Question Detail

Are my expectations of my role as an instructional Coach reasonable?

May 5, 2015 11:29am

This is my first year as an elementary instructional coach. I am often pulled to fill-in, wherever there is a need on campus: copy and distribute district assessments, substitute teach, monitor students in ISS, cover classes for ARD meetings, etc. I am always willing to help. However, I RARELY have the opportunity to visit classrooms, observe instruction and offer feedback. My concern is, because my primary focus has not been on instructional support, the feedback and support I give is no longer valued or redeemed as credible. I am also concerned my principal may not see the value (or potential value) of my role on the campus. Is being asked to be a "Jack of All Trades" typical of this role? If so, how do you maintain your validity as an Instructional Leader? Thank you for your support and comments.

  • English Language Arts / Math / Science / Social Studies
  • Pre K-4
  • Coaching


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    • May 14, 2015 9:59am

      As I complete my fifth year as a coach, I am realizing how critical it is for principals and coaches to deliver a consistent message about how the coach should be used. The challenge is that, with this newer field, principals may not be familiar with the best ways to use coaches. Additionally, the types of support that we can offer and the types of support that principals can offer are often quite different.

      You might consider ending your year by deeply reflecting on what your ideal coaching work would entail, then finding a chance to share this vision with your principal. If your principal is unfamiliar with what you have to offer, you may need to educate him or her about how to use you as an asset. You may wish to create a working job definition together. Then, you can collaborate on a plan for how this vision will be communicated to teachers as the next school year begins.

      Changing the way people think about abstract resources (such as the resources you offer in feedback and taking others through reflective processes) often takes time and revisiting. This is especially true when others have been focusing on the more tangible "stuff" (how you help with distributing materials and subbing, etc.). If you expect that this will require revisiting, build this into your plan.

      Once you can shift community thinking to seeing you as part of your principal's instructional plan for the school, then others may begin to see you as a different type of resource-- the valuable, intangible kind that you are.