I don't think I like or even trust the instructional coach

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by Backroads, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2018

    I'm sticking this in the new teacher section because I'm in a new situation and it seemed applicable to future searches upon the search engine of the interweb:

    So, in summary, I moved schools, starting a new grade in a new school, and have been assigned a mentor teacher in the same grade. She's nice, she's helpful, I can ask her anything. She works under the direction of the school's instructional coach.

    Coach seemed initially very nice, knowledgeable, and helpful. I am far from a perfect teacher with much to learn, so I was happy to go to her with plenty of questions, pick her brain, etc. School has been in session 3 weeks. My opinion of her began as she seemed, again, a nice and intelligent woman.

    I walked out of the school today feeling very much the opposite.

    As these three weeks went by, I found my opinion of Coach shifting. My understanding is this is her first year as an instructional coach. My first opinion changes were mild, harmless things: She liked to talk a lot, almost to the point of seemingly just liking to hear herself speak or perhaps sound good. She seemed stuck in the past as far as teaching trends seem to be, at least in my area. Again, entirely harmless things, and there's certainly nothing wrong with hearing different teaching philosophies.

    Then things got weird.

    Again, teaching philosophies and styles change from person to person and everyone has their thing and their preference. Part of our (there's a handful of new teachers) mentoring, one which I love, is a chance to observe other classrooms. We watched one that was nice, busy, but the teacher never shut up and was somewhat inconsistent with expectations and consequences. Another teacher we watched had kids rolling all over the place and this teacher was praised by Coach for being so consistent and strict with her behavior expectations. Wash, rinse, repeat, and I get the impression this is a coach who loves and praises showy classrooms that aren't necessarily stronger in terms of content. My classroom has a Smartboard, which has had some troubles, and I've also never used a Smartboard. So I haven't been able to use it to full effect as much as I would have liked. She outright condemned me saying student engagement is impossible without a Smartboard. She then became upset when, during team planning, I used the term "number bond", declaring it not to be a real thing.

    Another day, completely out of the blue, another teacher whispered to be that, with Coach, take everything she says with a large grain of salt. I have yet to ask more about why this was said and not sure if I dare.

    Now, this really could just be a difference of views and perspectives. I will wrap up this novel, then, by cutting to the chase of why I walked out of school today filling very upset and uncomfortable.

    I happened to walk in on this coach gossiping and ragging on another new teacher's performance with a teacher who has absolutely no connection to the mentoring/coaching program. I don't even want to think if and what was said about me.

    Maybe I'm missing something about connections and maybe there was a legitimate reason for Coach to be talking to Random Teacher, but it's not something I have noticed with the school structure and the whole thing struct me as catty and unprofessional.

    I really don't feel comfortable with this whole coaching situation anymore. I am suddenly very paranoid about her coming into my classroom and I really don't know how and if I should approach the principal about this.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 14, 2018

    YIKES! I'm my school's teacher mentor / coach, and the biggest thing I need from my team is trust. I do that by listening, making suggestions based on the personalities in play, and keeping a confidence. It sounds like your coach is not holding up her end of the bargain.

    In your place, I'd talk with your mentor teacher, but instead of launching into accusations, ask questions. What is the practice for this? Do YOU know what "number bond" is, or am I imagining learning this (hint, I found the answer in a quick search)?

    As for the gossiping part, definitely flat-out tell your mentor that one. Someone needs to catch that early and coach the coach.
     
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  4. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2018

    A Number Bond is definitely a real math concept, although it could only be real in NYS.

    To address your issue, I suggest that you go up the chain of command and document everything.
     
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  5. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2018

    Thanks. It was quite disconcerting.

    I had heard "number bond" since college. If they want to use a different language, that's fine with me, but her freak-out was odd.
     
  6. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Sep 14, 2018

    I would say typically instructional coach positions are not easy to get so I would assume that the chain of command had a good idea of this individuals strengths/ areas for growth when they hired them so I would think that 2 months into the school year is a bit early to be going up the chain of command. I would expect the person/people who hired them have some faith in them and plan to give the person some time to adjust to their role

    You did say they are new to the role, so I would tend to cut them some slack in terms of judging them.

    I would be careful with them as you get to know them. Any time I've been in a new job I've always assumed that I am basically on a prolonged job interview for a year - so I would be cooperative and collaborative but I would be cautious about showing too much vulnerability until you get a better read on them.
     
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  7. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Sep 14, 2018

    These are good thoughts I appreciate. I really don't want to be ultra-catty about it, but overhearing what I heard was off-putting. Now how to figure out how to pull away from her without being too weird about it.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Sep 15, 2018

    As a teacher new to the school, I would NOT go "up the chain of command." There could be a lot of backstory there that you have no idea about, and you don't want to start off on the wrong foot. I would just keep the information that you can't trust the coach in your back pocket, and start limiting interactions with her. If she asks how things are going, stick to positives. Don't tell her anything you wouldn't tell admin in an evaluation meeting. If she is bugging you about "helping," pick something you already feel pretty good about, tell her you want help with that thing, and just focus on making it even better.
     
  9. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 15, 2018

    Number bonds exist in Ohio. They weren't my favorite thing to teach when I taught primary, but, they're a legit thing.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Sep 17, 2018

    How did things go at school today?
     
  11. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sep 18, 2018

    Yes, please tell us. I've been thinking about you!
     
  12. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Sep 19, 2018

    I've decided to put off actually speaking to the principal for now. That said, I think something has been known. That, or I"m reading too much into things. Coach has not been into my classroom all week. We've exchanged pleasantries in the hall, but that's it. The teacher who was spoken of also mentioned that Coach is not going into her class. I'm going to be on guard, but I sense somebody said something and it seems to be fixed.
     
  13. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    Sep 20, 2018

    Thanks for the update. Looks like you are making a good choice. Do remain on guard. :)
     

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