Just as one-on-one conferring in the classroom impacts student learning, individual coaching has the potential to significantly grow a teacher’s practice. With a foundation of trust and solid communication skills, coaches and teachers collaborate to improve curriculum and instruction. Not that it’s easy. It’s not. Teaching is personal; it’s who we are. Here you’ll find support from experienced coaches who have been there and attend to teachers’ learning styles, teaching styles, communication preferences and more on the imperfect journey of working intimately with adult learners.
Matt Renwick considers how technology can hinder building relationships or be used as a tool in fledgling classroom communities.
David Pittman finds that a sherpa analogy helps him adjust his role as a coach—moving closer to teachers without taking over instruction.
It is difficult for teachers to discard or recycle books they spent years acquiring, yet this is essential end-of-year work in many classrooms. Stephanie Affinito explains how a literacy coach can turn this challenge into an opportunity to build community and professional development plans.
By early in the new year, literacy workshops should be humming with productivity. If you're in one that isn't, Melanie Meehan has suggestions for working with the teacher to find and solve problems together.
Matt Renwick is stunned when a teacher complains that he doesn't take the time to know the staff. After getting over his initial anger, he decides on two strategies to address the problem.
Dana Murphy outlines a simple process for building trust and shared vision in the first meeting before the launch of a coaching cycle.
Dana Murphy explains why kid-watching is often the most effective strategy for her time in classrooms, and how she uses her notes with teachers.
Melanie Quinn realizes our classrooms are filled with mini-coaches. The students in front of us are clearly communicating their needs; we just need to do a better job of paying attention.
Matt Renwick resists the urge to console a teacher who is disappointed in a student assessment. Instead, he considers whether taking on a mentoring or coaching role would be most helpful.
Matt Renwick talks about the importance of paraphrasing and meandering in conversations after classroom observations so teachers can take the lead in their learning.
Gretchen Taylor finds that these kids and everyone are key words to focus on in coaching, because they can signify sweeping assumptions in lieu of a close look at individual behaviors.
Gretchen Taylor helps middle school teachers rethink their instruction by considering areas of the classroom as "zones" for learning, and redesigning them accordingly.
Ruth Ayres recalls a humorous canoe trip as a teenager when a group leader had to rescue her and she didn't like it. She realizes sometimes this is just the role literacy coaches need to take on, even if it sparks initial resentment in teachers.
Matt Renwick realizes that sometimes we have to ignore our path as learners to help teachers find their own way to better instruction.
Heather Fisher and Kathy Provost reflect on how just a few words can define relationships between literacy coaches and teachers.
Cathy Mere ponders the unspoken messages we can send other coaches and teachers, and how to make our work more collaborative through the language we use.
Cathy Mere shares strategies for avoiding distractions and staying focused while coaching.
Melanie Meehan shares some practical suggestions for helping teachers (and literacy coaches) build a writing habit and get over their feelings of inadequacy as writers.
Clare Landrigan and Tammy Mulligan provide some simple listening and questioning strategies to help coaches focus on the specific needs of each teacher.
Kathy Provost works with a third-grade teacher to plan long-term and daily goals in a coaching cycle in this video.