Instruction Found Behind the Instruction: The Teacher You Never Knew You Had

Instruction Found Behind the Instruction: The Teacher You Never Knew You Had

Tyler Olmo

Teachers huddle around their table, eagerly attentive to their presenter. Before them stands Yolanda Clarke, English Instructional Coach who oversees all English staff at school. Her set of skills allows her to be a multi-purpose tool that can adapt to fit any need of teachers from lesson planning, strategies within the classroom and observing how teachers can improve their lessons to deliver a more direct message to their students. Instructional Coaches, such as Clarke, are the supportive hand propping up all teachers when even they cannot find a solution to their problems.

“Our typical day is never typical because we are here to support teachers, and we provide someone who can aid in whatever concerns are immediate needs they might have. We meet with many different people: our Professional Learning Community, our teachers and etc.,” said Clarke.

Instructional coaches go unnoticed by many students as their jobs rarely involve direct contact with them, yet their roles are essential to the proper and smooth running of any classroom. Due to their involvement in the development of lessons, their effect is farther reaching than many students anticipate when they first hear of the position.

“(Instructional coaches) have to be really good with time management, as you often have to be a good multitasker. When people ask what I do in education, I usually describe myself as similar to a firefighter because whenever something pops up that needs attending to, for example a meeting, I have to go handle it,” said Courtney Schindler, Science Instructional Coach.

Instructional coaches’ responsibilities range and vary greatly. Some of their days even consist of meeting with the head principal, assistant principals and heads of departments. Their role is invaluable to many teachers, as they are especially helpful to teachers who are in their first year.

“(Instructional coaches) are a big support system for teachers. They do not impose on or dictate what teachers choose to teach their students, but, having been teachers previously, they are a fantastic resource for teachers to go to for extra materials and new, exciting assignments, and general advice from an experienced teacher on how to implement certain assignments and strategies. (Instructional coaches) will often do additional research on a topic or assignment and will provide teachers with extra resources to help supplement their lessons,” said Macey Godfrey, first-year AP Language teacher.

Instructional coaches provide a great system for teachers to rely on when they are keeping their classroom fresh and entertaining. In their truest forms, instructional coaches are there to mentor teachers and provide them with a back-bone to map out the best way to teach their student.