Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Role of the Coach: Getting Back to the Basics

Jenny McFerin, K-2 Literacy Collaborative Trainer 

As this summer is drawing to a close I have been reflecting on how we, as coaches, can be easily pulled in multiple directions.  As we pull ourselves from one task to another, we become stretched so thin that our original form has taken new shape.  Summer is the perfect opportunity to pull ourselves back together, regroup, and set our goals for the upcoming school-year.  As the coach, our responsibilities should fall in 4 places: working with the school leadership team, teaching, coaching, and professional development.

  1. Working with the School Leadership Team:
    1. Have you scheduled monthly and/or bi-monthly meetings?  No one person can ensure quality implementation of strong literacy instruction.  Agenda topics like data, instruction, materials, professional development topics, status of the bookroom, etc… need to be revisited across the school-year.  Stakeholders from different grade levels, administrators, and teachers from various support roles are key contributors on this team.
  2. Teaching:
    1. As the literacy coach, it is essential that we are in the classroom teaching.  This opportunity allows us to refine our teaching craft while consistently linking theory into practice.  Teaching in a variety of grade levels is essential as we are also responsible for supporting teachers in other grade levels.  Teaching in the classroom gives us the knowledge and skills to coach and teach other teachers.
  3. Professional Development:
    1. Do you have a professional development plan for your building?  What are the strengths and needs of your students?  What are the strengths and needs of your staff?  Building your professional development through inquiry as you answer these questions will ensure quality and engaging sessions.
  4. Coaching:
    1. The most effective teachers engage in 14-18 coaching sessions per year.  Have you allowed a schedule that gives your teachers these opportunities?  Coaching provides teachers with time for reflection.  It is in times of reflection that instruction gets stronger.

 Stand strong in your beliefs and keep your priorities in check! 
 It’s going to be a great year!

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