Mentor blog: Coaching and Teacher Empowerment… who is your coaching “sidekick”?

January 2, 2019 - 3 minutes read

Coaching and Teacher Empowerment

by Jess Kane and Andy Gavalis  

Every superhero needs a sidekick.  Batman and Robin…Superman and Lois Lane….Since the beginnings of comics’ sidekicks have played an integral part in the success of superheroes.  Sidekicks are the “go to” in times of peril. They can offer a plan of action, vision, resources and many times model the skills needed to get the job done.  Yet, it is the superhero that executes the plan and saves the day.

Teachers are our modern day superheroes.  They are tasked with the most important job: shaping our future with our children.  With this great responsibility, teachers need support and guidance along the way, which is where an instructional coach steps in as the “sidekick.”  When an instructional coach empowers a teacher with the vision, skills, and resources needed for student success, the outcome is immeasurable.  


Instructional coaches cultivate a desire to learn.  Developing growth mindsets and grit with teachers is essential when considering a change in instructional practices.  Teachers need to see the vision.  Where are we now and where do we want to be?  Teachers need to know that accomplishing this vision won’t always be easy but their instructional coach aka “sidekick” will be there to step in and help to persevere.


Instructional coaches influence change in schools.  As change agents, instructional coaches often work with administrators to develop goals and action plans.  This partnership is crucial in bringing change to fruition.  Administrators should set the trajectory of growth for their schools and clearly the define the roles of an instructional coach within that pathway of growth.  It is the job of an instructional coach to take this knowledge, find entry points with each teacher aka “superheroes” and empower those teachers to make change a reality.


Instructional coaches foster collaboration with teachers.  Since teachers are often isolated in their role, having a coach as a sidekick is essential.  Often, when the superhero is executing a new plan, the sidekick is in the background collecting data, keeping the pulse of the situation, and providing feedback throughout the process.  This type of collaboration is imperative.  In a school situation, it not only empowers the teacher, but it often leads to collaboration between other superheroes—think Justice League. 

Every superhero needs a sidekick to empower them.  It is a time-honored tradition in the world of comics.  Why doesn’t every teacher have a coaching sidekick?

Tags: , , ,