3 Tips for New Instructional Coaches

You have been hired as a new instructional coach and boy are you excited.  Not sure where to start at the beginning of the year?  Feeling overwhelmed with that excitement?  Here are 3 tips to help you start off on the right foot in your new role.

This tip is especially true if you are in a new building in addition to being in a new role.  When coming in, work on building relationships with teachers and getting to know them both personally and professionally.

The same holds true if you are moving into this position in your current building.  You may know your colleagues, but do you know them as a teacher?  When I was a classroom teacher, I was rarely, if ever, in a colleague's classroom while they were teaching.  I don't necessarily know how they run writer's workshop or strengths as a teacher.  You need to take the time to build these relationships so that the teachers you are working with feel comfortable coming to you.

Honesty is KEY in your role as an instructional coach.  I spent most of my years in the classroom as a primary teacher.  With that being said, there are times when I have intermediate teachers ask me a question, there are times I don't know the answer off the top of my head.  I am always honest with my teachers and tell them, "I am not sure so let me find out for you."

Your teachers will appreciate your honesty and it makes you seem more approachable.

If you go into your school year without a focus, it can seem overwhelming.  Sit down with your principal before the year starts and decide on what you both feel the focus should be for the year.  Maybe your focus is guided reading or writer's workshop or guided math.  Once you choose your focus, you want your coaching, professional development, and help to being centered around that.

Now, I want to say that even if you have a focus that doesn't mean you can't coach or provide professional development on topics other than that.  Just make that your focus, your focus.

Lastly, just take a deep breath and relax.  YOU'VE GOT THIS!