By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

About 8 weeks into the new school year and the question I’ve been asked most often is, “How can I create a schedule where I can support every one who needs it?”

Great question, especially if a coach is struggling to support every teacher. Just remember, not every teacher needs or wants the same kind of support. That’s why instructional coaching is a differentiated approach to teacher and school support.

Ever think of the cohort approach? In order to create this kind of structure, the coach needs to first analyze, not evaluate, the kind of support the teacher needs. For instance, coaches can support teachers according to three different levels. Some teachers need intensive support; they may be new teachers or teachers who are teaching new content. They want the coach to support them frequently and give them the confidence they need to move their practice forward. Some teachers need strategic support; they are able to move their students forward but need some support for a defined period of time. And, some teachers are independent and want to share some ideas with you but do not necessary want or need to follow the BDA cycle of consultation more than once or twice a semester.

In a cohort approach, the coach might group teachers together who don’t need the same kind of support which would allow the coach to provide a differentiated approach to the varied needs. Or, perhaps the coach groups the teachers according to content or grade level. Then, the coach could ask teachers to “buddy up” and the collaboration is built into the cohort work. This is not a PLC necessarily but could be thought of as one, especially if the group shares a vision and goals for their work.   

Regardless of the type of support needed, the coach must really think about the needs of the students and how the teachers can meet those needs. This will help define the kind of support the coach provides.

How do you generate your schedule to provide support to the teachers you coach?

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