Group of teachers working together in a library

Matt Homrich-Knieling October 25, 2022

Job-Embedded Coaching for Teachers Improves Retention, and More

Matt Homrich-Knieling

Writer and Educator

Every educator–whether teacher, instructional coach, or administrator–has areas of their practice where they excel and areas where they need improvement. While professional development can certainly provide educators with the skills and tools required to improve their practice, sometimes more attention is required to address the nuances of individual needs, goals, and concerns. 

Research affirming the need for one-on-one coaching has found that 1. Instructional coaching leads to increases in student achievement; 2. The effectiveness of coaching decreases as the ratio of educator-to-coach increases; and 3. There is little difference between the impact of face-to-face coaching vs. virtual coaching. Despite this evidence, the staffing requirements of providing individualized coaching can make it nearly unattainable for most districts. 

With hundreds of thoughtfully trained and highly-experienced coaches, BetterLesson’s Instructional Coaching for Education Professionals makes one-on-one coaching accessible to districts by offering individualized, virtual coaching. Coaching is available for teachers, instructional coaches, and school leaders and can provide immense value and growth opportunities to their practice. 

Value of Coaching Teachers

  • Improve student achievement: It’s no surprise that as teachers improve their practice–their planning, their instruction, their pedagogy, their relationship-building–students improve in their learning. Because teachers are paired with a Better Lesson coach who comes from a similar teaching background, the coaching is meaningful, impactful, and rooted in both lived-experiences and research-based strategies.
  • Increase teacher retention: You don’t even have to be in the field of education to know that teachers are leaving the classroom in droves. While the onus to retain talented teachers isn’t solely on individual school districts, there are evidence-based strategies to increase teacher retention. Notably, there is increasing evidence that pairing teachers with effective coaches supports teacher retention.
  • Promote reflection and build teacher confidence: BetterLesson coaches use a framework called Try-Measure-Learn. With the support of their coach, teachers first identify goals and choose strategies to reach their goals (Try), then they evaluate student work and feedback (Measure), and finally they reflect on areas of success and opportunities for growth and make appropriate adjustments to their teaching (Learn). This cyclical framework equips teachers with the skills necessary to engage in critical self-reflection, which is shown to increase teacher confidence and student achievement.

Value of Coaching Instructional Coaches

  • Provide better support for teachers: Just as teaching requires specific skillsets that need to be taught and sharpened, coaching, too, requires learning and practicing skills related to providing meaningful feedback, identifying areas of concern, modeling effective teaching strategies, and building rapport. When instructional coaches receive the on-going support of a BetterLesson coach, they build and strength their own capacity to support the teachers in their building.
  • Strengthen school-wide initiatives: It’s common for schools to implement new school-wide instructional strategies. These initiatives come from a well-meaning place of reflecting on school-wide challenges and developing consistent practices to address those challenges. However, without the necessary support to implement new initiatives, they can easily fall flat. When instructional coaches receive on-going, 1-1 coaching on how to support their teachers, they’re better equipped to implement and support school-wide initiatives with fidelity.

Value of Coaching School Leaders

  • Strengthen leadership: Being a school leader is an incredibly challenging job. It is also an incredibly important job. Research shows that effective school leadership can have significant impacts on student learning and achievement. Better Lesson leadership coaches provide school leaders with personalized support to strengthen their leadership skills, and in turn, strengthen their school’s success.
  • Create a culture of learning and growth: Oftentimes professional development (PD) is viewed as something exclusively for teachers. Participating in PD, including coaching, requires a lot of labor: learning new information, implementing new strategies, and reflecting on the impact. When it feels like that labor falls solely on classroom teachers, it can create a more resentful professional learning environment. However, when school leaders and administrators are also visibly and transparently participating in PD and receiving their own coaching, they cultivate a culture of learning and growth for the entire school community.
  • Lead with your values: People often become school leaders because they have a set of personal values that motivate and drive their work. Because the day-to-day work of a school leader is so demanding, it can be easy to lose sight of those values. Better Lesson coaching for school leaders brings a Value-Centric Leadership lens to support getting school leaders to lead with their values.

Interested in learning more about how Better Lesson coaches can support your school district? Fill out our contact form to schedule a call

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