As summer begins, educators are thinking about what is ahead for next year. This is especially true for first-year instructional coaches as they plan and prepare for their new roles.
There are a lot of factors to account for when trying to create the optimal space for partnering with teachers. We recently shared a follower post on Facebook in which a follower was asking for recommendations about setting up her new office space. So many awesome and helpful responses came in from real coaches, that we decided to summarize some of these recommendations.
A Collaboration Space
Create a space that promotes a feeling of openness and partnership. One of the most common recommendations is for coaches to set up a space with chairs and a table where teachers and coaches can comfortably work together side-by-side, instead of a more traditional office set up which can feel formal or intimidating. When two people sit across from each other at at a desk, there can sometimes be a feeling that one person is being judged by the other.
Lamps & Warmth
Sometimes, the details are what make the most difference. Many coaches recommend using lamps or string lights to avoid fluorescent lights and keep the space warm, like a departure or escape from a hectic day in the classroom.
Creature Comforts & Stress Relief
It may seem like a small thing, but you’d be surprised how meaningful some coffee, breakfast bars, or candy can be for teachers who need an extra boost.
Be sure to let teachers know all the ways in which you can be reached. Make it easy to connect inside and outside of the office. Casual connections at campus events could lead to bigger discussions later on.
Much like coaching itself, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when creating a coaching space. Commenter Suzanne Rogers noted the fact that school may be returning in a different format for everyone, which will come with its own set of new and unique challenges. But no matter what the situation – whether your school will be operating virtually, face-to-face, both, or something else entirely – there are always benefits to keeping things flexible to the needs of your coaching partners. As Stephen Avery points out in his reply, “Much like a classroom for your students, your coaching space should and will reflect the needs of your new learners – the teachers of your school!”