Question Detail

I am a new instructional coach. I am struggling with a particularly resistant teacher with whom I have been assigned to work. The teacher is not interested in looking at her practice and often suggests the problem is student behavior.

Nov 9, 2014 7:48pm

Our district is moving from a basal reading series to a balanced literacy approach with a workshop structure. She has time to make this transition, but does not seem to want to or be ready to make this shift.

  • English Language Arts
  • 3-5
  • Coaching


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    • Nov 10, 2014 8:59am

      Although we are coaches, and not evaluators, I feel it very helpful to pull out an area on the evaluation instrument to help coach veteran teachers. This way, I am working to help the teacher do well in an focused area of their evaluation. Color coding the script helps a great deal: pink = teacher talk, blue=student talk/responses, green =activities, yellow=questioning. In a balanced approach you should see equal colors throughout the script. In the basal (more direct instruction) approach, there will be less green and yellow, showing imbalance. It is a great way to show some objective data in an otherwise subjective conversation.

      • Aug 6, 2015 5:16pm

        Jill, I am starting my 4th year as a Literacy Coach. I sometimes have to coach teachers outside of my credential area and grade level area. Most teachers like the collaboration, but others resist the experience.

        I do a few things that usually help:

        I clarify:

        I am not an administrator
        I am not an evaluator
        I am here to learn as well as teach

        I ask:

        How would like to use the time?

        ( I usually have options: Lesson Study Model, demonstration lesson, start from scratch)

        Do you want to focus on curriculum, Approaches, or student engagement, I.e.

        Are there other teachers that would like to join us ?(PLC, grade level team, Special Education Co-Teacher)

        Finally, i provide a timeline/schedule, so they know I won't live there forever.

        • Nov 14, 2014 11:27am

          I love this phrase "Teacher as Change Agent" - I often use this with teachers. We established this through a professional reading of Collaborative Inquiry" by Jenni Donohoo (link:

          Here is a link to an article where "teacher as change agent" is defined in the first paragraph. (LInk:

          If a teacher says, "The students can't do ...." I can respond with, "As a change agent, what do you think would be your first step?"

          • Jan 4, 2016 12:33pm

            I'd have to agree with Mr. Knight - wasting time trying to coach someone who does not want to be coached is not good. Find out what the coachee's option for learning and growing is, then.

            However, if you'd like to think about this issue in the future, consider referring to Elena Aguilar's excellent The Art of Coaching book. The whole of part two, "Establishing Coaching with a Client," is a wonderful resource for learning how to get someone on board with the coaching process: how to build trust, how to get to know the person without talking about teaching, how to offer information about yourself so the person feels they know you, how to develop a work plan that is entirely useful to both of you.

            Actually, the entire book is wonderful, but that section sounds like it would be of particular interest to you.

            • Nov 10, 2014 9:13am

              I love that idea. Thanks for the suggestions!