Each summer educators prepare for a new school year. Even though the 2020-21 school year has a unique flavor to it, educators are still gearing up for the road ahead. This year is a stressful time – I see it in educators’ posts on social media. I hear their concerns about the safety of their students and their communities as a whole – and yes, even their safety. Yet, it is an exciting time, full of innovation. I see educators learning new skills throughout the summer that will serve them well in the future. Educators are taking one day at a time with a focus on the future and what they can do right at the moment.
For instructional coaches – whether brand new to their position or experienced – they are working to send a clear message as to what their work as an instructional coach will look like this year. The unknowns about the year can make this challenging. Will be working face-to-face with teachers and students? Will they need to limit travel to the buildings they serve and utilize virtual communication platforms? Will everyone be working remotely to provide students learning opportunities from afar? Will instructional coaches be asked to assist more with students to fulfill social distancing guidelines? Will the instructional practices in the school change to accommodate remote learning? All of the unknowns may cause instructional coaches to wonder how to best support the work of the teachers in the school to ensure positive student outcomes?
I recently posted a question on Twitter – What does Instructional Coaching mean to you? It was meant to be a simple conversation starter. Within a day I had an array of amazing, well thought out replies! Each brought a smile to my face. I’m in awe of the thought-provoking replies.
What would your response be? Before reading on, take a moment to craft your ideas.
What does instructional coaching mean to you?
As I analyzed the replies and thought of the upcoming school year I could see that no matter the circumstance, instructional coaches have two main focus areas – STUDENTS and TEACHERS. They are there to support, empower, and navigate the terrain as equal partners. The skills of LISTENING and REFLECTING top the list in order to inspire teachers and students to find the strength from within to do their best.
Whether it is pre-COVID 19, during, or I hope someday after – instructional coaches are THERE to focus on possibilities and help build brighter outcomes. It is an honor to work alongside them!
I decided to create this short video of the replies I gathered from my quick Twitter post. Perhaps the responses will help you form your own thoughts about instructional coaching or they could be used to share the message of the work of instructional coaches.
Coaching is coaching, no matter the circumstance. If we enter into coaching with empathy and a willingness to seek to understand we will open doors to new possibilities. Let’s celebrate the journey and COACH with CONFIDENCE as we navigate the upcoming school year!
In upcoming blog posts, I will be looking at some of the pressing needs of instructional coaches as they enter into the 2020-2021 school year. I’d love to hear what’s on your mind. Ask the Coach will be a new feature! Click here to submit a question or idea for possible upcoming blog posts or virtual training.
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