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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Academic coaches are colleagues not bosses

I don’t want to anger any coaches that are readers, I know like teachers the vast majority of you are professionals and work just as hard as anyone else but below is a story I have heard more and more frequently as principals make coaches part of their leadership team and people think coaching is a stepping stone to administration. Academic coaches are colleagues not bosses and this is something a few of them seem to forget.

 From a reader 

At my school we have a fairly new principal and they are allowing our reading coach to run the entire show in regards to ELA.

Fast forward to today and the district has piled all these requirements on us with the new curriculum. In addition to that, our reading coach is forcing us to do all of this work with materials that have little to do with what we are actually teaching. 

When asked how we are supposed to find time, they put up their hand up, as in talk to the hand. This was supposed professional minimizing and ignoring the concerns of another professional. A colleague not a subordinate. 

So after that was added then we were told we have to work on portfolios during our rotations. We have to go through every single student and mark each standard they mastered on the scrimmage. If they didn't pass a standard we have to reteach the standard in rotations. We have to create gradual release lesson plans for each standard and at the end of each week the students will be given a test to see if they've mastered the standard. There are also weekly writing essay tests given. We don't have time to grade the essays before it's time to give the next essay.

 There are 6 ELA teachers in grades 3-5 at our school. We all feel the same way….overwhelmed and at our breaking point. 4 of us got together to meet with the principal. We voiced our concerns about how they were putting too much on us and that we can't possibly do it all. We are all good teachers at an A/B school. After saying again that the reading coach is pushing us too far, and the principal backing her up, two of us began to cry. 

One of us said you're just asking too much of us. Another asked him if he was willing to give up his entire ELA team so this reading coach could continue on their power trip (to many of us they seem to be trying to invent a need for themselves at our school). Their reply was, "You're welcome to transfer." That was the ultimate slap in the face. We weren't given any supplies to teach these individual standards during rotations. We've requested a TDE to check off which students have met the standards, but we just don't get a response to our emails.

A teacher crying at work because of what other adults did is unacceptable but it happens more often than people think. These teachers are frustrated, exhausted and at the end of their ropes and they deserve better than shrugs of the shoulders from their principal and a run away coach piling on.

And friends if this is happening at one of our high performing schools, what’s happening at other schools less fortunate? An entire ELA team ready to quit. 

We are never going to reach our potential as long as we minimize and disregard our teachers like this, never.


  1. After 22 years teaching grades 1-3 I became a DCPS district coach. At my interview with the district, I was asked why I wanted to leave the classroom. My reply was, " I don't, but I love teaching so much and feel so passionate about teaching that I want to be able to encourage others." The person interviewing me said she had never had that reply. I served (notice I used the word served) as a coach for 3 years. I learned so very much from every teacher, and I mean every teacher I encountered that I couldn't wait to have my own students again to once again "hone" my practice. If a coach is "coaching" for reasons that do not involve encouraging others, providing a "soft place" for teachers, or for sharing the passion that CAN BE found in teaching...DON'T COACH! Coaches have the responsibility to support, scaffold, encourage, uplift, support and shelter their teachers. The administration and the coach discussed above are hurting not only teachers and our profession they can not build a strong school community with an attitude that does not LIFT TEACHERS! THAT IS THE JOB OF A COACH!

  2. It is terrible the repression that is going on in this country at all different levels. But Teachers have to unite and act together. 6 ELA teachers' resignations on the principal's desk simultaneously and probably a few others might send a good message. Most principals, and I say most, are not effective teachers. Effective teachers stay in classrooms, whereas poor teachers, most often escape into administration. It is about time that teachers be made responsible for teaching, only, and principals/ass principals for administrating including managing disruptive student behavior and parents contact like it used to be just over a decade ago. These ADMINISTRATIVE THUGS are helping thOSE KNUCKLE-HEADED POLITICIANS with @#$%^&* SH*//Y *SS LAW DEGREES to destroy the TEACHING PROFESSION.