When I began my tenure as math coach for my middle school, I came into the position thinking I could bring something fresh to this idea of support. Four years in, I’m learning that every instructional coach forms a set of relationships and dynamics with colleagues in his or her respective department. Every teacher leader struggles between winning everyone over and positioning him- or herself as a true liaison for administrators and teachers.
With that said, here are three do’s and three don’ts for transformative teacher leadership. You’ll note that all of these ideas prompt us to find balance, the most important part of transforming any environment.
“…but the few that do are mostly driven by outside grant dollars that have their own timelines, often disconnected from the pace of teacher learning. Even rarer are professional-development efforts that invest in classroom coaching support, though research shows a direct correlation between coaching and the quality of instructional outcomes. Nevermind that coaching dollars are expensive, hard to get, and easily cut when times get tough.
Post-licensure higher education offerings—with or without advanced degrees or endorsements attached—are another option. But the record here is mixed, and the choices are still more often made on the basis of credential rewards than in-class instructional improvement. Many options clearly respond to what research points to as important (such as deeper content knowledge), but the burden of taking that new knowledge and putting it to work in a classroom falls entirely on the teacher-learner.
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