, remembering my first year teaching makes me think of my persistent stomach ache, late nights planning lessons, tracking down used kids books to fill my empty bookshelves, and the addictive feeling of watching kids become true lovers of learning.

After years of working with new teachers, I’ve come to realize what a gift having an instructional coach can be. I’ve also come to realize how, just like teaching, there’s so much more to coaching than meets the eye. To me, coaches fully supporting new teachers looks like:

  • Realizing (again and again and again) that there is no one “right” way to teach and that no one approach works in every situation or with every kid.

  • Equipping new teachers with toolboxes of strategies to try and the ability to reflect on those strategies. Check out our New Teacher Survival Guide for lots of resources to share.

  • Listening, laughing, high fiving, and crying together. Just being there with a new teacher throughout all the triumphs and hiccups of a first year. This can be easier said than done! Watch how Joshua Parker builds strong coaching relationships in this video.

https://learn.teachingchannel.com/video/instructional-coach-teacher-relationships

VIDEO: Building Coaching Relationships

  • Encouraging a growth mindset and a passion for inquiry. These are the tools that will help new teachers continue to improve and thrive, long after your coaching relationship has ended.

https://learn.teachingchannel.com/video/inquiry-sessions

VIDEO: Using Teacher Inquiry to Support ELLs

Putting together all that I’ve learned from my coaching experience and my work at Tch, I created a deep dive about instructional coaching. In it, you’ll find all sorts of resources about how coaches can fully support new teachers. Whether you’re a brand new coach or a seasoned veteran, you’ll learn new approaches to try. I would love to have you use the resources in the Deep Dive to support new teachers to have successful, fulfilling, and effective starts to their teaching careers.

Topics: Professional Learning, New Teachers, 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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