I benefited from instructional and peer coaching before I had heard the terms. My teacher preparation program and my initial teaching roles were built around team models that had formal and informal coaching conversations built into the organizational structure. When I first began consulting with teachers in other schools, I was surprised to find working in isolation to be the common practice. More puzzling was teachers’ belief that the breaking of that isolation was an infringement rather than a gift.
In 1982, Bruce Joyce and Beverly Showers wrote The Coaching of Teachers, which included a comparison of coaching athletes with coaching teachers. This statement reinforced my view that we all deserve a coach:
Perhaps the most striking difference in training athletes and teachers is their initial assumptions. Athletes do not believe that mastery will be achieved quickly or easily. They understand that enormous effort results in small increments of change. We on the other hand have often behaved as though teaching skills were so easily acquired that a simple presentation, one-day workshop, or single-videotaped demonstration were sufficient to ensure successful classroom performance. To the extent that we have communicated this message to teachers we have probably misled them. Learning to use an inductive strategy for the learning of concepts is probably at least as difficult as learning to throw a block properly.
At times the phrase “everyone needs a coach” has been used to communicate to teachers why they should engage in coaching with an instructional coach or peer. I have found I am able to generate a more exploratory conversation with the approach that everyone deserves a coach. The following short video was designed to engage teachers in considering how coaching is a gift that they deserve. You might share it during a staff or PLC meeting and encourage teachers to share where they deserve coaching that they currently are not receiving and how it might be gained.
I’d appreciate your feedback, thoughts and questions.