Coaching Teachers: What You Need to Know About Resistant Teachers and Setting Limits on How Many Teachers You Can Coach at One Time

 Coaching Who to Coach

It is important to keep performing your roles and responsibilities as an instructional coach, even if you come up against teachers who seem uninterested in working with you.

You never know who is watching and may want to be a part of your work as an instructional coach. In addition, you have to be mindful of how many teachers you can effectively coach at one time. Be sure to set realistic limits for yourself in order to ensure success!

What to look for in this post:
  • Teaching and coaching resistant teachers
  • How many teachers to coach at one time
If you prefer to hear me talk through this, here are two videos featuring all of this content:

Reaching and Coaching Resistant Teachers

Instructional coaching is intimidating. You have to know a lot, and you have to reach a lot of teachers. At my school, I am responsible for supporting around 150 teachers. Sometimes it can feel disappointing, because you may notice that not all teachers are equally willing to work with you.

I wanted, however, to remind you to keep pushing through. Keep performing your duties as an instructional coach. Even teachers who may be less receptive to working with you can hear about the work you do with other teachers - and they may come around.

I have certainly had teachers reach out to me because they heard about how I was supporting their colleagues. Just a friendly reminder to hang in there. Don’t take it personally if every teacher is not excited to work with you immediately.

Building TRUST with one teacher can lead to other teachers trusting you, too.

How Many Teachers to Coach at One Time

As an instructional coach, you may be aware that “coaching cycles” are all the rage. When I first started coaching teachers, I thought I had to do coaching cycles with all of the teachers all the time. Given the large number of teachers I support, however, I quickly realized that was not going to be sustainable.

There is a difference between coaching cycles, which involves deep and continuous work, versus supporting teachers. Can I support 150 teachers? Yes. Can I coach them all deeply? No.

Depending on which sources you are looking at, research says we can maintain meaningful coaching relationships with between six and twelve teachers at a time. In my mind, then, that is the maximum amount of coaching cycles I can do. The urge is often to do more, but I encourage you to try to limit yourself. It will become too challenging to keep all the details straight in your head, and you may start to confuse what you are doing with each individual teacher. No matter how great your notes are, you just cannot work with that many teachers well. Stick with six to twelve as your magic number, and you will find your work with teachers to be more manageable.

Research finds that 6-12 teachers is the MAGIC number for effective instructional coaching.

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