In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” Jeff and Susan discuss a question from our Coach’s Network as we explore how coaches determine the type of assistance that teachers need.
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Tech Coach Question of the Week
I am moving into a new Instructional Technology Coach position (part-time) for next year. We are a rural school district in Maple, WI with two elementary schools, one middle school and one high school. My job description is basically to help teachers use the district issued technology effectively.
Now, my question. How on earth did you gauge who and where your support is most needed at the beginning of the year? I know some people have done survey's and I know most of our staff here at the elementary level well enough to know their tech needs. Any other ways to gauge how to help teachers at the beginning of the year?
I know most of us are focused on closing out our year – I am, too! I just want to be ready since I only work part-time next year and I want my time here to be beneficial to our teachers!
How Do You Determine What Type of Coaching Your Teachers Need?
Set up frequent conversations with your administrators to learn their goals and what they would like to see happening in the classrooms.
A basic staff survey at the beginning of the year is nice but … keep it brief and to the point.
Coaches should be popping into classrooms on a regular basis to see what is happening, lend a hand and build a rapport with both teachers and students.
One of the best ways to help build trust with teachers is to create a lesson that can be taught together.
Always remember that the job is not easy and one that is difficult both physically and mentally.
Always keep your eyes and ears open for the next situation that might present itself to you.
Forming the relationship to assist them with some little things at first in order to build trust and be able to observe what some of the needs might be.
Lunchtime / Break-Time conversations – (Or Sometimes Gripe Sessions)
Be an active listener; sometimes gripe sessions can really be a call for help. “I can’t believe we have to share our lesson plans with the principal” – showing them how to effectively use a Shared Drive or shared folder in google would be a quick and practical way to get your foot in their door.
Normal Observation through day-to-day interactions, what comes up in meetings, etc.
Keep a private journal of what you see and observe in the classroom.
One of the best things you can do is to just be a friend to your teachers. Sometimes the best coaching opportunities come out of non educational conversastions.
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