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September 9, 2021

What Do Coaches Do in September?

Since starting this school year, I’ve been spending time getting to know the five teachers that I’ll be coaching. I began by talking with them about what they want from our coaching relationship and conducting informal observations to get to know each teacher’s class. But while I’ve been doing this, I’ve also been wondering what other coaches have been doing to start the year off right. So I decided to ask!

Get On the Same Page

“With new teachers, I begin the year by having conversations about our expectations of each other. Starting this way helps us to be proactive when bumps in the road arise. For the teachers I am continuing with, our conversations usually begin with what we have learned over the summer — are there new resources we have found? Great professional books we have read? With new and established coaching relationships, our first conversations center on goal setting. I make sure to share my professional goals as well, especially because I will want their feedback on my coaching along the way.”

– Carrie Kamm, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, Oak Park, IL

Build Relationships

“My role as a coach in September mimics what our teachers are doing in the classroom — building community and fostering relationships. During our first month of school, this is a major focus. I meet individually with each of my teachers so that we can develop trusting relationships that center on the knowledge of my teachers’ unique instructional styles. This includes the areas that we identify as their strengths, and areas that can be improved. We develop a professional growth plan and set up a predictable observation and feedback schedule. Additionally, we spend time together planning the instructional scope and sequence for the year, and analyzing our students’ data to ensure that we provide a differentiated approach to teaching and learning.”

–  Katie Lyons, Mentor Resident Coach, Academy for Urban School Leadership, Chicago, IL — Teaching Channel Plus Customer

Set Areas of Focus

“Fresno Unified’s instructional coaches are kicking off the year with three areas of focus: supporting our new teachers, observing and analyzing instructional practice, and supporting our English Learner population. In order to deepen our knowledge about each of these, we are utilizing teacher reflection tools, using video to enhance instructional practice, and studying the ELA/ELD Frameworks (Common Core). Our first book study of the year is on The Art of Coaching: Effective Strategies for School Transformation by Elena Aguilar.”

– Teresa Morales-Young, Administrator, Teacher Development, Fresno Unified School District, Fresno, CA — Teaching Channel Plus Customer

Do Informal Observations

“In September (at a new school), I’m still doing a lot of relationship building. One thing that has been successful for me is informally visiting classrooms and leaving a little note with an appreciation of them, or something that’s going well in their class. Teacher’s are often so overwhelmed at the beginning of the year that it’s nice to have someone notice the good things that are happening!”

– Ruth Corley, Math Coach, San Francisco, CA


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