What is an Instructional Coach?

Instructional CoachWorking as an instructional coach requires that you have a high level of commitment to the job, the ability to work with both children and adults and hours of experience in the classroom. It isn’t a job that you can immediately accept after graduating from an accredited teaching or education program. Most coaches have years of experience working under a master coach and experience teaching in the classroom. Learn more about what these coaches do before deciding if it matches your career goals.

Tasks of a Coach

Even the best and most experienced of teachers can often feel jaded or less enthusiastic about teaching after years of working in the classroom. An instructional coach is someone who comes to the classroom, watches the teacher in action and makes recommendations about what the teacher should do. The primary task of a new coach also involves the use of new teaching methods. The research that you do on teaching methods can help you develop new methods of educating students, and you can introduce those topics to the instructors you work with every day.

Education of Coaches

Working as a coach requires that you have multiple degrees. You’ll need to finish an undergraduate degree in education and a graduate degree in education. Most graduate programs have a fieldwork component that asks you to work a student teacher. Your first student teaching experience requires that you view a teacher working in a classroom of students in the age range that interests you. You’ll later have the chance to take over the class and work with those students on your own. Though no graduate school in the United States offers a program devoted solely to instructional coaching, you will find programs that let you take courses or select a concentration in this field.

Working with a Master Coach

According to Ed Week, contributor Elena Aguilar, those who do the best in the field are those who spend time working with a master coach. A master coach is someone who has years of experience and understands the importance of educating the educators and of changing the educational system in America. She suggests that you begin working with a master coach at the same time that you gain teaching experience in the classroom. Aguilar, who works as a coach herself, believes that the best coaches have between 5,000 and 10,000 hours of experience working under a master coach.

Outside of the Classroom

While an instructional coach spends much of his or her time in classrooms and observing teachers, you can also expect to spend even more of your time outside of those classrooms. Before you can make recommendations and suggestions, you need to know which teaching methods work best for different age groups and how children develop. You will spend some time on research into those methods. You also need to spend some time working with teachers and going over the reports that you created based on your observations.

Related Resource: Gifted Resources Teacher

Students tend to think that teachers know best, but even the best teachers need some help every now and then. Coaches research the methods that best educate students, and they help teachers understand how to use those methods. As an instructional coach, you can help teachers be more effective at their jobs and better teach the students in their classrooms.