An instructional coach is someone whose chief professional responsibility is to bring evidence-based practices into classrooms by working with teachers and other school leaders. In Lakeland, we focus on one-on-one support for teachers with the goals of increasing student engagement, improving student achievement, and building teacher capacity in schools.
Coaching is one-on-one professional development. At its core, instructional coaching involves two people: the classroom teacher and the coach. Coaches work one-on-one and in small groups with teachers, providing guidance, training, and other resources as needed. Together, they focus on practical strategies for engaging students and improving their learning. Coaches also are often responsible for providing or arranging professional development activities for all teachers in a school or district.
Coaching is high-quality professional development. Instructional coaching reflects the growing consensus about what constitutes high-quality professional development for teachers. It is job-embedded, addressing issues teachers face daily in their classrooms. It is ongoing, not a one-shot workshop. It is aligned to state standards, curriculum, and assessment. And its goal is twofold: improved instructional practice and improved student learning.
Who are the coaches? Coaches are experienced, highly accomplished, and well-respected educators. Coaches must have credibility with teachers and administrators, the ability to juggle several roles, and the skills needed to work one-on-one with teachers as well as to oversee a wider professional development effort in the school.