By Ellen Eisenberg

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

Wednesday, December 14, 2016


At this time of the year, I look back at what I accomplished and try to determine if my accomplishments matched my goals.  This reflection is perfect for December as we think about the inevitable… what is this year’s New Year’s resolution and how will I sustain the momentum as I move forward personally and professionally?

Looking back, I remind myself what I’ve learned about teaching, learning, and coaching… teacher quality is the most significant factor affecting student achievement; teachers who are supported by instructional coaches are more likely to implement newly learned instructional strategies; follow up support to effectively implement new learning and scaffolding encourages reflective practice and instruction; teachers want to talk to their colleagues about effective instructional strategies; collaboration and open communication make a difference in teaching and learning; teachers and coaches who collectively problem solve around problems of practice are more likely to identify effective strategies that work to address those issues; and most importantly, teachers really like to talk to other practitioners who are non-evaluative listeners with a shared vision about how to help their students grow while improving their own instructional practices.

Janus, the two-faced (in a positive way) ancient Roman god of beginnings and transitions, looks to the future and to the past. He looks after passages, creates movement, and presides over all beginnings. I think the role of the coach mirrors Janus’ role. Remember your journey and the goals you have set out to accomplish. Celebrate the small accomplishments and remember change takes time…look behind you to see how far you have come and look forward to see what rests ahead. Coaching is a journey of change and it takes courage, tenacity, diligence, some frustration, and acceptance to remain on track.

Best wishes for a wonderful and safe holiday season. Rest, relax, and rejuvenate your body and soul. All good things in the New Year!