Restart Recharge Podcast

402 - Interview Tips for Aspiring Coaches

January 30, 2024 Forward Edge Season 4 Episode 2
Restart Recharge Podcast
402 - Interview Tips for Aspiring Coaches
Show Notes Transcript

In this week's Restart Recharge, we take a slight detour from our usual discussions on pedagogy and professional development to focus on a topic that's crucial for anyone looking to step into the world of instructional coaching: the application process. We're joined by Tyler Erwin, Assistant Director of Curriculum and Integration at Forward Edge, who brings a wealth of knowledge from his role at the helm of our instructional coaching team.

Dive deep with us as we explore the nuances of instructional design coaching, from the trends in hiring and essential qualities for success to the challenges newcomers face when transitioning from teaching to coaching. Tyler doesn't stop there; he also provides his top three tips for those aspiring to make an impact as Instructional Design Coaches and highlights the common pitfalls to avoid during the application process. This episode is a treasure trove for educators, instructional coaches, and anyone interested in the intricacies of instructional coaching.

Join us for a compelling conversation filled with expert advice, engaging stories, and actionable strategies. Whether you're a seasoned educator considering a shift to coaching or simply fascinated by the potential of instructional design in education, this episode is packed with insights that promise to enlighten and inspire.

Follow Tyler for more insights!

Podcast Team
Hosts - Katie Ritter & Matthäus Huelse
Editing Team - Michael Roush, Alyssa Faubion, Matthäus Huelse
Social Media/Promo Team - Alyssa Faubion
Producer - Matthäus Huelse

Matthaeus: Welcome back, everyone. In today's conversation, we're set to unravel the intricacies of what it means to be an instructional coach. We'll uncover trends in applications and resumes, shedding light on the responsibilities and challenges and the impact that coaches have in our schools.

We'll delve into why someone would transition from teaching to coaching, explore the essential qualities that fuel success in this role, and confront the challenges newcomers might face. For those aspiring to step into the world of instructional coaching, jump in and learn more about this career. 

Our guest today is the one, the only, 

Tyler Erwin 

Katie: Woo-hoo

Matthaeus: Tyler is the assistant director right here of curriculum integration at Forward Edge. He has six years of classroom experience, including four years as a seventh grade language arts teacher. He's a Google certified trainer and a mentor coach entering his seventh year as an instructional coach.

Tyler supports his own district while also supervising our team of coaches right here. Welcome Tyler.

Tyler Erwin: Thanks guys. It's it's been a while since I've been on the pod, but it feels really good to be back and looking forward to having a nice chat with both of you.

Katie: Yeah. It wouldn't be a new season if we didn't get you on early in the season here, Tyler. I know, right?

Tyler Erwin: Yeah, it feels good.

Katie: Yeah. Okay, Tyler, so it is, it's a little bit early. At the time that this episode is released, but as, as we all too well know, interviews to get in, people in place for next school year are right around the corner.

So we thought that this would be a, a great episode. I know that I personally have been asked over the years. I can't tell you how many times I wanna be a coach. What should I do? You know, help me with some tips. Send me in the right directions. So we thought it would make a great podcast episode when Matthaeus and I were kind of planning out, or when Matthaeus was planning out the season four here.

And so we know that you have been in the thick of interviewing now for the past couple of hiring seasons, so we thought you'd be a great person with it being fresh on your mind to kind of put some tips and thoughts into practice here. So, . Our first question like I said, you've been pretty knee deep in applications and resumes, trying to fill a position mid school year with us.

And so starting from your experience lately looking for instructional coaches, what, what, do you notice? What are, what are some trends that you're looking for? Whether it be in resumes or in qualities or, or in the actual interview itself.

Tyler Erwin: Yeah, I mean it's, it's perfect timing for this guys. I mean, I literally just Ended an interview like five minutes ago. So, I feel like I can speak to this on a, on a higher level because I have been doing this for, you know, the past few weeks, kind of feverishly over winter break and everywhere in between, but you know, even now just is like 10 minutes ago.

So I think some of the things I'm, I'm really starting to notice and mid-year is definitely different than maybe more like spring, summer. You know, oftentimes we are looking for people who are coming from the classroom, you know, maybe recently held a teaching position or maybe some sort of have maybe been an instructional support in, in some way, shape or form. So, middle of the year is a little bit different, but some of the big things I definitely take note of that people often express when they're applying for this role or even when it just kind of comes out in their resume. When you look at it, you're typically dealing with folks who. Have been recognized as like the go-to on their team, you know, the, the person who's really good with tech or they just kind of naturally have weaved their way into like the instructional leader of their content area or their grade level.

You know, you're noticing that they have some leadership qualities kind of right out of the gate. So, so that would be one. And sometimes it's by choice, and of course sometimes it's just, wow, that person's really good with tech and everybody always goes to them and they always seem to have all the answers.

So that would of course be more of like a technology coach or an instructional support in that way. That's one of the big things I notice. Is it just. It kind of happens naturally. And then they get this taste of working with teachers and adults and they're like, well, I, I actually have a real passion for this, and I feel like I'm pretty good at it too. So that's one thing I've, I've definitely noticed in a lot of our applicants. I would say another thing that often comes out when I ask why, like, why now? Why this role? Why do you wanna leave the classroom? In many cases, it's not like, oh, I've lost my love for education, or teaching and learning, or I can't take it anymore, like, get me out. It's more so you just have a lot of people who wanna make a bigger impact. You know, they, they express that in a lot of what they do, and they say, and they feel kind of limited maybe within their four classroom walls, and they want to do things more from the ground level up. Help build from the curriculum side, help vision plan, help support teachers in a job that's really, really difficult. And so I hear that a lot and I see that as I'm interviewing candidates. I would say too, most of them, and this is maybe a red flag that we'll talk about later, but most people who are applying to become a coach doesn't mean they've lost the passion for the work. Or like the passion for the classroom or of course for their students. Most of the time that never goes away. But I will note I have noticed, especially after Covid, there are certain elements that they've become Maybe a little disenchanted or apathetic to, you know, some of the things have really changed after Covid that's made teaching hard. And so that's been expressed at times.

Like, I haven't lost my love for the work, but man, it's a really hard job. You know, that that's part of it. And so I think that, you know, having that self realization's important, but also understanding that in this role, you know, that hard work just doesn't go away. Now you're supporting the people who have to do that very hard necessary work each and every day.

So kind of fleshing that out a little bit. And then I would say the last thing I've kind of noticed trends wise, as I think about it one that I didn't think about until just now is we get a full range people with maybe just a few years of teaching experience under their belt. Then maybe folks who have been in the classroom for years. And so I would just say maybe this isn't necessarily answering the question, but for us when we hire, that's not like a death sentence. If you've only been in the classroom for just a year or two. It really is about like, where's your mindset? Where's your passion? What's your skill level and your instructional aptitude? And then of course, if you have been teaching for a while, you know, you can also lean on all of that great experience, which is awesome. But I think that that's something that I'm definitely seeing as well as there's a, a bigger range of applicants, some with little to no experience in the classroom, and now a lot of teachers with a lot of experience in the classroom. Who are looking to transition into this role as well. So yeah, after I thought about it, there's definitely a lot of patterns and trends I've been noticing, but I've also been waiting through a lot of resumes, so there's lots of things to share. That's for sure.

Katie: Yeah, and I, so thanks for sharing that. I think if you are, I think the, the average listener of our podcast, . May not benefit as much from this episode 'cause you probably are in a coaching role. But if you are looking to lift as you climb and bring some other people along, maybe kind of network and help some other folks get into a coaching role, this would definitely be a great episode to share with them.

Or maybe you're looking to change schools, even if you are in a current coaching role. So looking to fresh up on some interview skills. But . I think some of what, what you just described, Tyler, if, if that describes you, if you're a brand new listener being, being sent to this episode, or if you are a current coach and that describes an educator, a colleague that you know, might be a cool thing to send this episode to them, to, to listen to and think about maybe that next step or a career change in some kind of, some, some flags of like, Hey, this coaching gig might

Might be for me. And then I also just wanna put a pin and say that as you reference, and, and you definitely touched on some content folks there too, Tyler, but your experience comes from hiring an instructional technology coach. So just as you kind of referenced technology, I just wanna kind of. Put a pin.

And if you're someone who is maybe looking to become a literacy coach or math coach or a general instructional coach, just kind of replace anytime Tyler says technology with like those content instruction skills that are, are focused on there. 

Matthaeus: Yeah, and I think you pointed out with the second highlight or the second trend that you mentioned about how there's always this.

This desire to still wanna be in education, just wanting to make a bigger impact. And I think that's a, that's something that I experienced when I was looking to, to switch out of being a teacher. That was one of the things I was having on my mind. I wanted to do. I didn't wanna leave, leave education. I wanted to stay in education.

It's a passion. I enjoy what I do, but I wanted to do more. I wanted to go further. And that's, that's why I started looking in a way that sounds like you have good people applying in that regard.

Tyler Erwin: I think so, yeah, we've been fortunate in that way. So we have a lot of great people on our team, so it's important to protect that. But You know, a lot of the traits that you find in, in great colleagues are often very evident in the people that you interview. And it becomes pretty clear very quickly. And so I think that the more you get a chance to be around people who, like you said, are hungry to make a difference, they're still motivated. You know, they're not just trying to flee the classroom to, to get out of there. I think that that's, you know. Just a testament to, you know, people who are wanting to always be consistently challenged and still have a deep love for the work that brought them here in the first place.

You know, that started off this career journey. So yeah, you're spot on with that Matthaeus for sure.

Matthaeus: Well, so looking at people that are maybe considering this and thinking about potentially going in that direction, can you give us a, give us a pitch? Why, why should they? What, what's, what's the bonus? Why, why should we switch? Away from teaching may be considered coaching. What? What would be the benefits for us?

a sales pitch.

Tyler Erwin: I will give you a sales pitch from maybe how I would pitch this job to myself. You know, seven years ago when I made the switch. I was pretty uncertain.

 And I, I was very reluctant, admittedly, like I did. I love my job. I like being in the classroom. I taught seventh grade ELA, I wasn't necessarily like looking, per se. But now that I've been in it, you know, the sales pitch for me looking back and thinking had I stayed, still was a teacher, you know, seven years later versus like where I'm at now. I do think in this role, just by the nature of it, you're going to naturally like grow a lot quicker, learn a lot quicker. You're going to experience new aspects of the educational system that you certainly wouldn't as a teacher. I think I get to work with Now a lot closer with principals and curriculum directors and technology coordinators, and you just kind of understand how everything works together a little bit better instead of so focused on your day-to-Day and your students in your classroom. So that would be part of it. I would also say too, you know, I've said this to a lot of people that I interview, is even if you did this for a few years and you decided. I made the wrong choice. I gotta go back to teaching. I miss it too much. You would be a better teacher. You would be a better teacher spending two to three years in this role than just staying in teaching as is over those two to three years

Katie: That's a great point. 

Tyler Erwin: Because you, you're just, you just learn so much. You learn so much. You see things through the eyes of a bunch of teachers instead of just your little sphere. And I think that The nature of this role is to always be innovating and learning and showcasing new ideas and in our case, new tech tools and new ways of teaching and learning. And so if I were to ever go back, like I would be maybe obviously a little bit of like outta my element at first, but I would be very well equipped from like the instructional side and the tech integration side. And I would have a much better understanding of just how everybody can work together. To kind of get to the ultimate goal that we want as opposed to just surviving day to day in the classroom and barely taking care of like my own lesson plans and my own students. So, you know, leaning on that experience, that is, that's my biggest sales pitch is you really can't go wrong. Even if you have this internal doubt of like, will I miss it? Am I making the right move? Is this my next step? I would say that you'd be better off either way.

Katie: I love that. I think that's a great point. Thinking about kind of broad strokes here, what are some qualities and maybe some like tangible look fors that you, that, that you look for on a resume? And I might have a little bit of a follow up question to that.

Tyler Erwin: So on a resume specifically, I'm definitely looking to see that you have some sort of like real classroom experience. I'm looking to see maybe where that's at, what content area it's in. I'm looking to see maybe what other certifications you've earned or possibly what other experiences you've had a chance to engage in, you know, outside of teaching. So have you taken the time to become Google certified, for example, like in our case, that's something we might look for that shows, oh this, this teacher in this case has gone a step past just doing what they have to in the classroom. And like they're self enriching, they're learning new things and they're applying the skills that they've learned.

You know, that would be another thing that would stand out to me. I think another thing, maybe even I don't wanna step on toes of future questions, but like another thing that I'm trying to get from, like the written word of a resume is just like, what is this person all about? You can kind of see it and sometimes in their career arc and like their educational background and it paints a bit of a picture of like what they're looking to gain from their career. And sometimes if there's gaps or there's just kind of things that maybe don't connect a little bit, I wanna ask about that if I do get a chance to speak with you. But sometimes you'll just see like this progression and it just makes so much sense. Of like, oh, they started out secondary. Ed got their bachelor's and then, oh, they went in our case, got their master's in like instructional design and they started off and did teaching for a few years and then they got a supplemental is like the, the technology integration specialist in their district.

And, and now it maybe this is like the next step, like this is the next logical step. So it's even kind of seeing like that progression and that career arc. And when I look at that, that definitely helps me Whittle down candidates and I think find the ones that are just primed for like this is their next step, that makes sense. 

Katie: So what kind of building on this a little bit further. If somebody has, you know, they have a, you know, handful of years teaching under their belt, they're right to dig in to the, to a coaching role as their next step. But you know, maybe they have coaches in their district so already, and so they're gonna have to move and look at a different district, and there's not an opportunity for them to be leading professional development or guiding teachers Right now.

There's already someone in that role, or even if they're . If the school doesn't have the role there, there's maybe not opportunities for them to do coaching if they're not in the coaching role. What were, what would maybe be some suggestions of activities and some proactive things that someone could do to build that resume, to show you that this is the next logical step for them to, to fit into a coaching role next without actively doing it and having the opportunity to formally have like coaching type experience on their resume. 

Tyler Erwin: That's a great question. I know thinking of some recent candidates we've had just because you're not a tech coach doesn't mean that you can't, you know, submit proposals to present at local regional conferences. I think those sometimes are some of the best when it is a classroom teacher. and they haven't of 

Katie: And that's for any coach, right? Not just a tech coach, right? 

Tyler Erwin: Yeah. Yeah. This could be literally for anything. So, you know, if you're really strong in literacy or math or in our case like tech and you're a teacher doing some awesome things in those areas, I think that those are absolutely some of the the best sessions you can attend. Right? So don't be afraid to share what you're doing. And so maybe that's at a conference, maybe that's getting involved in some different forums online. You know, I know that In some cases there's a lot of great like online platforms that you can use to connect, whether it's Facebook groups or, you know, Twitter X spaces or just like different things where people are talking about this and sharing and getting involved with one another.

So that would be one thing. I would say another important thing too is, you know, don't neglect like the power of you just attending some of those things and like learning What are some of the great, innovative stuff that's like happening? What are other teachers around me, outside of my school, my district, my area doing? I think that that also shows, even if you maybe haven't had a chance to present, but you still go or you make that a goal of yours to attend some of these local conferences or regional conferences. a lot of great learning that goes on, and I think that that shows your willingness to be a lifelong learner and recognize that If there's things outside of your four walls that also are really successful and awesome, that could help you be a better educator. And then, I don't know. I feel like one other thing is, is maybe just willingness. To volunteer for things that are available like within your district? You know, I can think of some recent interviewees that we've had, and maybe it's not like at an in-service day where they're in front of like a huge group of people, but there's an opportunity for them to be like the leader on their team. And so Yes, they're not like standing up in front and doing these elaborate presentations and developing their speaking skills, but they're still developing kind of these inherent leadership qualities that you need to move people forward to stimulate change in teachers, to take a position where people look to you and come to you for answers. And I think that when you take advantage of those even smaller things that maybe no one will ever see They happen during like a team plan bell or after school, or there's like vertical alignment happening or whatever. You know, those are all such invaluable opportunities for you to better understand how to work in more of like both a leadership and a support role, which is so crucial to being a successful coach. That those would be definitely some things you could do kind of outside of some of the built-in opportunities that some districts might have.

Katie: I think that's a good point. And kind of building on that last piece that you said, and then I have a few, few tips of my own I'm gonna throw out there to build on more of it. 

But like to that point of just kind of the skillset, you know, common, common skill sets and look for of a coach, you've gotta be able to easily build relationships with all staff members. So what are things that you can do? To show and, and kind of put on a resume and more importantly, be able to speak to it. Once you get that interview of how you've built relationships, positive relationships with all types of staff members, how can you find experiences? You know, are there opportunities for you to volunteer to work with, you know, first year teachers and mentor them or to have some sort of, you know, be a pLC lead or a team lead and, and have some sort of feedback, reflective mentorship type conversations with other colleagues, with other teachers. I mean, that's a huge skillset for coaches to have. 

Are there opportunities for you to do public speaking? You know, you mentioned local conferences. What about even just at your local school PD day? Right? There's a lot of times where principals get to decide what happens at the buildings or, you know, even at the district level. Are you, are you sharing with people to your point, Tyler, share what you're doing. Talk about the great things that you're doing that doesn't come naturally to educators. But you know, if, if you don't vote for yourself, who will?

So you have to advocate for yourself. Sometimes. That's a big thing you'll have to do as a coach. So get used to it. Start advocating for the great work that you do and share with your principal, Hey, I, you know, I learned about this great tour. This lesson's been going great. I'd love to present if there's an opportunity at a PD day or if.

You have coaches, ask them if you can present with them. So thinking of those skill sets that coaches really need to have, I would encourage you to, there's so many outlets, so many opportunities for you to build on those skills that will allow you to put those types of things on a resume to, to share with the person looking at the resume that you do have these transferable skills, even if you've never done that particular role, before.

Then just a couple other things I would add to build on that. You know, more informal things that you can do, but invite teachers to your classroom. You know, you don't, you don't have to have someone else set up a whole structure for you to be like, Hey, I'm gonna be investigating X, Y, Z you know, instructional strategy, or I'm gonna dig into this curriculum a little bit deeper, or I'm gonna look at this tech tool that I just found.

Like come to my room after school next Wednesday, we'll look at it together. You can, you can start to build this community and, and invite teachers and start learning together to create these opportunities for yourself. 

I would also say a lot of times it's crazy. It well was crazy to me before you took over most of the hiring Tyler, but when people would come to me and they'd be like, yeah, we have coaches in the district, or people would apply who have worked with coaches and they themselves never reached out to work with the coach.

I, so I guess. Long story short, so I don't risk putting my foot in my mouth. But if you have coaches at your building, reach out and work with them. You can learn a lot from working with them to be able to speak to things that, you know, just like we all talk about that great teacher that made us wanna become a teacher. You know, we can talk about this great coach of some of the qualities we wanna carry on and some things we'd like to maybe we, we wanna build on or, or do differently. So work with a coach if you had it. last two things. One, build a portfolio. 

Tyler Erwin: Sure. 

Katie: if if you are mastering some like instructional strategies, standards tech tools, build a portfolio that you can share out that shows how you have effectively implemented what, whatever coaching role you want to get, how you've effectively implemented that as a teacher.' cause to be a good coach, you do have to have those. . Foundational instructional skills. 

And then last thing get active on social media or in some kind of a network. Start building your network up beyond and outside of the bubble of your own classroom. Your own school. To Tyler's point, you know, when you start connecting and seeing the great things that are going on outside of your own four walls, it just, it will Exponentially help your own growth. Whether you stay in a teaching role for a few more years, or ultimately make that shift to a coaching role you'll become a better educator no matter what role you're in, if you're actively networking and connecting with other people and sharing great ideas. So those are some of the things that you didn't say that I would add to some advice for someone looking to build a resume to get a role of a coach.

Tyler Erwin: I would just, I would just add really quick, guess what? Typically doesn't go on a resume. I. All of those things, right? So when you're applying to jobs, you know, how can you convey some of that, that awesome stuff that you've done? You know, it might be wise to submit some artifacts from that portfolio that you've built up, or you know, to create a cover letter and express how you've done some of these things, or how you've kind of gone outside of your own comfort level and comfort zone and have tried to extend yourself and share and develop a network. I mean, I think those are all things that once we understand that, like you speak the language and understand what it means to be in this role, you know, inviting you for an interview is just, is easy at that point. But it's hard to tell from just a one page resume that lists your, you know, degrees that you've earned in your work experience. So what are some other ways that you might convey all of those awesome things you've been doing? I think that's also important to think about and give attention to for sure.

Katie: Yeah, that's a great point Tyler, and I know it would always catch my eye more to see an artifact, to see a portfolio, to see a super short . Screencast. So I can, because anyone can say anything in an interview, anyone can lie on a resume, especially now with ai. Mm-Hmm, , good grief like the, to like spruce it up.

But like, I need to actually see that you can do the work. So I think pairing some sort of artifact or portfolio that . Always put candidates, put, pushed them to the front of me, even wanting to bring them in for an interview and then being able to have like much better conversations in the interview when I could actually see some examples of work that they had done.

Matthaeus: How would you value something like a Google certified educator or even like a magic school training or an Adobe training How, where would you value that? Is that something to pursue?

Tyler Erwin: What, what I'm looking for, you know, in our role here as a tech coach, that shows me that you're coming in with a baseline of knowledge. So there's less for me to worry about. You know, I don't, there's never the perfect candidate. There's gonna be things that maybe you don't have experience in, or that's a blind spot for you, or is an area for growth. But because we are, in our case, like looking for coaches who are probably skilled in technology or have an interest in it, or savvy with it, having some of those certifications would give me like some peace of mind. And help me to appreciate that even if you had additional things to learn, like you'd be willing to put the work in because you've already done it with Google or Magic School or whatever these other, you know, ambassador programs are, or different certifications you can earn.

So I think that that would definitely be helpful and it would let me know that. You're coming in with a baseline of knowledge, which means there's less things to train you on and get you comfortable with, which means you would get to be involved in trainings and professional development and things like that so much sooner. You know, if you're coming with some of these things to the table because we're like, oh, they're level one and level two certified. Like they'll be able to handle a google Workspace Bootcamp or something like that. So that even kind of helps you give yourself as the interviewer a better picture of what this person might be capable of they were to join your team.

Katie: And I would build on that, Tyler, for our more of our content focused coaches, not our tech coach listeners. That I would still agree wholeheartedly with what your answer was. Tyler, just, I. I would encourage you, I, I don't necessarily have specific certifications or resources to direct anyone to just, 'cause that is not the, the work that we are doing on a daily basis, like specific content coaching.

But I would find the comparable. Certifications, comparable programs you know, even things like curriculum. Yeah. Yes. Curriculum certifications or, you know, really diving into some of these things if you're looking for a coaching role. I, I know there's some others out there. I can really only speak from experience and understanding to Google's certified coach curriculum.

That is really a curriculum that you can do regardless if you're Google, Microsoft, apple. Whatever else that, that curriculum focuses on coaching skills. So regardless of what you are, Coaching on it would benefit you to build up your coaching skills. So if you're someone looking to become a literacy coach, that might be a good certification for you to jump into to build up those like questioning skills, those having reflective and guided teacher conversation skills.

What are my observing in the classroom? All of those types of coaching skills that you're ultimately gonna want and need no matter what you're coaching on. 

Matthaeus: Yeah. All right. Sounds great. I think so far we've gotten a great high level overview over what it looks like to be applying and what the trends are and what is important to keep in mind.

We're gonna take a quick break for our sponsors and we're gonna be right back with some more discussions about what comes up as challenges for, coaches, and our top three tips from Tyler. 

Welcome back everyone. We are here with Tyler Irwin talking a little bit, giving a little bit of tips and tricks for those of you who are maybe considering to be a coach. I know a lot of our listeners are coaches, but maybe you have been stranded here with us on our island and considered, maybe that's a career choice for me.

So I think Tyler pointed out something really, really important in the first half of our discussion about leadership and I, I wholeheartedly resonated with that. Showing some leadership when you apply is really important because when you do get into that role, I learned you, you are in the leadership position.

You, you are working with teachers that are looking up to looking up to you to get help, to get advice and feedback. You, you come from, come into a position of . Respect and authority. And so looking at that, there are some challenges that come with that. So clearly you're looking for those things that will prepare them well.

 Can you tell us a little bit more about some other challenges that might come towards someone starting a career in this job?

Tyler Erwin: Yeah, I'll try and be, you know, as general as I can. But I am also gonna speak from like the knowledge that I have, you know, working for the company that we work for, the school districts that we work with with more of like an instructional technology focus. I would say the biggest one that's, especially if you come from the classroom is just adjusting to more of a behind the scenes support type role. It's gonna feel a little bit different. If there's gonna be certain things that are definitely more ambiguous you're not gonna have a roster of 130 students and have your bell schedule all laid out and, and kind of have this, this very structured schedule of what the day looks like. And you are gonna have to do a lot of relationship building to make your time really count. So there's gonna be kind of a lot of this like laying the groundwork. Building rapport before you can even start to maybe do some of the work you're there to do. And, and see the fulfillment of the job for what it really is. So I think adjusting to more of that, like behind the scenes kind of support type role is a huge one. With that I touched on a little bit, but just figuring out how to create a good cadence to your day. You know, filling out your schedule, what is the right balance? How many coaching cycles could I take on if, if I try and do them with teachers, how often should I push in if I've never really had a chance to meet with this teacher before?

Like, how many times do I keep pushing until maybe I need to give it a break? You know, just figuring out like that proper balance of how do I spend my time? Where is my time best spent? How can I add value? How can I reach out to all of the staff, not just the people who instantly take advantage and wanna champion my work and, and are really like great examples of, you know, following kind of the lead that, that I'm taking there. And so I think that that's a new challenge as well. . I would say with that, you know, I kind of mentioned even just like taking the lead with maybe some new learning programs or some initiatives from the district that you serve. In many cases, you're not only gonna be the messenger of some of those initiatives, but you might be the person really pushing it. You know, really helping teachers wade through that work together and getting them to the finish line. And so just figuring out how you get teachers to engage without it seeming Pushy or evaluative or like there's some sort of like threat behind it if they don't work with you or there's like this pressure to, you know, get everybody to do it. And so I do think it's kind of even figuring that out. You know, how do I actually get people to, in some cases willingly. Participate in the learning programs that I try and implement as a coach, or that I try to support as a coach. So I think that that's a big one. The last one, the last one I'll say, and I saw that there was an article about this online.

It was posted this morning, but it's just dealing with resistors, dealing with reluctant teachers. You know, every school has them to a degree. There's all sorts of reasons, maybe why they're like that way or why we might perceive them as reluctant or resistant to change. But if you wanna have the best, most impactful time in that role, you can't just ignore them. you can't just like, act like they don't exist on, on the teacher roster page and you know, just turn your head when you walk by their room. Right? So I think you also have to be really creative. And maybe liken it to some of your students that were resistors in your classroom and you might not use all the same tactics like that I would use with a seventh grader.

But in many cases, people are people and you have to get creative in the way in which you approach them the way in which you speak to them, the frequency of how you engage with them. So that once again, you're not only just like meeting with the people who are gonna champion your work anyways, but that you get to the people who maybe really need the support. Just don't know how to ask for it. Or might be resistant to it, but could also use your help as well. And so I think those are all new things that like a teacher maybe has to deal with a little bit, but when they get into a coaching role, will very much decide whether they're successful or not in the role. so those would be some big challenges that you'll have to navigate early on.

Katie: Tyler, I wanna build on just real quick, but you had kind of alluded to it earlier in the episode about how, you know, you're not, you're not looking for people who are just trying really hard to escape the classroom. , because we talk about all the time, I, I have really noticed over. The past decade from my own self year after year to working with, you know, seeing new coaches come into the role, is that they come in, myself included, like so bright-eyed and bushy tailed about all the things we're gonna do and how your energy is just gonna be so contagious.

And then how you can often, even, even with . The most gung-ho teachers. You can hit roadblocks sometimes because there's leadership changes or you know, there's covid or there's like the fire drill today, so it threw off the time you finally got for pd. Like whatever it is, things can happen. And so that's something that I've noticed that I would encourage people who are looking to move into this role for the first time.

To just kind of be real, be realistic, and, and honor and appreciate the small steps. Because you, you are not going to walk in and make like, sweeping transformational changes overnight or even in the course of a single school year. So I just, I think that's like a reality that I have noticed, like a little bit of the glimmer.

Seems like it DIMMs on people. They have like a kind of a dip, right? Like they start on this high and then they get started and they realize everyone . Oh my gosh, everyone isn't just on board with this like I am, and then they have a little dip in their glimmer. And then realize like, okay, I just have to re recalibrate. Like, what, what is considered success right now? And as long as we're all putting one foot in front of the other, we're continuing to move forward. Might not be quite as fast as we'd like to see it happen, but you know, change is, is still good as long as you're moving forward in the right direction.

Tyler Erwin: Yeah, yeah, no doubt about it. I think that that's just one of those realizations you'll have, and it might happen sooner than later with some, but you have to understand that, like you said, it's, it's hard work regardless. So trying to escape the classroom, like if that's your motivation, you know, you won't last long in this role either.

Katie: Mm-Hmm. 

Tyler Erwin: and so that's an important realization to have to.

Katie: Yeah. Cool. So we're gonna wrap it up. I feel like we need, maybe we need like some drum, maybe steal drums since we go with the whole like stranded, unknown island theme. Yeah, I'm writing it down. We could like steal drum. What are your top three tips that you would give folks interested in an instructional coach?

Tyler Erwin: So I'll do some general ones first. This has become a bit of a pet peeve of mine, so this is really just good, like application protocol I guess. But if you use a site like Indeed, for example, I. Please, please, please like upload your own draft of a resume. You know, don't have LinkedIn or indeed take all of your little entries and like make one for you because oftentimes it will do so in a way that has like gaps or formatting errors or weird capitalizations or all these other things and like I'm sorry, but if it's between one that's well done and nicely formatted and has all the capitalization, right, and, and one that's all over the place and not, it to me screams like a lack of effort and it maybe screams a bit of a lack of commitment. And I'm not saying that, you know, I've, of course, I've, I've interviewed people that have turned out to be great, who've had indeed make their resume for them. So it's not maybe a deal breaker, but it could be. It could be. So that would be one tip. I feel like, you know, with that, just tip one B, tailor your resume and your cover letter for the job you're applying for. You know, don't make it so general. And I understand that involves a little bit of extra work, but I think it's important you know, if you know you're applying for the role of an instructional coach, we just mentioned some of the things that are gonna make you stand apart wouldn't typically be added to your resume. So when you go to create it, you know, what things could you add? Maybe there are some like certifications you could list that would make you stand apart. Maybe there are some different things that you've done in leadership capacities within your school that aren't quote unquote jobs, but that would showcase that you've started to build up this record of leadership that would lend itself to the role. So it's a long tip, it's just make, make the most of your resume.

Katie: Can A1C based on your one A? 

Matthaeus: Oh my God. A three part number one tip?

Katie: Well, because I'm just thinking of a lot of our, you know, we're, we're collecting resumes, I think in a different location than maybe a lot of . Our leader or where our listeners would be applying, right? They're probably applying to like school consortium websites or you know, to the school directly. Maybe not on like an Indeed or a LinkedIn. Make sure your resume is a PDF. When you upload,

Tyler Erwin: Hmm. 

Katie: To Tyler's point, if it is a Word document, the formatting can get all sorts of goofy no matter what system it is that you are uploading. So my one C is make it a PDF regardless of the site.

Tyler Erwin: We, we wanted three parts to the three part Matthaeus. You knew this was coming. My sec, my, my second one is you've gotta let your personality shine through in the interview. We, we've danced around it, but truly one of the biggest things I know Katie looks for, I know I look for, is we wanna see your personality shine. We wanna be able to tell instantly is this person easy to talk to, approachable and outgoing. I. If that, if there's like a little bit of doubt or we have to really like push for it or really draw you out, you know, we're kind of thinking in the back of our head, how is this person going to do in certain situations where they're on the other side of the table and they're trying to draw out others, you know, they're trying to establish relationships and, and build rapport, so, You know, you don't have to make it a performance, but at the end of the day, I mean, you gotta let your personality shine through a little bit and try and be as relaxed and confident as you can be. And I think that's huge.

Katie: That and that is the number one thing that Tyler and I are asked by school administrators. Right. You know, in, in . In our role, we are hiring coaches and we are essentially placing them to, to serve a school district. The number one thing that those school administrators, I can't tell you how many district administrators I've worked with about this.

Their number one concern is . Is this person gonna be relatable? Are my teachers gonna be willing to open up and work with this coach? They care about that more than your instructional knowledge, more than your ability to use technology more than, you know, insert content. Understanding you have to be relatable and approachable as a coach to work with all types of adults. So that is a huge one. Tyler.

Tyler Erwin: Yeah, and I mean, I think lastly for me, The other thing that I would just be ready to share about is like, what is, what's motivating you? You know, why here, why now? You know, in our case, we have kind of a specific thing going at forward Edge, which is, which is awesome, but you know, I'm sure even like within your district, right?

If you were gonna try and transition from teacher to coach, whoever's interviewing you would wanna know like, so. Why, you know, why are you leaving the classroom? And I think that that's one of the things I'm always looking to maybe not ask sup, like directly, and sometimes I do, but if it's unclear, that's something that I want to hear. Because once again, we already recognized the importance of it not being like an escape from the classroom and if there's any intel of like, this is why they're leaving. I'm gonna press that a little bit and I wanna learn more because I think it's important to note that we, we are still, and I think any district would be looking for a person who's still passionate about the work, who still loves teaching and learning, who loves students, who sees the value in it, and maybe isn't just like looking to get out of the classroom and looking to not be, you know, have to grade anymore.

Do. Parent-teacher conferences anymore or some of the things that maybe you don't have to do as a coach. And so, yeah. Are there some things that can maybe annoy you and that you're like maybe happy to be done with out of the classroom? Sure. But what's the real driver behind the move? That's something I'm looking to uncover and kind of fish out of you, and I think that you need to be open with that and, and ready for some of those questions so that that can kind of be unearthed and, and talked about and addressed.

Katie: Yeah, great tips. 

Matthaeus: Those are indeed great tips. Now we are tempted to actually do another round of three. Not like we haven't had enough yet, 

Tyler Erwin: I am ready.

Matthaeus: kind of wanna do 

Katie: rapid fire.

Matthaeus: Three more. Three things not to do. Three to stay away from

Tyler Erwin: you know, rapid fire is not in my vocabulary, but I'll go quick. Don't, be slow to respond. Don't be slow to respond. It's like. It's very annoying. Don't lack an understanding of the role or don't you have to do your due diligence. You know, if you come to the table and like know nothing about the role or the place you're going to work or like what you're gonna do that screams. Red flags. And then lastly, be ready to ask some good questions. I've never been in an interview where the person hasn't been allowed to ask questions. And sometimes when I let folks ask questions, they're like, I don't have any And that to me is like, what? You have no questions? That would be another like big that I would recommend you come prepared with some questions.

Katie: And I think too, I've seen a lot of people, 'cause I know like when nerves get the best of you, it's like, oh my God, I had all of these questions and then I just totally blanked. You know? I was nervous in the interview. So I get that. I feel for people I. There's lots of nerves flying around interviews, but I can't tell you how many people I've had in an interview and they're taking notes while I'm talking to like, go back home and talk about this with their spouse, with their parents, with, you know, whoever.

They're gonna bounce this. Career move off of with, and the, the most insightful questions also often come from people who like, have to look at what they wrote down. Like they made questions beforehand and they, so, so don't be afraid to do that either. Like, as part of your interview prep is your understanding the role is you're understanding, you know, the district that you're applying for and, and some of the initiatives and things that they have going on.

. But write it down and bring it with you. Yeah. 

Matthaeus: And then one more little thing I will add right here. If you do find yourself with Tyler sitting on the other side of the interviewing table, , prepare yourself for the question that is still haunting me, for which I still haven't found an answer I got asked from you two.

What is one thing that we don't know about you, but we will learn once you join the team? And I still don't know how to answer that question. I think about it every day almost. I'm not gonna lie to you. It's true. I still don't know. 

Katie: Well, you might have given away my secret question. Matthaeus. 

Matthaeus: No. Well, I'm sorry. Maybe I have to cut that part. 

Katie: Oh, 

Tyler Erwin: Reel it back, edit it out.

Matthaeus: there's my blooper part that goes out. Oh, all right. Well, I thank you so much, Tyler. 

Tyler Erwin: this was a lot of fun, guys. Thanks for having me on. This was great.

Katie: Yeah, thanks Tyler. And anybody listening, if you you know, if you have your own tips to share or if you benefited from any of these tips, please reach out. Let us know. If you have more questions you know, we'd be happy to, to answer and, and kind of give you some, some quick tips and guidance if you're headed into interview season, coming up here over the next couple of months and looking to change roles or move into a coaching role or move schools.

Reach out. We're, we're here to help and, and help close that island and make your network feel a little bit bigger .

Matthaeus: Yeah. Whether it is a DM to our social media accounts on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, whatever you find us on, or whether it is a post or comment on anything that we've posted, we are always excited to hear from you.

So please reach out, let us know what's on your mind.