Catching the Bug: How Virtual Coaching Improves Teaching

Virtual coaches can drop in frequently and offer on-the-spot feedback. See how bug-in-ear coaching can improve teachers’ performance and foster collaboration.

It’s a rainy Friday morning at about five minutes until 10. I’m sitting in my office chair with a cup of peppermint mocha coffee in hand, preparing for a coaching session with Julia, one of my senior interns at University of Central Florida. I pull out my pre-observation conference form, glancing at my scribbled notes from my last meeting with her. It’s time for me to visit her classroom of 4th graders and coach her through an awesome inquiry-based science lesson that we’ve developed together with her cooperating teacher. But instead of getting in my car and driving 20 miles across Orlando to her school, I roll my chair over to the computer, log on to Skype, and quickly check my microphone. Game on! Welcome to the world of virtual coaching.

After three or four familiar sing-song Skype rings, Julia picks up and says “hello” with a bobbing sea of eager 4th-grade faces behind her. She adjusts her Bluetooth headset in her ear, I turn off my video camera (like donning a cloak of invisibility!), and she strides to the front of the classroom. Session number seven of virtual coaching has begun.

So what is virtual coaching, and why is it so effective? Read on to find out.

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