Coach as Colleague

By Irene Fountas

A coach in the role of colleague is a wonderful team member to have in a school.  Think about having a trusted colleague who plays the role of helping you be as good as you can be in your craft. Work with your school team to examine the potential of the coach role in your school.

We see many schools finding a way to create time for a coach to support ongoing teacher learning in the school or district. Some schools identify a key teacher who coaches while others create part time or full-time coach positions. Many schools shift some of the reading specialist’s time to coaching teachers. If you don’t have the gift of a coach right now, you may find yourself with one in the future. Or you may enjoy becoming a coach!

Your coach looks for opportunities to support you in your teaching, in your reflections about your students, in your professional goals. Well-trained coaches are skilled in sensitive, respectful interactions that promote collaboration in teaching and learning in the school. They promote teamwork and see you as a professional who values continuous learning. Instead of judging your teaching, the effective coach supports your continuous growth and refinement, helping you to reflect on the effects of your teaching on student learning. A reflective teacher is a growing teacher and a coach helps you recognize the pleasure in learning more and seeing how your students benefit from your thoughtful teaching.

Take a look at our powerful coaching strand at our Literacy for All Conference and dig deep into the powerful role of coaches. You might enjoy our special session on the coach’s role in supporting teaching in guided reading. You may also find these websites and communities useful in learning more about coaching:

This is an exciting time for the professional growth of teachers. We are all learning more about face-to-face and online opportunities to nudge our professional thinking. If you are interested in professional development opportunities around coaching, we do have two events this summer for literacy coaches that you might be interested in.

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