Instructional coaches are on-site facilitators of professional learning who guide teachers through various forms of collaborative, reflective practices always focused on improved student achievement. To be successful in this role, instructional coaches must be excellent communicators, servant leaders, and expert educators.
An Instructional Coach is:
|An extra set of eyes that can help a teacher “see” his or her classroom in new ways. Ask your teachers, if they had an extra set of eyes, what would they look for?|
|An encourager who can celebrate the small and large victories that take place in the classroom every day, often without notice. In this role, instructional coaches can track and acknowledge teacher growth that leads to student growth.|
|A change agent who leads teachers through the discomfort of change in order to ensure student success.|
|A questioner who understands that effective coaching does not seek quick fixes or ready answers, but strives to explore, analyze, reflect, and dig deeper in order to bring about authentic student achievement.|
|A collaborator who values and models the collaborative process through his or her own professional learning and then establishes those practices within the schools he or she is serving.|
An Instructional Coach is not:
A doctor. Often there is no prescription that can be written to improve the culture or instructional practices within a school. It takes more than that to accomplish the goal of authentic student achievement.
|A spy. An instructional coach should never be sent on secret missions from the Central Office or from the building principal, but all stakeholders should establish transparent practices and communication.|
|A police officer. While police officers are always looking for something that is “wrong,” an instructional coach is always looking for what is improving within a classroom or school.|
|A judge. It is not the job of an instructional coach to evaluate or give evaluative feedback. Rather, the coach guides the teacher through reflective questioningthat results in refinement of practices.|
|The expert. While an instructional coach does need to be well-versed in instructional strategies, the coach is not the final say on what should be occurring in a classroom. Those decisions should be the result of collaborative data analysis, input from administration, and reflective feedback from the coach.|