Welcome to Core Connections, a blog by Success at the Core. You'll find stories of best practices, inspiring experiences, and effective strategies related to leadership development, classroom instruction, and student engagement.

Self-Coaching to Improve My Practice

 

“A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment”

- John Wooden

 

In Washington state, we’ve implemented a new teacher and principal evaluation system (TPEP, for short). As part of TPEP, teachers self-evaluate, using a rubric that defines quality instruction and then identify goals for the upcoming school year. We are  evaluated based upon how well are we meeting certain criteria, including our goal criteria.

Several evaluation models are being used in the state (including those developed by the University of Washington, Marzano, Danielson) to help define quality instruction so that teachers and principals are speaking the same language.

I have found this evaluation process to be much more coaching-oriented than the previous evaluation model used by my district. Setting a goal of my choosing has allowed me to really attack the process to improve my instructional skill.

It would be great if I had a personal instructional coach to help me improve every day. However, in my nine years of teaching, I’ve only had that opportunity once. So, in order to improve as a teacher without a coach, I decided that video would be a critical tool in my “self-coaching.”

This year, my personal goals revolve around personalizing learning and instruction for my students. Here is my “self-coaching” process for improving my skill in this area:

 

1. Set an instructional goal based on my self-evaluation

2. Identify evaluation rubric criteria for “Proficient” and “Distinguished” designations

3. Find Success at the Core videos that relate to my goal

4. View the videos and take notes – my note-taking format was a three-column chart with the headers: Observations/Questions/Implications for My Practice

5. Plan a lesson inspired by my video reflections

6. Deliver the planned lesson (with or without an administrator present)

7. Reflect on the lesson using the evaluation rubric

 

The SaC videos that I selected included:

 

Each video helped me to see areas of opportunity in my own instruction. While time-consuming, this “self-coaching” process has been incredibly valuable. Is it effective? So far, my early evaluation results are good. More importantly, I feel like I’ve taken my instruction to a higher level of intentionality and effectiveness.

Many school districts do not have instructional coaches. And some that do have turned them into de-facto administrators. Therefore, maybe the best coach that a teacher has is himself! Even one round of “self-coaching” could help a teacher improve. Let’s face it—no matter how good any of us is at anything, we can all get better!

 

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2 Responses to Self-Coaching to Improve My Practice

  1. Beth Ashley says:

    Using online resources for examples of effective practice create a safe environment for self reflection. Thanks for sharing the steps you take to make this process meaningful!

    • Tyler Rice says:

      Beth-

      Once we have pushed ourselves to grow individually, we are more likely to jump into this type of intentional work with others. A great next step for a teacher might be to form an ad hoc PLC around this type of lesson study. This process would set one up well to pursue National Board Certification, as well!

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