There’s an untapped resource you might not have considered when it comes to professional development. See how your peers can help you improve your teaching practice.

As a new teacher, what will you do when you realize there’s an aspect of your practice that you want to improve? Will you make a plea to your administration to attend an expensive workshop? Will you try to cram a class into your already jam-packed schedule? You may even try to hide your weakness and hope nobody notices. Is there another option to consider? Have you thought about peer coaching?

Peer coaching is a formal process of two teachers coming together to reflect and refine their practice through structured conversation. Like many other educators who have been involved in peer coaching, I am convinced that it is a powerful means of professional development for those who have a sincere desire for improvement. The power of peer coaching lies in the fact that a teacher voluntarily participates in this confidential process and it is not tied to his formal administrative evaluation.

It’s about you

Many of us remember the days when professional development meant leaving the classroom to attend a conference or workshop. Many of us also remember leaving those professional development days with the feeling that the only things we got out of it were a free cup of coffee and a doughnut. Although peer coaching doesn’t typically involve breakfast, it does provide professional development that is centered on your instruction. Peer coaching can be geared to meet your needs, whether you are a first-year teacher or veteran.

For instance, when I decided to start basing my lessons on essential questions, I quickly learned that I needed some support implementing this paradigm shift. Rather than hunting for a workshop, I sought feedback from two coaches at my school.

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