Teacher effectiveness is the number one school-related factor that impacts student achievement. The question then becomes: How do I as a superintendent support my teachers and ensure they are getting the regular, constructive feedback they need to be as effective as possible? I believe the answer lies within effective instructional coaching.
Like athletes, teachers should routinely receive feedback and coaching to help them grow. At Maine Township High School District 207 in Park Ridge, Ill., every one of our teachers receives coaching on a regular basis. In fact, this year’s seniors are the first class to go through the district where each teacher was coached every year. This may sound like a costly and time-consuming undertaking, but we’ve discovered an ingenious system to make it work:
Use teachers as coaches.
In our district, all of our coaches are teachers. Our coaches teach half-time and coach the other half. If you’ve been out of the classroom for five years coaching, teachers may become skeptical about whether you really understand their experience and may not take your feedback as seriously. Having our coaches divide their time between their own classroom and others’ gives them the credibility with the teachers they coach.
(Next page: 3 tools instructional coaches should use)