By Ellen Eisenberg

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

Friday, July 16, 2021

 As we move back into our bricks and mortar buildings, I can’t help to wonder about the trust factor… can we trust that another pandemic won’t happen again? I don’t think we can answer that just yet. But, if it does happen again, can we trust the system to work better than it worked in the past? Or, can individuals be trusted to learn from their “intelligent mistakes” and be better prepared in the future? I think so, especially when instructional coaches are in the mix.

Instructional coaches are even more critical than ever. They will truly need to access every role they played before AND re-negotiate the expectations of coaching. Having said that, I’m worried that schools will expect instructional coaches to close the achievement gap, address learning losses, and be held accountable for teacher performance to a greater extent than before. I’m worried that the fear of “not being able to catch up” will dictate how learning is paced and teacher performance will be determined by the coach’s influence in creating change regardless of the school’s variables. I’m worried that building trust will be neglected as teachers scramble to ensure student growth.

In our continued journey, we should not forget how and why trust is important for the learning process.

Instructional coaches have spent much time in substantiating their credibility. They have skills and competencies they have developed over time working with their teaching colleagues. They focus on adult learning theories to shape their work and honor their partners’ voices. They recognize what effective classrooms look like. Co-workers can trust that instructional coaches understand teaching and learning.

Relationships are built on trust and instructional coaches have modeled the importance of reflection, integrity, and confidentiality. They know when to “nag and nurture” with a “pat and push” so their teaching colleagues are always moving in the right direction, and they hold themselves accountable to do what they say they will do.

Instructional coaches share the same goals with their teaching partners… to help each other and their students reach their fullest potentials. They are consistent, insistent, and persistent when it comes to being change agents and implementing effective instructional practices. They can be trusted to make sure that all students are in classrooms with highly effective teachers. They can be trusted to make sure that professional learning is an integral part of the teaching and learning cycle. We can’t predict the reality of another pandemic, but we can predict that schools with the appropriate and realistic understanding of instructional coaching can move practice forward.

What are some of the things you worry about as school reopens in September?

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