Partnering with the Principal

Work is work.  Well actually, work is only “work” if that’s how you view it.  Whether or not you are a teacher, coach, aide, doctor, secretary, or truck driver, I think we all have a common thought.  How can we make our job a little easier??  This all goes back to the age-old saying, “Work smarter, not harder.”  I think as a teacher, you are always looking for ways to make your life a little easier.  In fact, at any time anyone offers you help, when you’re a teacher, you jump at the chance.  Being an instructional coach doesn’t mean that your job is any less demanding than being a teacher.   So, how can we make our lives more simple??  We also have families, hobbies, and sometimes other occupations to balance.  Partnering with the principal is one way to help make life more manageable.

 
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Partnering with the principal is an effective strategy to use while coaching.  There are some things that will make this strategy even better~ and that’s if the principal has a good relationship and is well respected with staff already.  The other character quality in a principal that will help, is if he/she is supportive of the staff and enthusiastic about education.  If your cooperating principal doesn’t have these qualities, it isn’t impossible to partner with him/her, but it sure helps!

Quick Tip... If available, try partnering with the assistant principal if you feel the head doesn’t fill these characteristics!

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Well, for starters, the instructional coach and principal must have the same goals in mind~ student achievement.  The key to ensuring that you guys are on the same page is setting up a meeting with the principal.  Asking questions about his/her vision for the school.  Discussing their goal. 

It is important to understand that an instructional coach and principal are NOT adversaries, they are a team.  Again, the most valuable of all the strategies to being a coach or teacher is the relationship piece.  The principal and coach must have a strong relationship/partnership and it must show!  A "United Front" for the lack of better explanation.

When the teacher has built a relationship with students, the coach has a strong relationship with the teacher, and the administrator has a strong relationship with the coach, and everyone is one the same page...

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When partnering with the principal, set up a framework for teacher buy-in.  Remember that meeting I said you should set up? That is a good time to bring this up... Look at the logistics of the situations.  Are the teachers really collaborating?  I mean, REALLY collaborating??  Is there a camaraderie among staff?  This is the first place to start because teachers need to be a team, sharing information and ideas, in order for student achievement and a strong, stable school to run.  

With the principal, set individual goals first, then team goals.  Doing this with the principal is the best option because he/she is going to know each staff better than you as a coach will in the beginning AND, the coach can assist with ideas while the principal can give advice on which teachers can be successful at which goal.  

Being enthusiastic and positive about learning will help tremendously!  

Together as partners, you can achieve so much more.

Here are a few ideas for you and your principal can host together:

(1) Set up and host a book club with teachers

(2) Conduct walkthroughs and/or observe classrooms

(3) Host a data dive meeting with teachers

 
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What are some things you and your Principal do together in your building?