By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Pennsylvania Institute for Instructional Coaching (PIIC)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016


Thinking about and planning for a new school year is refreshing, energizing, challenging, and anxiety producing, all at the same time. As instructional coaches, we’ve tried to shut down our brains for the summer but that doesn’t work. We continuously wonder how to help teachers get better at their craft and encourage them to explore new ways to engage students. We want to throw teachers a lifeline to keep them connected to each other, to the school community, and to the teaching profession.

Did you know that after the first year, 15% of new teachers leave the profession and another 14% change schools (Ingersoll & Smith, 2003; Smith & Ingersoll, 2004)? That is staggering. With instructional coaching, that rope is extended and becomes a safety net for all teachers, not just for the newly appointed ones.

All teachers need to feel valued, appreciated, understood, and recognized for the strengths they bring to the classroom. Instructional coaches sustain the momentum, break down the walls of isolation, and ensure that teachers practice with each other.

As you create your action plan to support teachers, focus on the questions that will change practice: “What am I doing as a coach to help teachers change and improve their practice” and “What am I doing as a coach to help teachers increase student engagement and influence learning?”

Lead by example, preserve ways to collaborate, foster open communication, and support teachers in implementing literacy practices across all content areas. Be respectful, persistent, goal-oriented, and focused on helping teachers reach their fullest potential and improve learning for all.

See you in September!


How are you planning for the new school year?

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