Are Instructional Coaches Managers or Leaders?

As I continue to work through what it means to be an Instructional Coach and what exactly I should be doing I started to think in terms of many magazines that I read like Fast Co. and Inc. Through my notes on some articles I started to ask whether IC are Managers or Leaders?

As I connect with others I see that some schools are really using them as managers for the admin. I don’t see that as properly implementing and utilizing the amazing tool available to all teachers. IC are there for the teachers to help them work through their struggles to be better. We are not there to provide answers, but to help educators down the path to finding their OWN answers.

One thing I read was filling in the following:

Managers do this____________, but leaders do this _________________.

To quote another piece from the book Engaged Instruction: Thriving Classrooms in the Age of Common Core I really liked this idea

Engaged Instruction: Thriving Classrooms in the Age of Common Core

Engaged Instruction: Thriving Classrooms in the Age of Common Core

Tag: Education
A great read for educators. I found some chapters amazing and speaking to me and my concerns. This is not a book that you have to read cover to cover. Pick what you want and skip the rest. The book will challenge some of your existing thoughts and ideas and hopefully you take time to ponder to see if you need to change your perspective. This has something for everyone of all grades, subjects, and education positions. More info →
Buy from Amazon

“There are stark differences between the two. Managers concentrate on traditional leadership duties. These typically include methods of operation focused on site management…….Educational leaders are transformative by nature. In addition to understanding the relationship between standards and assessment, they also aim to inspire their people with a  vision that energizes and encourages others to work collaboratively toward a common goal.”

The item in bold is key. I believe that this is our job as instructional coaches. Our goal is to lead and help educators celebrate what they are doing while still working to improve their craft.

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More teachers need to work to celebrate their hard work. More teachers need to share their ideas. There are so many great things happening in so many classrooms. However, we don’t have time to see other teachers teach or to chat and exchhange ideas. Instructional coaches can be the strings connecting the dots. We can share ideas. We can cover classes so other teachers and can watch other teachers teach. We can help promote teachers to showcase their work. This is so important. We have to strive to develop an open culture of sharing so we can all improve.

In order for that to happen we must continue to break down the walls and work towards more open spaces of learning.

Where do we start? As the chapter in the book suggests we need to prioritize. In education today we are being pulled in a million directions. What if we could organize the list and focus on the top one or two ideas. Once those are taken care of we can then move to the next item. If all we do is try to multitask we will never really implement quality.

Lastly, this one last piece stood out to me

“How much more enjoyable would teaching be if teachers had classrooms where students walk through the door and immediately understand the difference between their social world (outside the classroom) and the world of work (insdie the classroom)?”

If we developed an open culture where students came to our rooms and plugged in and go to work how great would that be? This would require a transformation of how schools look. We would need social spaces outside the classrooms to allow them time to identify the differences.

Perhaps this last piece is a bit off topic to the post, but in my mind this is a vision that I have. This might be something I tackle as an instructional coach to help make the open culture of learning more real for both students and teachers. I will be prioritizing my list and this idea sits at the top. See how I just made some things happen? What are you going to do?

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