Calling all instructional coaches...

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mrsf70, Jun 10, 2018.

  1. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Jun 10, 2018

    I'm looking for feedback on being an instructional coach. Pros? Cons? Other advice? I'm ready for a change from the classroom and trying to decide where to go next.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I have one class to go so I can have my principal's license, which will allow me to make the leap from Resident Educator Mentor (it's an Ohio thing) to Instructional Supervisor. The biggest con I have heard is the loss of direct time with students, but you would still be working to help children to learn.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Jun 11, 2018

    In my district, you work extra weeks in the summer. That's a big detractor for me.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2018
  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Positives-You don't have the responsibility of a full classroom. Less work to take home.

    Negatives-Adults can suck. Less direct work with children. Also, these are the first positions to get cut in a budget crisis, which seems to be All The Time now.
     
  6. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Jun 11, 2018

    Thanks everyone. I totally agree adults can suck. I've always loved working with my students, but this last year really burned me out. A coaching position came open in my building, which is what prompted my original post. My P thinks I would be good at it...
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    I have been a coach for the past three years. It's been a really intense experience. I travel between multiple sites, which can be really lonely since I don't really 'belong' anywhere. The best days are in classrooms, co-teaching and collaborating with teachers.

    I was not prepared for the politics and challenges of the job. If you'd like to know more specifics, feel free to ask or PM me. I'm heading back to the classroom to teach in the fall and I cannot wait to have my own class again!

    Positives (since I travel between sites): no recess duty or field trips, no report cards, getting to work in lots of different classrooms, lots of PD opportunities

    Negatives: not everyone gets on board so it can be super awkward forming trusting relationships with reluctant teachers and principals, the kids know you don't have any authority so you have to really up your management without being able to dole out consequences or have any relationship with the students, it can be lonely without a network

    If it's something you're interested in, give it a try! I wasn't sure, but I gave it a go and I'm really glad I did!
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I applied for a job earlier this spring and withdrew my application when I reread the description carefully and realized it was actually half coaching and half intervention. Personally, dealing with adults is my least favorite part of the job!

    Our instructional coach seems to really enjoy her job. She is very outgoing and personable, so people tend to like her on a personal level and I think that helps. Even so, people are resentful that there is an adult in the building who isn't working with kids at all.

    I try really, really hard not to judge other positions, because I'm not a classroom teacher either and realize that nobody really has any idea what I do all day. That said, even I find myself feeling a little resentful that we're spending a full salary on someone who doesn't work with kids. It can be really frustrating when we're in data teams talking about how we can possibly rearrange intervention groups to meet needs, and how great it would be if we could have another person/group...and there is another person sitting right there who doesn't do groups. My point is, I think you need to have thick skin!

    I would also dislike not having a team. I'm in a large school where people do everything with their teams, so that would be hard. I did have one position where I didn't really have a team, but I was in a small school where many grade levels only had one teacher, so it wasn't a big deal. Ours seems to kind of be "in" with the intervention and EL teachers, so I'm sure that helps a ton. I know some schools don't have all of the specialists that we have, though. It seems that the classroom teachers feel they need to keep her at arm's length (kind of like an admin) so it's harder to develop work friendships.

    Obviously, the big pro would be not having to deal with a classroom and all of the stress that comes with that. I could see that being a huge perk, but personally would miss working with the kids/having a direct impact on their success. I'd also make sure you feel really confident about people looking to you as "having all of the answers" for multiple grade levels.

    If you get to the point where you're interviewing for jobs, I'd make sure one of your questions is whether you'd be pulled to sub or cover other responsibilities. Under our last P, the instructional coaches were pulled almost daily to sub for at least part of the day. My current P insisted that this wouldn't happen under any circumstances, and it doesn't. She splits classes instead. Unless you have no problem getting subs in your area (we're always short), I'd be wary of any answer that's something like, "Well, philosophically we definitely don't believe in that, and of course it would be an absolute last resort, but we could use you if we have to."
     
  9. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    I'm curious about how this works. What is the role of the instructional coach, if it's not working with kids? I work in classrooms with teachers and kids since my approach to coaching involves a lot of co-teaching, modeling strategies and demonstration lessons. Very rarely do I simply sit back and observe.

    People make comments about how 'easy' my job must be, but there are challenges. It just looks different from the challenges of classroom teaching. But yes, you have to have thick skin and not take people's negative comments personally. A good admin will set you up to be successful with their teachers. It all depends on how the role is presented to teachers.
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Ours runs weekly planning meetings for each grade level, meets with teachers 1:1, does walkthroughs/observes and gives feedback, runs data teams, runs our MTSS process, and plans and delivers PD. We had one teacher who really struggled this year, and the coach did do some teaching/modeling in her room to try to help, but that's not really her regular role. In my building, most of the time if there is a strategy they want modeled for all of us, they (as in admin or the coach) will find a teacher who is doing it and video it for the staff.

    When I'm speaking about wanting someone to work with kids, I think many people think it would be more beneficial to have an additional interventionist who would regularly see 9-10 intervention groups daily. Assuming 5-6 kids per group, this would mean at least an additional 50 kids in the building getting intervention. I work in a very low SES building where our kids come into K years behind developmentally. Even if the classroom instruction is amazing, it's just not enough for most kids. I've only worked in schools like this...in a school that truly had all of their intervention needs "covered," I could see how people wouldn't think that way. I personally don't think the work our coach does isn't valuable, I'm just not sure it's more valuable than more direct instruction for kids.
     
  11. mrsf70

    mrsf70 Companion

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 6:26 AM

    Great insights! Thank you all for your input. I've seen coaches be super involved, hands-on and amazing with staff. I've also seen coaches that I've wondered exactly what it is they do all day, which is how it's been in my current position. I'm not sure I have thick enough skin, which goes along with adults can suck. I guess I'll worry about it if I get called to interview.
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 7:02 AM

    That makes sense. We don't have intervention teachers, so I guess that's why that conversation hasn't come up. And since I'm assigned to so many different sites, I kinda of just fly in and out, doing as much as I can when I'm there.
     
  13. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jun 12, 2018 at 7:03 AM

    This could be a great chance to make some changes! Be the coach you would have wanted as a teacher.
     
    mrsf70 likes this.

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