Just as students need constant grooming, teachers too require coaching. They require guidance on improvising their teaching strategies and way of imparting education. They need to craft a study curriculum for the long term benefit of the students. An Instructional Coach plays a phenomenal role in upskilling the capacity of teachers to achieve the learning objectives effectively. The coaches impart techniques and methods for efficient collaboration between the teachers and students.
So, how to be a successful instructional coach? In this article, we will focus on the duties, roles, and responsibilities of an instructional coach. We will also discuss the probable interview questions, approximate salary, and the various websites to apply for instructional coach jobs.
Let us first understand what is an instructional coach and what does an instructional coach do.
What is an instructional coach?
An instructional coach is an expert in devising quantitative and qualitative strategies for teachers, imparting education to students and learners. Their suggested practices and methodologies can be applied in classrooms as well as in remote or online sessions. Various academic institutions hire them as mentors for their teachers.
Teachers are responsible and accountable for a student’s performance. Parents and local guardians depend on them majorly for their academic grooming and performance enhancement. Hence they need to introduce innovative ways in developing the competency of their students. An Instructional coach assists them in adopting new methods for improving their curriculum, and their teaching approaches. Various seminars, conferences, webinars, classroom or online sessions are conducted to educate and groom the teachers for enhancing their teaching skills.
Note: The traditional modes of education are now past. Students and learners demand greater collaboration and interaction. Utilizing visual images and use cases are the tools for academic success.
What does an Instructional Coach do?
Instructional coaches educate teachers in innovative and modern learning tools and techniques. Their sole objective is to embed the methods into the educational system, thereby enhancing the knowledge of the students.
- They first analyze the needs of the teachers. Often one to one conversation is held with each teacher. These meetings help them to gain a fair knowledge of the teacher’s tasks and the difficulties faced in executing their jobs.
- Based on the inputs, the next step to formulate a strategy and plan for assisting the guiding the teachers to overcome their issues.
- The coaching can be either in the form of one to one sessions or generic training programs
- Checklists are provided to the teachers to follow the instructions in a sequential manner
- Prepare learning materials, and assessment sheets for the teachers to leverage in their study sessions
- They observe the teachers check their improvements after adopting the new techniques
- Continuous collaboration and interactions with the teachers to resolve their problems and provide suggestions for betterment
Responsibilities of an Instructional Coach
The duties of an Instructional Coach is now quite significant, due to the ever-changing demands in the educational systems. The need for more and more innovations and techniques is essential to strengthening the capability of the teachers. Instructional Coach jobs are gaining momentum and are on a high rise. Academic institutions and online education businesses are hiring coaches to upskill their teaching faculty.
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The key duties and responsibilities of an Instructional Coach are:
- Create models or prototypes of the lessons to be conducted. You can perform the activity every day or once in a week
- Analyze the behavioural and professional characteristics of the teachers
- Guide them to understand and develop the curriculum for better interactions with the students
- Assist in conducting students’ assessment exercises through innovative methods
- Develop a strong interpersonal relationship with the teachers and even the school or college administration
- Inculcate best practices within the curriculum and teaching techniques for the betterment of the students
- Provide educational resources and tools to the teachers for efficiently conducting their sessions
- Helps teachers in planning and organizing the sessions, through a comprehensive, collaborative strategy
- Invite feedback and comments from teachers on their problems, issues or additional knowledge requirements
- Continually guide and support teachers in developing their competency and skillset
- Suggest online materials and guides for boosting up their teaching efficiencies
- Improve their teaching abilities and behavioural characteristics through group discussions, one on one sessions and learning programs
What is the role of an Instructional Coach?
An instructional coach is not entrusted with a single role, but multiple ones. The key roles are:
- Providing the teachers requisite educational resources and guides for imparting sessions in a classroom as well as conducting online sessions. The resources may be in the form of tools, supporting data or use cases, study guides, and materials. You can provide them with books, online links, or learning courses from subject matter experts.
- Collect data through surveys, feedback, and polls on the academic level and success. It is important to assess the performances of both the teachers and the students. Eventually, you can leverage the data for further research and analysis on improving the learning process being followed. An instructional coach guides the teachers based on the data collected.
- The instructional coach plays a vital role in assessing the design of the curriculum. A thorough analysis is conducted to understand whether the lessons imparted are sufficient or needs improvement. While performing the assessment, it is vital to consider the complexity of the subject and the age or maturity level of the students. The coach also needs to verify and validate the expertise of the teachers in handling the curriculum. Sync needs to be established between the proficiency level of the teacher, the subject matter, and the expectations from the students. They must ensure the topics covered are as per the standards established by the respective academic boards of the state or country.
- Assisting and guiding the teachers in devising the instructions that need to be imparted to the students. The instructions can be verbal or written. It essentially consists of the sequence of steps that the students need to abide to follow the sessions well. A session mainly comprises of the lessons imparted by the teachers, interactions with the students, live demos or videos, assessment, and feedback. Following the instructions of the teachers is vital to cover all the aspects of a session. The teacher needs to communicate the same to the students avoiding confusion effectively. Failure to do so may result in unnecessary discrepancies and miscommunications between the students and the teachers. Instructional coaches facilitate this important aspect to build up trust and confidence.
- Acting as the mentor and guide for the teachers in every facet of their learning journey. They help in strengthening the interpersonal relationship of the teachers between peers, supervisors, and students. Besides professional aspirations and goals, behavioural characteristics and relationships play a major role in future growth. Instructional coaches assist teachers in working on the personal aspect by grooming them through various counselling sessions.
- Managing the classroom and online sessions for achieving the learning objectives is vital for a teacher. An instructional coach works along with the teachers to plan and organize the sessions, the activities to be conducted, and the duration for each. He or she often attends sessions in listening mode to understand the difficulties encountered by a teacher. Also, it helps the coach to analyze the shortcomings of teachers. They can eventually guide the teachers to further improve their skills and techniques.
- Encourages and promotes learning within the academic institution at all levels. The coaches focus on areas that need to be upskilled or cross skilled. They conduct assessments of teachers, students, curriculum, and the sessions being conducted. They interact with different outside learning groups, forums, and experts. This helps them to gather knowledge on the latest innovations in the world of academics. The coaches then embed the best practices within the educational system of the institution for uplifting the competency levels. Besides they organize group discussions, study circles, bring in practical examples or use cases in the study curriculum.
- Understanding the goals and objectives of the academic institutions and ensure adherence to them. The coaches must try to mitigate any hurdles that may hinder in obtaining the learning goals. They need to work on the courses, learning programs, content and assess the expertise of the faculty for the smooth functioning of the institution.
- Introduce innovative ideas for improvements in the overall academic performance of the institutions. The modifications suggested and recommended by coaches play a significant role in enhancing the reputation of the institutions. The trend is to embrace modern methods of teaching and adopt the best in class techniques for imparting education. The coaches need to constantly measure performance improvements and adjust the changes accordingly. They must enforce multiple ideas at once. It must be a step by step process, gradually traversing to the path of improvement.
- “Thought Leadership” is an important concept in almost all domains. An instructional coach is expected to be the thought leader of an institution. They are the role models, imbibing in the correct and best practices into the learning process. They interact with multiple professional learning groups and communities to be acquainted with the latest trends in academics. They try to synergize collaborations and arrange external training and certifications too.
Skills required for instructional coach jobs
1. Analytical ability
The maximum time of an instructional coach is spent in analyzing the data. Data represents the courses and sessions conducted, the details of both teachers and students, the satisfaction and performance levels. Once the data is obtained, you have to scrutiny them, verify and validate them. You must possess strong analytical capability to assess the data and suggest steps for improvement.
2. Knowledge of the Best Practices and Latest learning techniques
You need to possess adequate knowledge of the best learning strategies and methodologies. Next, you must be an expert in implementing and executing the same. Equipping the teachers with the best in class practices is an essential activity of instructional coaches. Therefore without sufficient information and experience, you will not able to recommend or guide the academicians.
3. Student-centric ideas
An instructional coach must focus on the student asks and upliftment while providing recommendations and imparting training. Increasing the knowledge and competency levels of students must be the main objective or goal. Hence the learning process suggested or improvised by you, must focus on achieving this particular goal.
4. Capability to Build trust and confidence
One of the key criteria of success in instructional coach jobs is building up a strong bonding of trust and confidence. Teachers must believe in the methods and modes suggested by the coaches. They must rely on the ability of the coaches and trust their recommendations. Coaches must constantly engage with their teachers in resolving their queries and assisting them whenever needed.
Common instructional coach interview questions
1. Why do you want to become an Instructional Coach?
You must focus on your learning spree and love for the noble profession of teaching. Refer experiences that demonstrate your passion for education and eagerness to bring in improvements.
2. Share your experiences where your methods have helped improve the learning.
Explain with a practical scenario where you have introduced innovative methods or best practices to improve the learning process. You must explain the steps clearly and concisely.
3. What is your educational formula and how did you apply them in your work?
You can explain the common asks of students from a learning session. Then you can talk about the preparations required as a pre-requisite to fulfilling the tasks. You must specifically point out the checklists to be followed by the teachers to achieve the same.
4. How did you mitigate a conflict with a teacher?
Through this question, the interviewer will essentially try to judge your mitigating ability in case of any conflicts. You must focus on one to one conversations, hearing out the concerns of the teacher, and adopt a logical step through facts to resolve the issue.
5. Briefly explain the techniques and instructions you normally impart to the teachers
The question will help to judge your knowledge of the learning techniques and best practices. Hence you need to explain each of them with their objectives and outcome. You may point out some practical examples as well.
The other common instructional coach interview questions revolve around your strengths, weaknesses, willingness, confidence level, and ability to judge students.
What is the typical instructional coach salary?
The instructional coach salary varies depending on the subject matter of expertise, the school grade levels, and your educational background and experience. The starting salary is approximately USD 25,000 per year which increases to about yearly USD 106,500. As you gain experience and expertise, the remuneration tends to rise.
Websites offering jobs of instructional coaches
Numerous websites offer a listing of jobs for instructional coaches. You can search for them and apply as per your preference. It is advised to go through each of the instructional coach job description and roles offered by the companies. They even mention the approximate salary ranges along with the job locations. You can register and set up your profile in the websites to ease the search by potential employers. Your resume must be the latest and attractive.
- Zip Recruiter
- Simply Hired
By now, you must have understood the role of an instructional coach and the instructional coach job description. Hope the article has provided you with sufficient guidance in preparing for instructional coach jobs.