10 Differences Between Teaching and Coaching

I believe in the power of the coaching model. This afternoon, I will have an amazing grammar guru in my class modeling a lesson. I will engage in a dialogue with her. With her guidance, I will grow in one of my weakest areas of teaching. So, when I mention these differences, I want to be clear that I don't believe that coaching is better or worse than teaching. However, I do believe that they are very different from one another. Here are a few differences I've experienced:

  1. When I coached, I was thinking about teachers and instruction. When I'm teaching, my thoughts are all about students and learning. 
  2. When I coached, I was much more aware of motivation. I could see when students were bored. When I'm teaching, it's more inherently interesting to me. I have a harder time seeing the boredom. 
  3. When I coached, I was able to plan amazing lessons. I could do an hour of prep for every hour of teaching. Now I'm teaching six subjects with forty-five minutes of prep a day. It's much more challenging. My lessons feel less polished, because they are less polished. 
  4. When I coached, I saw classes. When I teach, I see students. I know their names. I know their stories. 
  5. When I was coaching, I had the picture in mind. I saw entire schools and experienced the school culture as an outsider. As a teacher, I see the world through my myopic, albeit accurate, lens of my classroom. 
  6. When I coached, I could refine lessons by teaching them in different classrooms with different variables. When I'm teaching, I don't have that chance at refining what I'm doing.
  7. When I coached, I was a visitor in someone else's space. I had little control over classroom culture and climate. If a kid misbehaved, it didn't feel personal. When I'm teaching, I'm part of a community. 
  8. When I was a coach, I couldn't see the difference I was making. I knew that coaches mattered, but any influence I had was twice removed from the actual students. As a teacher, I am reminded of the power of education and my role within it.
  9. When I was coaching, I was well aware of my strengths. I put on a robe of false humility and self-deprecation, but I didn't see my faults as easily. As a teacher, I am much more aware of my limitations and mistakes. 
  10. When I was coaching, I thought about the teacher in terms of planning, instructing and assessing. When I am teaching, I'm reminded of all the other things we are asked to do, from picture day to the stack of forms to the bullying we report to the meetings we attend.