Selecting the Right Person for Literacy Coach Training
By Sherry Kinzel, Intermediate/Middle School Trainer
How do I choose the right person for literacy coach training? This is one question that I love to be asked, even though the answer isn’t a simple one. When an administrator asks this question, it reveals that (1) she understands how potentially significant the role of a literacy coach will be in her school and (2) there are specific attributes or skills that can make a coach more effective. So, what are those attributes/skills? Listed below are a few to consider.
- Effective classroom teacher (I know, obvious, right?)
- Strong background in literacy practices to meet the needs of all learners
- Manages time well
- Reflective about his own teaching and open to constructive criticism
- Uses data to inform instruction
- Believes that ALL kids can learn
- Respects the ideas of others
- Builds strong positive relationships with colleagues
- Doesn’t always have to be in charge
- Doesn’t always take the credit when good things happen
- Moderate to high levels of energy
- Positive, positive, positive
- Handles conflict thoughtfully
- Understands her role is NOT to be an administrative assistant, but a coach for teachers
I recommend that you truly consider the list above before selecting a coach. Don’t treat it like a checklist. Reflect and consider when and where you have noticed these attributes/skills in the person you might recommend as a coach. Where’s your evidence that you are making a strong selection? Have you over-looked someone who does have all or most of these attributes/skills but hasn’t expressed interest in training as a coach yet?
Above all, the person you recommend for literacy coach training should consider himself to be a learner. This one attribute can trump all others. Someone who views himself as a learner will constantly be open to new, more effective ways of teaching and learning. He won’t be thrown off course when the latest education trend comes down the pike. He will also respect others as they are learning new theories and practices and create a collaborative environment with colleagues.
I hope this blog helped generate some thinking about the critical decision you are about to make. If you need additional support in making a selection for literacy coach training, please feel free to contact Literacy Collaborative at www.lcosu.org.