1. Career Advice
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  3. A thorough guide on coaching for teachers
A thorough guide on coaching for teachers

A thorough guide on coaching for teachers

  • What is teacher coaching?
  • Benefits of coaching for teachers
  • 4 Coaching strategies for teachers
  • 1. Instructional coaching
  • 2. Peer coaching
  • 3. Cognitive coaching
  • 4. Video coaching
  • FAQs about coaching for teachers
  • What is the goal of teacher coaching?
  • What is the difference between coaching and mentoring teachers?
  • How does an instructional coach support teachers?
  • Key takeaways

As a teacher, you’re probably familiar with the value of coaching in education. But did you know coaching can be beneficial for your own career? In this guide, we explain how coaching for teachers can empower you to grow professionally and advance in your career.

As a teacher, you might coach your students by guiding and inspiring them to achieve their educational goals. In the same way, an instructional coach can provide the encouragement you need to accomplish your career goals. Coaching for teachers can be an effective way to sharpen your skills, support your professional development, and improve your teaching performance.

In this guide, we’ll cover:

  • The definition of teacher coaching and what it can help you achieve

  • The benefits of coaching for teachers

  • Four common types of coaching strategies for teachers

  • Answers to frequently asked questions about teacher coaching

What is teacher coaching?

Teacher coaching involves working with an instructor to expand your skills, learn new techniques, and achieve your career goals. As a teacher, coaching can be a valuable part of your professional growth and development. Some administrators provide coaching for teachers as part of a continuous development program. If your school doesn’t offer this benefit, you can also choose to work with a coach on your own.

The outcomes of coaching can vary among teachers, depending on their unique needs and goals. Some common goals of teacher coaching include improving teaching strategies, enhancing classroom management skills, and developing leadership skills. You can also learn effective time-management strategies along with reducing stress and improving work-life balance.

Benefits of coaching for teachers

Whatever your goals, coaching can help you gain insights to become a more effective teacher. Other benefits of teacher coaching include:

  • Personalized support. A coach can provide personalized support on your teaching career path. They can offer advice specific to your grade, subject, or experience level.

  • Helpful feedback. Coaching can provide you with insightful, objective feedback about areas where to improve. For example, if you struggle with work-life balance, a coach can identify ways to streamline your lesson planning so you have more time for family and friends.

  • Collaborative approach. Often, the best coaches are teachers themselves. Peer-to-peer coaching allows you to learn from experienced educators who can share their best practices with you.

  • Culture of accountability. A coach can serve as an accountability partner. They can provide motivation when you need it and remind you why it’s important to continue working toward your goals.

  • Improved well-being. There’s no doubt that teaching is a demanding occupation, and many teachers experience high levels of stress and burnout. A coach has your well-being in mind, offering tips and strategies to manage stress effectively.

  • Continuous growth. No one understands the value of continuous growth quite like teachers. Coaching can empower you to grow professionally, whether you want to refine your skills, become a leader in your school, or advance to a higher position.

  • Better student outcomes. By working with a coach, you can improve your teaching performance. In turn, this improvement results in better outcomes for your students.

4 Coaching strategies for teachers

If you’re ready to start working with a coach, you have some options. These are four common coaching plans for teachers:

1. Instructional coaching

Under an instructional coaching model, the teacher chooses a specific goal they want to accomplish. The coach then works with the teacher on different strategies to achieve that goal. It’s a collaborative process where the teacher and coach work together toward the end goal.

For example, if you want to improve your presentation skills, an instructional coach will work with you to identify helpful strategies. They might observe your presentations in the classroom and offer feedback, or they might walk you through best practices for creating educational slideshows.

2. Peer coaching

With peer coaching, teachers with similar levels of experience share tips and insights to help each other grow professionally. They provide mutual support through observation, collaboration, and reflection.

Usually, one teacher asks another for help in a specific area, such as classroom management. The peer coach will spend time observing the teacher in the classroom and analyze their strategies or behaviors. Afterwards, the peer coach will provide feedback and offer advice on ways to improve. 

Peer coaching usually goes both ways. For example, after a peer coach observes you in the classroom, you can repeat the process by attending one of their lessons. This can be a great way to develop and strengthen relationships with your fellow teachers.

  • Share thoughtful feedback and keep the conversation positive when acting as a peer coach for another teacher.
  • Use peer coaching as an opportunity to vent about your stress. Instead, focus on the ways you can help each other improve your teaching practices.

3. Cognitive coaching

If you want some input on your teaching performance but prefer to reach conclusions on your own, cognitive coaching might be ideal. In this model, you work with a coach who primarily serves as a sounding board to help you reflect on your teaching strategies.

Typically, cognitive coaching involves three phases: planning, observation, and reflection. In the planning phase, you and the coach discuss what you hope to achieve from your time together. The second phase, observation, requires the coach to observe you in the classroom. Finally, in the reflection stage, you evaluate your own performance. The coach may ask questions to encourage deeper insights, but they don’t offer their own opinions.

Cognitive coaching empowers you to take control of your goals while providing you with a partner who can ensure your accountability. As you become more aware of your teaching strategies, you can strengthen your skills and grow as an educator.

4. Video coaching

As teachers have learned over the past few years, it’s not always possible to provide face-to-face instruction. In those situations, video coaching can be a helpful tool to continue working toward professional growth, even if you can’t meet with a coach in-person.

Video coaching can look different for everyone depending on their goals. However, this type usually involves recording yourself in the classroom, watching the video with a coach, and discussing ways you can improve in a specific area.

For example, you might use video coaching to identify strategies for creating more engagement with students. After you record yourself teaching, you can work with a coach to discuss ways you could have added more interactive elements in the lesson. The next week, you might use some of those ideas in another lesson, recording yourself again so you can watch it back and evaluate your progress with your coach.

FAQs about coaching for teachers

Still have questions about teacher coaching? Review the answers to these frequently asked questions to learn more:

What is the goal of teacher coaching?

Often, the goal of teacher coaching is to empower teachers to become better educators so they can meet their students’ needs. However, your own goals might be different. You may want to work with a coach on different aspects of your career, such as work-life balance or lesson-planning skills.

What is the difference between coaching and mentoring teachers?

A coach is an instructor who supports your professional development. They will help you work toward a professional goal by providing formal instruction and feedback. In contrast, a mentor is usually an experienced teacher who offers informal guidance to a newer teacher just beginning their career. Mentors typically have an advisory role, offering tips and suggestions.

How does an instructional coach support teachers?

An instructional coach can support teachers in a few different ways. They may observe a teacher’s lessons and offer feedback on areas for improvement. They can also demonstrate strategies and techniques to help with learning new skills. An instructional coach may even provide training on a new tool or technology for classroom use.

Want to get started with a coach today? Discover how the Career Coaching service from Career.io can help you grow in your teaching career and achieve your goals!

Key takeaways

  1. Coaching for teachers is an instructional approach to continuous development and professional growth.

  2. As a teacher, coaching can help you learn best practices, enhance your skills, and improve your performance in the classroom.

  3. There are different types of coaching strategies you can use to achieve your professional goals, including instructional, peer, cognitive, and video coaching.

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