My First Attempt at Coaching

This semester for our big project we worked with a teacher from our schools to create a coaching relationship. The goal was for us to meet with them, build a relationship, and then take a lesson of their choosing and improve it. It was not for us as coaches to come in to a situation and “fix” it or tell them what we thought they should do. Instead, we met them where they were and put more of the heavy lifting on our partners to come up with ideas on how they could improve their lesson. In this blog post, I will outline the phases of the project and what I completed at each step. To protect anonymity, names have been changed or omitted.

Phase 1 –

In this phase I met with my principal to go over the project. We wanted to make sure administration was on the same page and that what we were doing was aligned to building goals/procedures. Together we talked about the building and district goals for our school. My principal also encouraged me to create a pre/post survey for the teacher I would be working with so that I could see how they grew in their confidence of technology tools/skills. Together we identified a teacher in the building who had been open to working with someone to help improve instruction and include more technology.

At this point, I met with my new coaching partner and we came up with an overall goal for what we wanted to achieve, and norms that we would follow during our meetings. The overall goal was to use technology with students to help them collaborate with their peers and improve their writing. Our norms were to be timely, keep topics respectful, and use active listening. Below, you can see the overall document of what we filled out together with identifying information removed.

Phase 2 –

During this phase of the project I met with my coaching partner again. We had conversations together and reiterated the norms we wanted to follow in our meetings. We checked over our coaching plan to make sure that we were still okay with what we had originally discussed. At this time, any changes we wanted to make were made. At this time, my partner and I stepped back a bit because she was getting ready to come back to in-person learning with her students. This would change how her class was run, so we focused on flexibility and understanding that what we initially had started planning my look different with in person learning. We continued to work together building up our relationship.

Phase 3 –

During this phase, my coaching partner and I met again to go over her lesson idea. Things were still a little up in the air, so we planned the best we knew how. We went through what she has done in the past with her students and where she wanted to move them towards now. We worked together to co-plan her lesson and I introduced her to the learning design matrix so that she could pick an area where she wanted to improve in her lesson. We filled out all four areas initially, just to see what ideas we already had. At a later time, she decided in on specific areas that she wanted to devote her focus on. Below you can see our plan:

Phase 4 –

My partner and I met again to look over our lesson plan and this time, improve it. Using the learning design matrix, she decided she wanted to focus on engagement with her students, while incorporating technology. In-person learning was cancelled, so we were able to continue with our original goal as planned. We went back to our lesson plan, and came up with ideas to help her up student engagement. We talked about incorporating subjects into writing that her students were passionate about. We also talked about how to leverage tools she was already using to provide her with opportunities to formatively assess her students. Below you can find an outline of what we came up with.

Conclusion –

The cycle of coaching doesn’t just end when you reach your goal or in my case, the semester ends. My coaching partner is still working through our plans, and we are still communicating with each other to improve instruction. Not only did the ideas we came up with benefit her students, but they have helped me with my own practice and I have been able to bring our ideas back to my students. Though it was confusing and frustrating at times with changing school plans, I am glad that we got to work in a way that prepares me for the real world of coaching. Have you been through the coaching cycle before? What works for you? Share below!

1 thought on “My First Attempt at Coaching”

  1. Really like the way you worked with the school principal to align coaching with your school’s goals, and to devise a method of assessing the impact of your coaching work. Both are such critical keys to successful coaching. It is hard to imagine how much more complicated coaching could be than your initial experience. Never mind seems like it might be the story of much of your work as you planned for remote learning, then face to face only to learn that the learning experience would continue to be remote. Despite those challenges the learning activity you and your partner created feels like it will be valuable to students. How is your learning partner feeling about the experience? Or is it to early to assess given the fact that they are still working through plans with you?

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