How Do You Become an Instructional Coach?

Instructional CoachTo become an instructional coach, educators need to be some of the most experienced classroom teachers in their district, according to the Huffington Post. They also need to be among the most highly educated teachers, with a large amount of insight into how curriculum and teaching methods affect student achievement and test performance. The requirements enforced by most school districts for instructional coaches are tough to meet, but this is actually a good thing: More experienced coaches tend to produce better results for students and drive the school’s measurable performance data upward a bit more quickly than their less experienced counterparts. When considering whether or not to apply to an open position in this field, consider the most common requirements and their implications.

Have a Wealth of Teaching Experience

Instructional coaches are responsible for advising their fellow educators, as well as helping to educate them on new developments in standards, curriculum, teaching methods, and technology. In order to have the attention and respect of fellow educators, and to have enough practical teaching experience to properly explain these developments, a successful instructional coach should have extensive teaching experience in a classroom environment. This doesn’t just mean one or two years, or even five or ten years.

The best instructional coaches have been teaching for as many as 20 years, through numerous curriculum and instructional changes. They know what it means to change the way things are being done, and they know how it affects teachers throughout the school year. They’re equipped with the experience, compassion ,and language, to help recommend new ways of getting the job done.

Bring a Master’s Degree to the Job Interview

Instructional coaches aren’t just the most experienced teachers in their district. They’re also, in most cases, one of the most highly educated teachers in that the district has to offer. Most instructional coaches have secured at least one graduate degree, though many have two graduate degrees or even a doctorate. The most successful applicant for an instructional coaching job will have, at a minimum, a degree in instructional design, educational research, or curriculum and instruction. Many coaches will also have a content-specific master’s degree in areas like English, a foreign language, mathematics, history, or other core areas.

Some instructional coaches even have their doctorate, in areas like educational research and educational policy, while others have pursued an educational leadership degree or a leadership certificate. These further educational pursuits give the instructional coach an understanding of their more administrative roles and responsibilities within the profession.

Showcase an Ability to Connect with Fellow Professionals

It’s not as easy to quantify, but instructional coaches need to have the respect and attentive ear of other teachers in the district. They need to leverage their experience in the classroom in order to build healthy social relationships, guiding teachers toward a greater understanding of new teaching concepts and technological tools. Instructional coaches should be able to build a mutual understanding with teachers in the district. This will allow for a proper exchange of information and ideas between coaches and teachers that is absolutely essential.

Related Resource: Early Childhood Education

Coaching is a Great Opportunity for the Right Kind of Teacher

There are many teachers who have a wealth of experience, a number of advanced degrees, and the desire to help improve a school’s academic performance. To become an instructional coach, they’ll simply need to put these skills on display and showcase their ability to lead educators through upcoming changes and challenges that will continue to change the way students learn.