What Is an Instructional Coach and How to Become One
Table of Contents
What Does an Instructional Coach Do?
An instructional coach brings best instructional practices to classrooms by working closely with teachers and school leaders. In this career, you typically oversee the professional development of a cohort of teachers, helping them develop their skills in instruction, classroom management, and lesson plan development. You support teachers by helping them analyze their current abilities, set goals for their practice, and develop new skills in the classroom. Your duties as an instructional coach include observing teachers as they work, taking notes, and providing them with advice and feedback. Instructional coaching is a highly respected profession in the education field.
How Can I Become an Instructional Coach?
The qualifications needed to become an instructional coach include a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification, the requirements for which can vary by state. You help guide and develop teachers, so another essential step toward becoming an instructional coach is gaining several years of teaching experience. Many aspiring instructional coaches take on extra opportunities during their teaching career to help prepare for instructional coaching, like mentoring new teachers. Many school districts require you to earn a master’s degree in education. You should also gain experience as an administrator before becoming an instructional coach.
What Skills Do Successful Instructional Coaches Have?
A successful instructional coach must have demonstrated teaching expertise in their classrooms. You must also have a strong track record of working with students. One of the qualifications of becoming an instructional coach is a broad knowledge of various educational practices and models, so you should be well-versed in these topics, especially with how teaching practices have changed and current trends in the field. One of your main responsibilities is to provide teachers with holistic feedback, so communication and interpersonal skills are crucial. You must also be patient and supportive, as teaching is a stressful job.
What Are Instructional Coaching Models?
There are many different instructional coaching models. The Kansas Coaching Project tested many different models and ultimately developed one that is used all over the U.S. In this model, setting goals and building relationships are the central idea. Inquiry-based or cognitive coaching focuses on a teacher’s underlying beliefs and thoughts. The goal of this method is to have teachers reflect on their practice as a means of development. Another method is student-centered coaching. Student-centered coaching emphasizes student learning, and your ultimate goal as the coach is to help the teacher improve student achievement.