Learn about the basics of instructional coaching and how implementing a coaching framework can help your teachers get better faster.

Instructional coaching is about helping teachers in K-12 education get better faster. How do you do that? You, a principal or instructional leader, provide teachers with frequent coaching touch points throughout a school year. You can do this in a variety of ways:

  • Observe educators teaching in their classroom
  • Meet with teachers to debrief your observations
  • Set weekly action steps the teacher will work toward mastering
  • Refine lesson plans together
  • Look at student data, then design a reteach plan during a weekly data meeting
  • Role play classroom management strategies

The key is that you are helping the teacher grow in their craft through continuous feedback. This ultimately improves classroom outcomes and makes teachers feel supported, positively challenged, and rewarded for their growth.

Unlike teacher evaluation, with instructional coaching, you don’t have to wait until the end of the school year to give your teachers feedback. By having multiple coaching touch points throughout the school year, you can help teachers improve their practice when it matters most: when they’re in front of students.

Check out our previous article Get Better Faster: What is it, and How Does it Work? to learn more about the GBF coaching framework.

Instructional Coaching Drives Teacher Growth

Coaching is a method of providing feedback to teachers on a regular basis to help them grow professionally and improve classroom outcomes. While evaluation has its place, many schools and districts have shifted to instructional coaching as a guided approach to providing feedback to teachers in a more human-centered and helpful way.

Coaching is a better way to support teachers, a better way to provide job-embedded professional development, and an all-around better way to get teachers better faster. Because when teachers are growing, so too is your school.

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Well-coached teachers produce better student outcomes. Consistent coaching can grow a first-year teacher into a sixth-year teacher.”

Rachel Rucker, Director of Teacher Evaluation

YES Prep Schools | Houston, TX

Well-coached teachers produce better student outcomes. Consistent coaching can grow a first-year teacher into a sixth-year teacher.”

Rachel Rucker, Director of Teacher Evaluation

YES Prep Schools | Houston, TX

Good instructional coaching is composed of three touch points:

  1. Classroom observations
  2. Coaching meetings
  3. Action steps

Strong instructional leaders use these touch points to build trust, accountability, and momentum across their school. Instructional coaching is about meeting teachers where they’re at, then working together to get them where they need to be.

From a school-wide perspective, coaching represents the gateway to the growth of your school. Happy, supported teachers provide the energy that fuels that growth because they are, with your guidance, improving their practice every week. But if your teachers are unhappy, either because they feel disconnected from their leadership or they aren’t being supported to grow professionally, the ability of your school to grow becomes limited.

Creating a Culture of Feedback

When you build a culture of coaching in your school, you provide growth opportunities for all teachers, no matter where they are in their careers. Classroom observations are no longer only for end-of-year performance appraisals. Coaching meetings are no longer scary, corrective interactions for new teachers. Action steps are no longer reserved for those on improvement plans.

Each classroom observation, coaching meeting, and action step now presents an instructional leader with the opportunity to support teachers, challenge teachers to grow professionally, and honor them for their contributions to student and school outcomes — ultimately building a stronger, more positive school community where everyone looks forward to showing up.

Teacher Attrition Webinar: How to Reverse the Trend

Amid the pandemic, education researchers and leaders have increasingly called attention to the growing teacher shortage in K-12 schools. Droves of teachers are retiring early from the profession, leaving the classroom to pursue other opportunities, or leaving the field altogether.

Our Chief Academic Officer and lead researcher, Dr. Chris Balow, hosted a webinar on Wednesday, November 3, 2021, about teacher attrition and the data behind it. In the recording, you’ll learn about:

Register below to access the on-demand recording!

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