5 Traits of Successful Math Coaches


5 key observations by Pear Instructional Math Coaches.

What we've learned being on the front lines with your teachers.

I thought I'd share 5 key oberservations from our partnerships with school districts on what makes a math coach successful. One common thread I see is the importance of the teacher/coach relationship. As we approach the 2017-18 school year and, our coaches are reflecting on how to make this relationship even stronger to continue to support your teachers at becoming the best at teaching math.

#1 Sit in Your Corner

Like a Teddy Bear, an effective Math Coach wants to hug you when success happens and console you when things aren't going as planned. While an effective Math Coach is an instructional expert, he/she is more importantly your collaborative partner who isn't critical of past performance. They are concerned about you and will keep you moving forward even when change feels hard.

"There's a reason why the windshield is larger than the rearview mirror. Where we're going is far better than where we've been." -Unknown

#2 Ask, Don't Tell

Most teachers put their heart and soul into their work and want to provide a high-quality education for all of their students. Telling teachers what to do is a sure way to make a committed teacher defensive. But, an effective coach will ask him what he did and why to get a teacher talking and reflecting. It's in this open conversation and mindset that ideas can be shared and real instructional shifts can be made.

"The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery" -Mark Van Doren

#3 Coteach More Than Model

Coteaching helps teachers realize that coaches are their partners in the classroom, equally invested in success and failure. While modeling does have a place in Math Coaching, teaching together creates a powerfully transformative dynamic.

"Only the person who isn't rowing has time to rock the boat." -Jean Paul Sartre

#4 Encourage Collaboration with Other Teachers

Teachers can greatly benefit from collaborating with other teachers who are also trying to improve their instruction. Effective Math Coaches encourage and create opportunties for groups of teachers to come together, share experiences, and co-plan.

"Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success." -Henry Ford

#5 Advocate Rather Than Evaluate

One of the biggest fears that we see with teachers is that Math Coaches will evaluate and report back to administrators. It must be clear, however, that effective Math Coaches advocate for teachers, not evaluate them. With Pear, the teacher/coach relationship is a confidential one because trust is critical to success.

"If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else." -Booker T. Washington

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