At the end of a coaching cycle focused on social studies standards about crafting solid claims supported by credible, well-reseasoned evidence, student assessment data collected before and after the project demonstrated that 33% of my first period students who were previously non-proficient achieved proficiency by the conclusion of the project.
There were two major ways that coaching impacted my students and I positively. First, questions to get me going in the right direction were asked, and I had someone to talk them out with that had that time put aside for me. In other words, I didn’t feel bad about taking another teacher’s precious time away. Second, the data collection gathered during the unit combined with purposeful looks at progress and growth by students and myself allowed us all to come up with a plan of attack to better ourselves at the skill we were tackling.
I have done a few coaching cycles, and all of them were incredibly valuable. I went into each of them with a broad idea of what I wanted students to accomplish, but didn’t have a clear vision of how to specifically go about setting up the lessons or how to student learning. That is one of the reasons why working with a coach is so helpful. A coach brings a fresh perspective, often from a different curricular background than your own. They help share the load of creating something brand new, which can sometimes seem like a daunting task. One thing that I found especially helpful when working with instructional coaches is the questions they ask to provide clarity and keep the focus on student learning. Above all, working with instructional coaches has reminded me that teaching does not have to be something that is done in isolation. Our students benefit from teacher collaboration in creating relevant and rigorous learning experiences.
My coaching cycle really focused on looking at student achievement in relation to engagement, accessibility, and rigor for my world language class and making sure activities in all three languages met those areas. It was really great to discuss and brainstorm ways to reach all students effectively in these areas.
During 20Time, I took a risk by splitting the class in half for check-ins; my instructional coach worked with one half while I worked with the other half. I “gave up” some control, but there were actually two teachers holding students accountable. We had a better gauge on every students’ project!