A Teacher's Perspective: The Importance of Trust
I loved having a coach who knew how to use an instructional practice that was new to me, because she had done it before. She was knowledgeable, but also empathetic. The coach I trusted most was one who could say, “these are the challenges I had with this method. I can see you’re a different teacher, and you have different challenges. Let me help.” With a trustworthy coach, I could talk about specific ways to use the new practice—how it might differ for 7th graders versus 9th graders. The coach not only understood in the abstract what it’s like to be a teacher, she understood specific instructional issues. And that was a big deal.
My coach also understood that every school incorporates a complex network of relationships: with administrators, with fellow teachers, with parents, and with students both individually and as a class. She respected how I had chosen to navigate these relationships. Her respect allowed me to be candid; and when I was able to be candid with someone, it was a lot easier to receive coaching from them.