A Teacher's Perspective: What Coaching Adds to PD
When you go to a PD session, you’re in a big room with a lot of people, and everybody’s kind of sitting around biding their time. It’s not entirely useless, but a lot of it is—because, you get so much thrown at you at once. Then it’s all on you to go back and read your notes and parse out what might be useful, and then attempt to use it. After you use it, you have no way of knowing if you did what you were supposed to do or if it actually worked. So it’s easier to go back to what you know does work, as opposed to what you’ve just learned.
But it’s different if you have a coach who comes back and helps you with whatever the new practice is. You have a chance to use it, and then talk. Then you can re-formulate your plan for using it based on what you and your coach talk about. If you go through this process a number of times, you find that you’re actually using the practice pretty well by the end of the year. And you realize that the new practice is working—the students are learning better. All that happens because of coaching. Without coaching, it’s dollars to donuts whether the new practice is going to make it past the first six weeks.