Lori Ceremuga, IU27 PIIC mentor, and Donette Porter, IU 5 PIIC mentor
People often wonder how to guide others to get better at something when that person is already good at it—such as administrators leading distinguished teachers or teachers instructing gifted learners. There is always room for growth, yet how? Indeed, it takes a collaborative journey.
One stop on the collaborative journey going from good to great coaching is collaborating, specifically with a mentor coach. A coach can build relationships and trust using a BDA cycle with a mentor to set goals, collect data, review data, receive feedback, and make changes; then continue the process again and again. Collaboration is a powerful tool on the road to “mastery.” Additionally, collaboration among coaches, mentors, and administrators can also leverage this tool to an even greater extent.
Continuing along the journey, a second stop moving from good to great requires coaches to receive professional learning designed to meet their needs and support their coaching role. Just like teachers, instructional coaches need to reflect on their practice, set goals, and have the ability for self-choice to enhance their growth. Today, there are numerous learning options available; moreover, one option offered by the Pennsylvania Institute of Instructional Coaching (PIIC) is the state-wide Professional Learning Opportunity (PLO) held twice a year in the fall and late spring at State College, PA. Professional learning opportunities support instructional coaches which, in turn, strengthens teachers’ instructional practices, resulting in increased student engagement and learning, made possible with administrator support.
Additionally, the last stop going from good to great is the ability to network. Do you sometimes feel like you are on an island by yourself? Networking and collaborating with like-minded professionals enable coaches to share fresh ideas, gain additional knowledge, get a different perspective, and build confidence when refining the coaching craft. One of the levels of support for coaches is a mentor. Every mentor offers a professional learning network held monthly at the local level and twice a year at the regional level. Being part of a network is an opportunity to collaborate with instructional coaches and teacher leaders in other districts. With the support of your school administrator, mentor, and coaching colleagues, coaches have an opportunity to reflect and share techniques and strategies that impact the teachers’ practices and student achievement.
Without a doubt, the collaborative journey can be exciting and enriching, and one not taken alone. Take every opportunity afforded and create ones when needed. Garner strength from your PIIC mentor, professional learning opportunities, coaching networks, and administrative leadership. Each stop along the way is a step in going from good to greatness. Enjoy the journey.