Are you considering a new career as an instructional coach? Instructional coaching is sweeping through classrooms. An instructional coach works in the classroom observing how a teacher performs while applying teaching methods, and makes suggestions for dynamic improvements.
Instructional coaching is a form of embedded learning and it is growing in popularity because it is shown to be highly effective. If you are seeking a career transition in education, making a move from teacher to instructional coach can reinvigorate your career while applying and sharing your teaching expertise and wisdom.
If you are already in the education field and seeking to bring new life to your career, consider using your teaching expertise to become an instructional coach. Teachers with strong teaching experience and an excellent track record are well qualified to monitor the performance of less experienced teachers and provide feedback on teaching style and techniques.
Administrators, principals and head teachers who have managed many different teaching programs across various teaching methods have also shown to be adept at instructing teachers in the classroom.
These transitioning educators have an itch to get back into an educational environment where they ultimately feel their talent lies. Alternatively, you may be looking to transition back or re-enter teaching.
Instructional coaching’s strength is its focus on bringing evidence-based practices into the classroom. Whether it is a literacy program or new math teaching application, the instruction method being taught has been proven to improve academic performance. Ideally, the coach is an experienced teacher who has herself successfully applied the teaching techniques she is coaching. She understands its strengths and weaknesses, and how different styles of learners will interact with the method of instruction.
8 Tips to Transition from a Teacher to Instructional Coach Role
For 16 years, I have worked with educators looking for a career change; I guide them on a rewarding and stress-free path to a happy and successful life. We do more than write teacher resumes, we create many other documents and provide interview and career consulting.
Many of my career change clients are now meeting the demand for instructional coaches and finding a fulfilling career where they can practically apply their decades of teaching experience. To help you with your own career transition, here are strategies to help you transition from teaching to instructional coaching.
Let’s get started!
1. Research and Envision the Perfect Position
As an instructional coach, you will facilitate the use of evidence-based teaching methods in the classroom by providing direct coaching to the teacher. Your objectives are to improve teaching style and effectiveness, and student engagement and learning with the aim of improving academic achievement. Instructional coaches can also play a larger consultancy role.
Initially, you could be required to work closely with head teachers, principals and superintendents to assess the current teaching methods across multiple classrooms and identify areas for improvement and teaching methods to improve and/or introduce.
Each school district and school will have its own requirements of an instructional coach, and the job responsibilities can vary greatly. Furthermore, you will be required to work within the requirements of state standards and district strategic plans.
Envision how you will look in the role of an instructional coach. Ask yourself, what aspects of the job would I enjoy the best? You could be drawn upon for content expertise more than teaching methods. Ask yourself, am I interested? Qualified? To find out, conduct a career assessment and personality and skills inventory.
2. Develop Your Facilitation and Mentoring Skills
Beyond your experience working with students, seek out opportunities to coach/facilitate professionals who require less direct instruction and more facilitation.
Facilitation has a different connotation from coaching. Coaching includes the man on the sidelines of a soccer game barking commands at team players. Facilitation involves guiding others to be the best version of themselves.
The facilitator provides the support structure, knowledge, tools, and techniques for a teacher to improve her skills. Whenever possible, a good facilitator will provide the prompts and direction for a teacher to identify and correct actions, if necessary. The instructional coach encourages teachers to be more reflective, as well as critical and analytical thinkers.
3. Hone Analytical Skills
Your ultimate success as an instructional coach will come down to the numbers – more specifically, improvements in academic performance. Instructional coach objectives will be measured. You will need to demonstrate that you can track and analyze performance and present related data in reports and charts. Evidence-based practices must be followed meticulously and performance and achievements recorded. Individual class and school performance require being in alignment with state and district plans and objectives.
4. Build a Reputation as an Instructional Leader in the School District
The more credibility you have in the teaching community, the more efficient you will be as an instructional coach in the classroom. A trusted and respected teacher produces more positive learning outcomes. Your classroom teaching record will speak for itself. Take advantage of after-school and community programs to introduce your teaching skills to a wider community.
5. Demonstrate Teamwork Skills
The model of the hotshot coach getting paid big bucks for delivering superior performance is rare even in sports. Instructional coaches need to be super collaborators and team players. You need to work cooperatively with the teacher in the classroom. You will fail in your coaching endeavor if you undermine the teacher and her competency in front of the students. Implementing new teaching methods requires co-planning with principals, head teachers, and education boards.
Coaching in front of a classroom requires sensitivity and strong human relations skills. Even experienced educators could benefit from exploring how to discover and communicate on the job strengths and weaknesses.
6. Pursue Retraining & Professional Development as an Instructional Coach
Returning to school is a fabulous professional learning opportunity to strengthen any areas of weakness in your new career direction. Professional development or retraining will provide you with a greater understanding of the role along with newly fortified skills to perform it. The school may also provide an employment service and help you retain employment in instructional coaching.
7. Take Coaching and Facilitation Courses
The business community is also embracing coaching in higher numbers. Because of this, numerous training programs are now available. Becoming a certified coach and/or facilitator will show you have the ability to facilitate other teachers. Such special qualifications could get your instructional coach letter of interest noticed and your resume prioritized.
8. Analyze Your Transferable Skills to Include in Your Instructional Coach Resume
Establish your resume objective for instructional coaching jobs. What content or instructional areas would you enjoy coaching others in?
Take a solid look at your teaching skills and determine those that correlate across different instructional coaching opportunities. Many teachers can provide expertise in not only teaching methods (e.g., guided reading, everyday math) but content areas (e.g., math, science). You may have expertise in using technology (e.g., SMART Board, iPads, mobile technology) in the classroom to improve learning outcomes. Conduct a skills assessment of what skills and competencies you could offer as an instructional coach.
Developing teacher capacity can be a highly rewarding career for a mid-career educator.
Many educators relish the opportunity to draw on their expertise and wisdom from a career in education to mentor other teachers to be more effective in the classroom. Coaching is also a highly transferable skill. Instructional coaching in education could be preparation for a third career move, such as a career transition from a school teacher to a corporate trainer or a stepping stone to a position in education administration.
Kickstart your education career transition by reading up on job search strategies for career advancement. Read journals, attend conferences and join associations in your areas of expertise to rather further knowledge. As an instructional coach, you are similar to an education consultant in many ways and expected to be an expert in the domain you consult in.
For more information, explore how a career transition coach can help you launch your career change.
Find out more about Candace Alstad-Davies by reviewing this about me page. From that page, you can review testimonials and frequently asked questions.
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Have questions? Please connect by sending an email to Candace or call toll-free at 1-877-738-8052. I would enjoy chatting with you.