Back to Reality: Coaching During Second Semester
By Nicole S. Turner
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As Winter Break winds down and you’re blown back into school, you might find yourself struggling to get back into the groove of things. After a long break, it can be a trial. However, if you manage your time wisely and use smart tools to help you out, the second half of the year can start and end on an amazing note.
If you’re currently struggling to jump right back into it, it might be a good time to go back and look at the following.
#1: Time Management
All instructional coaches are masters of time! (Or we at least try to be) There are always so many people to see, so many meetings to conduct, professional developments to plan, and resources to find! With all of the hats, you wear it can be had to truly manage your time. That’s why having a planner that is easy to edit is essential! Start the second half of the year by giving yourself a day to just map out the time you need to spend on each activity. With the help of a planner made especially for instructional coaches, you can get organized right away!
#2: Start Fresh
Just like you, teachers had a break and hopefully took the time to recharge and reflect on the previous semester. With that reflection, there might be some changes. Therefore, you need to treat this new semester as if is a new-ish year. When you start planning, make sure you start by getting some baseline observations done. While in some cases you can pick up where you left off, that will not be appropriate for every class or every teacher. In addition, you may have added a new teacher or two to your team and therefore you will need to do a baseline observation with them right away. Remember whenever you do any kind of observation, you should always make it evidence-based. Conducting a baseline observation can be overwhelming and it’s important to be sure to observe those 5 focus points. I always use a baseline observation form to help me stay focused and collect evidence to discuss when I am meeting with teachers.
#3: Freshen Up
Just like anything in education, methods of coaching are always evolving. Because of this evolution, it’s always good to stay up on your skills. You can beef-up your skills by checking out different self-paced webinars, checking out a new book, or taking a quick class that can guide you to an organized and successful rest of the year.
#4: Reflect and Review
Just like teachers need a refresher, it’s always good for instructional coaches to review as well. When you are a coach, everything is on a cycle. If you take the time to review the coaching cycles, you are ensuring that you are conducting and completing a complete coaching cycle. It’s so easy to get off the path and not complete or follow-up on a coaching cycle.
#5: Treat Yo’ Self and Yo’ Teachers
Finally, with all the work that you HAVE to do, make sure you plan something that you GET to do. Plan cupcakes with coaches meeting and just spend some time getting to know your teachers. By taking the time to get to know your teachers outside of the classroom and allowing them to get to know you, you develop a good relationship. This strong relationship can help teachers “buy-in” to what you are teaching them and therefore makes your job easier in the long run. Even if you hosted a Cupcakes with Coach at the beginning of the year, it’s a great time to host another one. Get to talk with your teachers one on one, check out their new year’s goals and learn how you can assist and support them in their journey. Last year, I waited a little while and hosted one for Valentine’s Day and got to wear my coaching tee and eat my cupakes and cookies with my teachers.
Getting back to school after a break can be rough! But, it’s also an opportunity for you to start over again without really having to start over. Take some time to make a plan, get your baseline observations in, review yourself, and have a little fun to start the new year. It’s a great way to start the new semester on the right foot with limited stress.