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Supporting Teachers Online

Updated: Apr 20

With your school closing and the stay-at-home order in effect, what is a coach to do?


Many coaches find their roles changing during this time. Instead of implementing traditional structured professional development and creating coaching plans, many coaches notice themselves responding to teachers’ individual needs, requiring skills that are outside their normal role.


Coaching and providing PD can be a little different during a time like this. The focus should be helping teachers where they are. Not all teachers are in the same place when it comes to creating digital lessons and curriculum. Often, teachers that are rock stars in brick and mortar classrooms feel much less confident in an online setting. Teachers can’t gauge their kids' reactions to know if they understand content; the worry about whether their students are eating and sleeping is wearing on them; and they are working much longer hours. They can begin to feel much less confident, even if they shouldn’t. Teachers need support more now than ever.

Coaches do not have to know all of the answers. They are here to build relationships, share resources, and encourage growth. 

As a coach, you do not need to hold all the answers. Instead, do what you already do best—build relationships. You know your teachers. Identify those finding success in their new roles and leverage them as a resource. Share teachers’ successes with others. Continue to encourage teachers and build a positive morale. For the moment, you may just put out fires and share resources, but remember that firemen are our first line of defense and they are very valuable. You may not know all of the answers, but you definitely know how to connect people. Connect teachers with those that can help them.

About your Authors:

Dr. Melissa K. Jackson,

Educator, Servant Leader, and Instructional Technology Innovator

Connect with @DrMKJackson


Tony Sanfillipo,

Director of Professional Development, Instructional Coaching

Connect with @TechSanfillipo