The world changed since February 2020 when coronavirus spread across the planet, and our profession has been reshaped ever since as well. E-Learning went from optional to mandatory nearly all over the world, and now, as we start to plan for the new school year, it’s time for us to embrace the blended learning model and keep in mind that the change in education brought to us by this pandemic has been massive; we need to make a wholesale shift in teaching and learning strategies to adapt to the “new normal”.
With many uncertainties we have no answers yet, I am taking up the instructional coach position starting from this school year to provide support for Chinese teachers across all grade levels. When I reflect on the ISB coaching mission, as well as what I learned from the Student-Centered Coaching course, I feel coaching is actually for everyone and it’s much more important now than ever. In a sense, we are all first-year teachers again as we go into the school year virtually, or in a hybrid model, and thus will need to be vulnerable and take a learning stance to the situation.
To my way of thinking, a coaching program should support teachers to improve their instructional practices, implement a new curriculum, develop trusting relationships with colleagues, build their emotional resilience, and most importantly improve student learning outcomes.
The start of the 2020-21 school year is not one that we ever imagined but it is the one we got and it has me thinking about how the coaching program might foster collective efficacy, support student and teacher learning, grow resilience, and promote interdependence all in the context of a pandemic. I’ve listed some of my goals in the online learning planner👇:
*For a better view of this planner, please click Online Learning Planner JS
I believe strongly in student learning outcomes and that to achieve those outcomes we must foster a culture of learning for all adults in the school. Efforts to improve student learning are at the heart of every effective school. In order to support students in meeting the learning goals (standards), we all must be students of learning. A coaching program is uniquely purposed with the task of learning about learning as a path for student growth.
At the novice point of the coaching skill continuum, here are a few things currently on my mind that I and the coaching team can do to position ourselves and get the most out of coaching:
- A clearly articulated curriculum
- Articulate a vision for coaching and professional learning
- Articulate the coaching model and how it is similar and different from other coaching models
- Develop principal-coach partnerships
- Clearly define coaching roles – identify and reiterate what coaching is and isn’t
- Communicate with teachers about Student-Centered Coaching and how teachers might engage in coaching cycles
- Evaluate the efforts of the coaching program to improve student and teacher learning
- Celebrate learning & growth; Share successful coaching stories
While I’m sure there are many more things I could look at and plan for, I think we’re at the beginning stage of setting up a coaching program. This will be an ongoing process in which I’ll learn, practice, reflect, and continue to make necessary adjustments.
In closing, though the start of the year will be partially virtual and filled with lots of uncertainty I do believe that there will be lots of opportunities for coaching and to grow the coaching program…. Or at least I’m hopeful. The coaching adventure might begin with Cheerful Despair and we will find a way through. 🙂