Support Systems for Literacy Coaches

Literacy coaching is very rewarding and also hard work. There will be days where you will feel on top of the world because you made a breakthrough with a particular teacher.  Then there will be other days where you feel so frustrated that you just want to go home and bury your head under your pillow.

Coaches must have strong support systems in place to

  • celebrate successes with
  • lean on when things get tough
  • learn from to become a better coach

Strong support systems can reenergize the coach so that she can be on top of her game.

Who supports the coach?

Your Principal

Your building principal supports your work by conveying to the staff the expectation that all teachers can benefit from coaching no matter how experienced. Coaching is not just for new teachers or teachers with low data scores. Your principal can support your work by creating a culture of collaboration where everybody learns from each other.  When leaning on your principal for support it is extremely important that the coach is careful about confidentiality. Be careful not to say anything that would identify a specific teacher during your conversations with your principal.

Your Coach Colleagues

Find support from other coaches in your school district.  Schedule regular meetings with all of the coaches to celebrate, problem solve and learn together. If you are the only coach in your district you can find support via online communities (more on this later).

Again, always be careful with confidentiality when sharing with other people.

Your Own Coach

Advocate for continuous professional learning specific to coaching.  Also, find a more experienced coach that can help to support you.  Your coach can help you to grow in how you facilitate conversations with a teacher or group of teachers.  They can offer feedback and suggestions about the professional development you are presenting to the teaching staff.

Social Media/Bloggers

Find support outside of your school district. It is helpful and eye-opening to see what is going on in other school districts. You can follow literacy coaching & instructional coaching groups on Facebook:

Instructional Coaches Connection

Literacy Coaches Corner

Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches

and follow literacy/ instructional coaches on Twitter or participate in a Twitter Chat.

ISTE has a list of 40 popular educational Twitter Chats that includes the days & times that the chats are held.

You can also follow literacy/instructional coach bloggers:

Dr. Stephanie Affinito

Ms. Houser

Diane Sweeney

Books/Research

Reading to stay up to date on research and best practices can really support you with your coaching.

Instructional Coaching by Jim Knight

The Art of Coaching:  Effective Strategies for School Transformation by Elena Aguilar

Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms by Steven Zemelman, Harvey “Smokey” Daniels, & Arthur Hyde

Literacy/Instruction Coaches need to find support to help themselves grow in their many roles as a coach.  Support can be vital in staying fresh and not burning out.

Please visit our most recent posts on creating positive experiences between the coach and the classroom teacher.

Keep it Confidential

Spend Time in the Right Places

Build Relationships

Really Listen

No Agendas

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