Teachers need coaching more than ever especially with the cut backs in professional development opportunities at the local level. Schools need a cost-effective and convenient way to help their teachers attain the skills and knowledge they need to meet their learning goals. For some teachers, it might mean learning how to differentiate instruction because now they have larger class sizes with students with wider ranges of abilities. This holds true for teachers and students at all levels including universities.
One shot workshops are a great way to introduce concepts and theory but not the place for teachers to absorb and retain what they learned. They need to take the concepts and practice them in their classroom with their students. It is even better if a coach can model how to implement the practice with the students. Face-to-face coaching with modeling is the best example of performance coaching and job-embedded professional development. Unfortunately, this type of coaching is expensive and time-intensive. The coach may be hired by a district with multiple schools and is running from school to school and teacher to teacher. What happens is the coach spends more time on the road then in the classroom.
This is where eCoaching can supplement or replace face-to-face coaching. If the teacher is part of an online community that contains relevant support material and ongoing online coaching support, that teacher can receive answers, find resources, and get suggestions when they need it. There are ways to post videos of your teaching in the classroom and get feedback from your eCoach or other teachers.
Letís think about how much it costs to hire one coach per so many teachers and then rethink how that one coach could serve more teachers if they developed a blended model:
workshops at the district
webinars focused on relevant needs of their teachers
resources posted online
Developing an eCoaching program takes planning and time to design the appropriate components that will meet the needs of your school and each teacher. For coaches to transform their professional development program into this blended model, they need support from a managing eCoach that can nudge them, point them to the right tools and resources, and assist them when they have questions.