The instructional coach job description requires an individual who is able to work with teachers and other education professionals in such a way that improves the way certain skills—namely math and literacy—are delivered to students. These individuals work in elementary, high school and even university settings.
An instructional coach supports teachers and professors by providing ongoing professional development, building their teaching skills, and assisting them in applying new knowledge.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities of an Instructional Coach
- Supports the philosophy and vision of the school system in which he or she is employed.
- Facilitates the professional and intellectual development of teachers and aides.
- Helps to build positive relationships between teachers and administrators.
- Communicates, implements, and demonstrates practices in instruction that are known to improve teaching and education in general.
- Communicates information between students, teachers, administrators and the community in general.
- Reacts to changes within the school system or facility professionally.
- Supports the value of education within society as a whole.
- Works with teachers to find effective ways to deal with behavioral issues in the classroom.
- Puts various tutoring programs into place and recruits teachers to host them.
Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities
- Demonstrates proficiency with computers and with the software that is used by the school system.
- Possesses knowledge of a variety of assessment tools and practices.
- Shows a willingness to assume positions of leadership and intervene when current teaching methods are not effective.
- Demonstrates a wide knowledge of required curriculum and subject matter.
- Understands the social issues children face and how these can interfere with learning.
- Possesses the desire to support teachers intellectually, morally and emotionally.
- Demonstrates creativity in finding new ways for teachers to provide education.
Education and Experience
In order to work as an instructional coach, a candidate must have a teaching license on file in the state where he or she applies for the job. Similarly, while some schools may hire individuals who have Bachelor’s degrees, a Master’s degree in an education related field is preferred. Candidates are also required to have experience in classroom instruction—typically five or more years—and experience with mentoring other teachers. Those who have been employed as principals or in other administrative roles may have better opportunities.
An instructional coach works in a climate controlled school facility and is rarely called upon for outdoor activities. The position requires long periods of sitting or standing and periods of working in noisy, crowded environments. The coach may be called upon to travel on occasion, particularly when attending seminars or workshops designed to further his or her own education. While real physical labor is not necessary, mental strain is a common part of the job.
An instructional coach salary is about $49,000 per year on average, and those who work for private schools and universities can earn upwards of $70,000. Conversely, instructional coaches who work for small public school systems earn the least and may bring in just under $30,000 per year. Finally, individuals who have a Master’s degree and several years’ experience earn the most and could have salaries that top out at $80,000 per year.