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The Teacher Tip

Developing Focus as a Coach

February 8, 2018

Adapted from Reclaiming the Principalship by Tom Marshall. 

Districts can be notorious for instituting almost  “flavor  of  the  month” initiatives that come and go each year. Don’t align your coaching to something that teachers feel (or you feel) may not be around for the long haul. Choose something that you genuinely value and that will have a great impact on teacher practice and student achievement. This will give your work with teachers greater authenticity and power. Teachers know just  how  busy  you  are,  and  if  they  see  you  are  interested  enough  in  something  to  spend  time coaching around it, they’ll know it’s important to you, and that it should be important to them.

This chart will help you try on different aspects of teaching. These are very broad questions for you to reflect upon in determining an area of focus (if you want one) for you to coach teachers in.


1. What experience or successes make you comfortable in this area?

2. What, if any, part of this focus are you not completely comfortable with?

3. Think of three very diverse teachers in your care. How would you be able to coach them in this area? How would working with them stretch you as a teacher and a leader?

4. What work could you do with a teacher in a classroom around this area (examples: modeling, co-teaching, giving feedback)? What work could you do with a teacher outside the classroom in this area (examples: reflecting, reading/applying professional texts, engaging in work that is similar to the work students will try)?

5. What resources do you have at your disposal that might improve your own knowledge or the knowledge of a teacher in this area (examples: professional texts or videos, colleagues with experience in this area)?

To learn more about Reclaiming the Principalship, visit 

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