(Originally published on https://alplearn.com/story/virtual-learning-can-support-coaching-growth/)
It’s no secret that Covid has put a damper on all things education—including educators’ own professional learning experiences. I’m sure we also agree that ongoing professional growth is key to staying relevant and engaged in teaching and leading today.
At the beginning of the 2021 school year, I had the privilege of meeting three new instructional coaches in Bullitt County, KY. Excited doesn’t begin to explain the feeling I had prior to, during, and after the kick-off Zoom with these passionate educators. Like most of the population, I’m exhausted by video chats, and long for more face-to-face time in schools. To best meet the needs of educators across North America, ALP has been providing a multitude of interactive webinars to support the transition between physical and virtual classrooms. This particular professional learning experience was my first chance to coach educators in many months and it left me energized and almost giddy.
Aleshia is first-year instructional coach whose joy brightens every coaching session. She recognizes the need for her own coach to continue developing as a leader. She says, “Being coached is like having a friend that gives good advice when I am lost in all of the chaos of a new job. Through the coaching process I have been able to set clear goals and stay focused on where my time and effort should be spent. I look forward to each coaching meeting and leave with an accomplished feeling.”
Since Aleshia is a coach herself, she already recognized the importance of this type of one-on-one job-embedded professional learning. That’s similar to what we experience with most Coaching and Modeling services we provide. That growth mindset that coaches come with helps us empower them to amplify their impact through application and feedback aligned to coaching competencies. Some basic coaching outcomes include:
- Engage educators in the delivery of lessons, units, and assessments that provide rich learning experiences aligned with the local learning model.
- Effectively leverage prioritized strategies, technology platforms and existing resources to enhance learning experiences for all learners.
We love it when school districts invest in the leadership capacity of adult learners (i.e. coaches) through the application of coaching knowledge, skills, and dispositions. We are able to engage their coaches in an action research model to measure the impact of work through their own coaching practice. This continues to promote a culture of ongoing, job-embedded professional learning.
Aleshia and her colleagues have a mix of individual and PLC-based coaching experiences with me each month. It’s the perfect balance between collaborating as a team and sharing challenges and best practices, with personalized support to reach their own individual goals.
Still operating in hybrid environments hasn’t stopped children from learning, nor should it prohibit educator growth. This is one example of where virtual learning continues to support powerful reflection, learning, and growth among educational leaders.