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Teacher Coaching: Strategies for Elevating Every Teacher’s Practice

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Are you an educator tasked with implementing professional growth plans as part of your job?

You know teachers have less time than ever before for professional development—which can be particularly challenging for teachers who:

  • Are just starting their teaching career; or
  • Feel like they have plateaued in their career 

So what’s the solution?

In this article, you will learn how teacher coaching can be a viable solution for implementing an overall strategy for improving teacher performance and job satisfaction.

 

Table of Contents

 

 

What Is Teacher Coaching?

 

Teacher coaching is a professional development strategy that helps teachers improve their practice. It’s also a collaboration between the teacher and coach to improve the overall performance of the teacher in the classroom.

Teacher coaching can be used for many purposes, including:

  • Improving classroom management and instruction
  • Helping teachers learn best practices
  • Increasing teachers’ ability to integrate evidence-based strategies into their daily lessons; and
  • Developing long-term plans for professional growth for teachers who want to become master teachers

TORSH Talent offers an online teacher coaching platform that provides a comprehensive suite of teacher development resources.

It’s a unique, cloud-based software that allows teachers, administrators, and coaches to access state-of-the-art training materials and collaborate with teachers in real-time. 

Check out the power suite of tools at TORSH Talent and begin tracking and analyzing teachers’ progress.

 

10 Steps For Teacher Coaching In The Everyday Classroom

 

A productive coaching relationship is built on a foundation of mutual respect, trust, and openness. 

It is not unusual for teachers to have concerns about trusting a coach or fearing they will feel vulnerable or “exposed” when working with a coach. 

A coach’s first job is to build rapport and trust with the educator they are working with. These ten steps can help coaches do that while helping teachers build expertise and elevate their teaching practice.

 

#1: Build a Relationship

 

Coaches and teachers should have mutual trust and respect, so a relationship needs to be the first focus of any teacher coaching strategy. 

Effective feedback comes from mutual collaboration. 

The best way for teachers to improve their practice is by working closely with others who understand them well enough to provide meaningful feedback.

If coaches can build a close relationship with teachers, that will help teachers develop professionally.

 

#2: Listen

 

Coaching teachers in schools is about listening and gathering and processing information so that as a coach you can guide teachers in self-reflection about their practice. Through this process, teachers can take action toward improving their instruction in ways that their students will respond best. 

While feedback may come up during coaching conversations with teachers, it’s not the focus here.

 

#3: Ask Questions 

 

Coaches asks questions prior to the observation stage, which include:

In this step, coaches empower teachers to answer questions about their practice with the knowledge they already have.

For example, have teachers think about what happens and why it happens in the classroom — both good and bad. 

Coaches help teachers define what “good” looks like in his or her own classroom, according to the standards by which he/she is teaching.

 

#4: Define Goals

 

Before a video observation, the coach can ask clarifying questions to help a teacher define their goals. 

This will provide a framework for the observation and ensure that both parties agree on what aspect of practice is being worked on.

For example, if a teacher’s goal is to have students do more active listening during class discussions, you could plan your observations around this goal by watching for when the teacher uses an active listening strategy. 

(e.g., “I would like everyone to turn their chairs around so we can talk about these great ideas.”)

 

#5: Video Observation

 

Video observation is a powerful tool for both coaches and teachers. It enables teachers to view themselves in action in the classroom. 

The coach can use the video to …

  • Easily rewatch the recorded lesson so they can first closely watch the teacher’s actions and then watch for the students’ response
  • Leave timestamped comments and feedback about specific actions or moments in the lesson
  • Leave audio comments and memos to provide further detail 

The TORSH Talent Coaching and Professional Learning System provides a secure place for video coaching to occur… and so much more. 

Not only can teachers upload their videos to TORSH Talent and receive comments from their coaches, individual coaches or the organization can create resource libraries that teachers can access on-demand that may include video exemplars of practice, rubrics, sample lessons, self-paced courses, and more! 

With TORSH Talent, all coaching and professional learning activities are housed in one, easy to access, FERPA compliant system. 

Request a consultation about your coaching program and demo of TORSH Talent by clicking below.

 

Request Demo

 

#6: Provide Feedback

 

In the traditional professional development model of workshops and trainings, providing feedback to teachers is often overlooked, but it is a key part of professional learning through coaching. In addition to taking time at the end of each lesson to provide specific, meaningful feedback on …

  • Whether the teachers’ goals for the lesson were achieved
  • What worked well and where there was room for improvement 

…  take time at the end of each day, week, or month to offer a reflection on how things are going overall — what improvements and successes the teacher has had, progress toward goals, and where you as the coach see as areas to focus on in the next coaching cycle. 

 

#7: Collaborate

 

Collaboration is an important element in teacher coaching with several benefits. In a healthy coaching relationship, collaboration helps teachers…

  • Create ownership of the process 
  • Develop self-awareness
  • Develop self-efficacy
  • Feel the comfort and support of an ally in their professional growth

Using collaboration, coaches and teachers develop and implement a plan based on the set standards for the teacher’s professional growth.

Once the plan has been created, the coach can add the plan to TORSH Talent so that it becomes part of the teacher’s library of resources. 

With TORSH Talent, coaches and teachers have easy access to:

  • Videos of practice, including time stamped comments
  • Notes 
  • Goals and ways to track progress toward meeting them
  • Instructional resources and exemplars

 

#8: Model

 

Modeling is a powerful strategy because it enables teachers to see an instructional method being used effectively before they try it themselves. It can also be used to see a different approach with a lesson or classroom situation. 

If modeling occurs in a classroom with students, it can be recorded so the teacher has reference as they prepare to use the technique. Coaches can also model a practice with a teacher during a live video call or with a recorded video. 

Coaches may model a method based on something a teacher identifies that they’d like to do better or learn. Alternatively, when watching a recorded lesson, a coach might see an area where the teacher struggled so offer to model a different approach. 

Modeling helps teachers better understand the nuances of a practice and gives them an ideal to strive for in their own use of the practice.

 

#9: Track Goals

 

Teacher coaches help teachers set goals, create a plan to achieve them, and track and encourage progress. 

TORSH Talent has built in tools to help teachers and coaches: 

 

Request Demo

 

#10: Reflect

 

Finally, coaches can encourage teachers to reflect on how their practice is improving and how they’re growing professionally. 

At the end of each session, coaches can ask the teacher to share:

  • What they think their biggest successes and wins are 
  • One or two specific things they’d like to continue to work on
  • Any concerns or requests  

Reflection helps teachers slow down and examine what they’re doing more closely so they can see their progress and stay motivated to continue the work. 

Read on to learn about positive outcomes of teacher coaching and how TORSH Talent, a comprehensive coaching platform, can help.

 

3 Positive Outcomes of Teacher Coaching

 

When it comes to teacher coaching, there are many different opinions out there. 

Some people think it’s a waste of time, while others believe it’s an essential part of a teacher’s professional development. 

Here are three positive outcomes of teacher coaching that classroom teachers experience.

 

#1: Positive Classroom Culture

 

One important benefit of coaching teachers in schools is creating a positive classroom culture. 

This is key to the success of a teaching practice and determines the amount of …

  • Trust
  • Respect
  • Cooperation

… the teacher receives from students. 

Coaching with teachers newer to the profession often focuses first on classroom management and culture because it’s so critical to a teacher’s ability to effectively instruct students and help them learn.

Once the teacher has been set up with the tools needed to support a positive classroom culture, the rest of their practice will also improve. 

While improvements to classroom culture can be the results of a coaching relationship at any stage in a teacher’s career, novice teachers especially benefit from this aspect of coaching, as it is generally an area that isn’t covered in pre-service programs. 

 

#2: Improved Pedagogical Strategies

 

One of the key outcomes of teacher coaching is to improve pedagogical strategies.

Most teacher instructional coaching is centered around a school or district’s standards. Coaches work with teachers to develop pedagogical strategies that support those standards.

This may include things like:

  • Designing unit plans aligned with state standards 
  • Planning for differentiated instruction based on student needs and abilities to help them reach grade-level standards
  • Improving teachers’ use of assessment data to plan and target instruction to support standards mastery

Teachers who are being coached should be able to articulate their teaching strategies and explain how they align with specific learning objectives. 

A district can create coaching rubrics that are stored in TORSH Talent so that coaches can provide feedback based on the district’s curricula, standards, and learning goals. Teachers can also use the rubrics to guide their own self-reflection about their practice. 

 

#3: Enhanced Student Learning

 

A third benefit of teacher coaching is enhanced student learning. 

Coaches support teachers in building and refining their instructional skills  which can lead to an increase in …

 

TORSH Talent: The Most Comprehensive Teacher Coaching Platform

 

TORSH Talent is a cloud-based coaching and professional learning platform that makes it easier and more efficient to provide teachers with personalized coaching and for them to participate in professional learning communities with colleagues. 

As a collaborative coaching platform, TORSH Talent facilitates teachers sharing videos of their practice with coaches in a secure environment so that coaches can provide specific, meaningful feedback that drives growth. 

TORSH Talent offers an all-inclusive platform that helps districts expand coaching services without adding more coaches.

Click below for a free demo.

 

Request Demo

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