The Power of Instructional Coaching

Topics: Building Capacity

Often when we think of teachers, we think of the powerful interactions between students and educators in the classroom. But what about those who teach the teachers?

Samantha Trotter, an instructional coach with Lexington County School District 3 in Batesburg, South Carolina, remembers her first year teaching and the impact of having an instructional coach.

“I was 22-years-old with 16 kiddos all multiple grade levels behind, and she taught me how to use data, how to plan my instruction around my kids’ needs,” said Trotter. “She was my saving grace. I knew then, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to be there for other first-year teachers.”

Trotter has been attending convenings in South Carolina supporting the state’s efforts to advance personalized, competency-based learningPersonalized learning provides teachers the opportunity to learn who their students are on a personal level – and equips them with the tools and strategies they need to meet and support students where they are. Likewise, students have the opportunity to learn more about how they learn best, allowing them to take ownership of their learning. Trotter believes this is powerfully motivating.

“My teachers are seeing kids who maybe traditionally we would have lost, speaking up because they know what they want,” said Trotter. “We’re seeing changes in the conversations we’re having with students.”

Through personalized learning and the genuine relationships she’s been able to foster with educators and students, Trotter is confident that though the choice to leave the classroom was a tough one, it was the right one for her, and the right one for the learners in her community.

“Leaving my children was really hard for me,” Trotter explained of her switch from the classroom to a coaching role. “But instead of having 20 relationships, I have 400 relationships. I am reaching more children and through that, I am getting to know their teachers. Coaching has allowed me to be a part of all of their lives.”

Is your district beginning the shift to personalized, competency-based learning? From Vision to Reality: Personalized, Competency-Based Learning for All Kids© includes essential considerations for educators, students and all stakeholders to ensure implementation of personalized, competency-based learning is successful.