Instructional Coaches

Friday I attended a learning leaders meeting about instructional coaching. I have to admit, I’d not heard of instructional, literacy, or math coaches before this summer.

I’ve posted before about the metaphor Ian Jukes used to compare teachers to rubber bands: we stretch teachers like rubber bands when we give them new and innovative ideas, but if we don’t provide them with the support to implement, they snap back to their state of comfort. Instructional coaches, from what I’ve learned, fulfill the support function by working in a collaborative partnership to improve the overall instructional practices in the classroom.  Coaches model lessons, help teachers work through classroom issues, and participate in an intellectual exchange of ideas.

In terms of the CCSS, these types of educators (often teaching part-time and coaching part-time) will play an increasingly more important role in aiding systemic change in local districts.

What does concern me, though, is who fulfills the role I the districts that are already struggling financially? In my district, for example, there is no money to pay for someone to teach part-time. Some of the districts in attendance at the meeting Friday had SEVERAL coaches in various areas. So do the poor districts just stay miles behind their suburban counterparts? How do we institute a coaching system in these districts as well?

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