Teaching Coach, Oakland Unified School District
Q: What are the most common aha’s or take-aways teachers leave with after having been coached?
The most common aha teachers leave with after having been coached is that the teaching of children is an extremely demanding and complex undertaking and not for the faint of heart. Many of those I coach also come away with a very satisfying sense of accomplishment and ownership as they witness their own growth as a practitioner. They often relate the experience of feeling empowered to effect positive change in the lives of their students.
Q: What do you think people would be most surprised to learn about how teacher coaching impacts student learning?
Many people (including teachers) have the erroneous belief that teaching children is a one-person job. The teaching profession, at its best, is collaborative. Teaching is made much more effective with feedback. Beginning teachers often flounder without the guidance of a skilled coach. As a result student learning suffers, badly. I think people would be surprised to learn the dramatic positive impact teacher coaching has on student learning.
Q: What progression have you experienced in your coaching practice since enrolling in the ILA?
I have experienced an exponential progression in my coaching since beginning the Reach Instructional Leadership Academy. It has been an unexpectedly steep learning curve for me. To invoke a cliche, ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know’. I was doing more “loose mentoring” than actual coaching. I now appreciate that effective coaching is in service of another’s learning and the elements of which are grounded in sound research. I understand much more about how adults, and specifically how teachers learn, which informs my approach to my coaching practice.