Whether you are a veteran coach or fresh out of the classroom, it is important to start your coaching year off on the right track. Spending the first few days, weeks, and even months building relationships and ensuring that teachers and staff know what services you provide are crucial in setting the tone for your role. This year, I will begin my fourth year as a coach, but it is my first year in a new district. I am being very intentional about how I “introduce” myself and my services.
Introducing Myself to Staff
Postcards with a QR code video
One way to introduce yourself to your staff is by creating postcards and delivering one to each teacher’s mailbox. For this upcoming ‘21-’22 school year, I created the postcard above in Canva and included a QR code that links to a Flipgrid shorts video. The back was left blank so that I could leave individual notes if needed. I printed 150 postcards through Canva for under $35 (and teachers get FREE Canva for Edu accounts). For a copy of the above template click HERE.
As a new coach in my district, I will take the time to get to know each teacher and build relationships with them. I will be walking the halls regularly and stepping in where I can to show teachers that I am a part of their team. It is also important that teachers know how to connect with me. While teachers will have access to my appointment calendar, I want to ensure that trust is built so that appointment slots eventually start to fill up. By leaving small treats in the teacher’s lounge, motivational cards in mailboxes, and sending regular digital updates, I hope to leave a positive message with teachers. By the time I reach out to teachers to share the services I provide, my goal is for each teacher on site to know who I am and that I am a member of their school team.
Introducing My Services to Staff
After a bit of time has passed, I will begin introducing my services and ways that I can support the teachers and students at each of the sites that I am working with. One way for coaches to share their services is to create a Menu, similar to the one below that Suzana Somers, founder of connecthub.io, created. The menu creates a visual summary of the different services that teachers can reach out to their coach to receive. For a copy of the menu below, click HERE.
Another idea for coaches to encourage teachers to join a coaching cycle is to start off the year with a teacher survey. Google for Edu Certified Coaching Curriculum provides coaches with a Gripe Jam activity to complete with staff and teacher surveys to follow the Gripe Jam. I will also engage teachers in a survey so that I can utilize the survey data to reach out to teachers and offer my services. While not every teacher that engages in a Gripe Jam or teacher survey will want to start a coaching cycle, the goal is to have at least a few touchpoints with everyone in the building throughout the year.
For teachers who do choose to engage in coaching cycles, I will utilize the Google for Edu Certified Coach Onboarding Packet (I will modify mine a bit to meet my district goals). In addition to an onboarding packet that goes over the coaching cycle, it is important for teachers and coaches to define their roles and expectations throughout the cycle. Below is a Co-Authoring Coaching Agreement by shiftingschools.com. This is an agreement that I can use with teachers as a “contract” for the work that we are about to engage in. Coaching cycles are a team effort and teachers should feel comfortable sharing their expectations for the work.
Overall, my focus at the beginning of the year will be on building relationships, sharing my services, and engaging teachers in coaching cycles. Since I am new to the district, I will be investing a bit of money into treats, postcards, etc. but honestly, these are not necessary. If you have been coaching for a while or you already know the teachers at your site, you could send out your postcard virtually and share your menu in an email. My site purchased the motivational cards that I will be sending out, but these could also be created and printed online (Google Drawing, Canva, Adobe) for free. The goal is not around spending money, but instead is focused on ensuring that staff knows who you are, how to connect with you, and what services you provide. How will you be introducing yourself and your services to staff this year?