After a recent Twitter conversation with some of my #educoach colleagues, I was asked to share my thoughts about the etiquette of blogging as an instructional coach. As a coach, sometimes your work is shared with classroom teachers. The students you work with aren’t your “own.” You may have a wide lens of your school or district. People place their confidence in you to maintain confidentiality. It can be sticky.
I reflected and shared some of my unofficial “rules” for blogging as an instructional coach. Whether you are a content coach, literacy coach, digital learning coach, teacher leader, or administrator, I hope these guidelines can help you in your blogging.
1. Write mainly about lessons you teach, resources you made, and strategies you use.
There is never a problem with claiming your own work. Educators are often modest, but please share the things you have done that have helped students be successful. It’s how we all grow.
2. When you write about collaborations with teachers, clearly give credit to what the teacher contributed.
There are many reasons. Intellectual property. Common courtesy. Showing yourself as a learner from your colleagues. Give credit to those who did the work.
3. Never use the teacher’s name or photos of his or her work without asking for permission.
Brag about the awesome lessons your colleagues are teaching, but please ask for permission from them before you use their names. As seen in#1, many teachers are modest. Please ask them, and allow them to make a decision about whether they want their work to be widely distributed in the blogosphere.
4. Write about situations in generalities. Readers paint their own characters.
Talk about situations without naming names. Oftentimes, we see others’ struggles in the context of our own. Not only does this strategy protect colleagues and students, it can actually encourage more reflection from blog readers as they personalize the situations you present.
5. Never write about teachers or other school staff in a negative light.
Never. It WILL come back to haunt you. It could be an administrative discussion, a miffed teacher, or, worst of all, a call from the media. If you need to vent, your blog is not the place…unless you are observing Rule #4.
6. Focus on your own experiences, reflections, and advice about coaching and teaching without critiquing others.
Your own experience is valuable. Many people can learn from what you have learned. Writing about what you have learned as a coach is a very personal part of the work. However, always emphasize that your views are your opinion. Just like teaching, in coaching, there are many ways to “skin a cat.”
I hope theses suggestions might help you in your blogging. please contribute more ideas by leaving a comment.