Coaching Support Structures
Some literacy leaders receive extensive training for working with adult learners, but most of us do not. As you move between the stances of coach, collaborator and consultant, you’ll need support structures in place for defining your role, communicating with administrators, advocating for your position with a school board and more. Here you’ll find reflections and how-tos that respond to the question, “Who coaches the coach?”
Have you paused yet to celebrate all you've accomplished with teachers this year? Literacy coaches Cathy Mere and Kelly Hoenie take a few minutes to reflect on what has gone well and the learning they will carry forward over the summer.
Principal Lee Snider explains why it is important for coaches to schedule in-class time with every teacher, and how principals can help in supporting this work.
Matt Renwick explains how he works as a principal to build a relationship with the school's literacy coach, including scheduling weekly meetings and sharing responsibilities in whole-staff meetings.
Matt Renwick avoided using digital tools during classroom visits in order not to intimidate teachers. He shares how over time his practice changed when he saw the power of some tools for expanding and extending his communication with colleagues.
Stephanie Affinito shares strategies for helping teachers build plans and excitement for reading over holiday and summer breaks.
Jennifer Schwanke finds that sometimes email can't take the place of face-to-face interactions. She explains why she doesn't let a quest to save time override consideration of when meetings are needed.
Lee Snider explains how he builds interest and conferring skills in writing workshops.
Ruth Ayres shares strategies for building teachers' conferring skills. This article is part of a new occasional series, Expectations and Nudges, where Ruth Ayres and Lee Snider will explore the same topic from the perspectives of a literacy coach and a principal.
Matt Renwick explains how everything from symbols to basic cleanliness in schools affects the climate for literacy.
When it comes time to hire a new literacy coach, Matt Renwick finds himself focusing on three simple and essential qualities every coach must possess.
Shari Frost visits a school bookroom and discovers many issues with organization and use. If you have a school bookroom, summer is the perfect time to rethink its purpose and procedures for checking out books.
"Imagine roughly 400 people—staff and students—walking out into the green space on your school campus. Now imagine every one of them with a book in hand. Next, they all take up a space that feels comfortable. Then, they read." Brian Sepe explains how a "reading invasion" is a simple, fun, and powerful way to promote a reading community.
In the final installment of this four-part series, Ruth Ayres explains how she systematically expanded coaching cycles teacher by teacher until they were a schoolwide norm.
Cathy Mere builds a coaching community through focusing on inquiry all year long. She lists some of her favorite resources for introducing an inquiry stance.
Stephanie Affinito turns her on-the-spot demo notes and scrawled sticky notes into a more carefully constructed coaching notebook.
Suzy Kaback shares the power of taking time to honor results late in the school year with teachers in professional development settings.
If you want to understand the real concerns of teachers, you have to teach children. Not only in demonstrations, and not only collaboratively, but solo with the constraints any teacher faces. Matt Renwick explains how these experiences are invaluable for his work as a literacy leader.
Signature moves are developed over years, not days. Gretchen Taylor explains how they can define literacy leaders in positive and negative ways.
Jennifer Allen shares a practical strategy for building vocabulary and interest in word study throughout a school.
Student centered? Teacher centered? Dana Murphy finds that one of her most important jobs as a literacy coach is defining her role.