A new coaching and mentoring programme has been developed at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, designed to maximise the experience of our new teaching staff. The flexible program acknowledges and celebrates that regardless of experience, all our teachers possess teaching expertise and creativity, and that with the right support and empowerment, they can achieve extraordinary outcomes.
The programme encourages teachers to reflect on their current teaching practice, alongside our unique way of teaching here at St Andrew’s. For early career teachers, support is provided within their first year of employment, working with a mentor who is highly skilled in coaching and teacher pedagogy. Using a growth coaching approach, reflective conversations ensure that these teachers are supported and empowered to take risks in their teaching to enhance student outcomes.
The combination of coaching, mentoring and observing other teachers provides many opportunities for our early career teachers. Motivated to hone their teaching craft and to reflect on the impact of their teaching, we are already seeing remarkable results and insights from the programme.
The brains behind the programme, Senior Learning Coach and PDHPE Teacher, Ms Elle Smith said, “This experience has provided such valuable insight for our early career teachers to truly understand our Teaching and Learning Model here at St Andrew’s, while learning valuable lessons about collaboration with other teachers across the school.”
“This experience has provided such valuable insight for our early career teachers to truly understand our Teaching and Learning Model here at St Andrew’s, while early learning valuable lessons about collaboration with other teachers across the school.”Ms Elle Smith
Senior Learning Coach and PDHPE Teacher
Mr Anthony Sharman, HSIE Teacher and Learning Coach, has been critical in the delivery of this programme, and has some fascinating insights into its many benefits.
“Coaching early career teachers gives them the time to deeply reflect on their teaching and make practical adjustments to suit the needs of their students. Coaching early career teachers is somewhat similar to experienced teachers, however I have found it essential to actively listen to the teacher and the challenges they are facing and then carefully use questioning to determine the changes they would like to see.
Sometimes, teachers newer to the profession don’t always have strategies on hand, so as the coach I have to probe the teacher to reflect not only on strategies they have used, but also on ones they have observed other teachers using. Our conversations always end with a focus back on the students – what will they notice is different if you implement these strategies well? – it’s a good reminder of our core business – our students.”
“Our conversations always end with a focus back on the students – what will they notice is different if you implement these strategies well? – it’s a good reminder of our core business – our students.”Mr Anthony Sharman
HSIE Teacher and Learning Coach
We had the pleasure of hearing from two teachers who have embarked on the programme, Mr Ben Moore and Mr Robert Pierotti.
Mr Ben Moore – Teaching Schools Alliance – Graduate HSIE teacher
“The coaching program at SACS has provided me with an opportunity to pause and reflect on my teaching practice, with the guidance of an experienced colleague. As an early career teacher who has just begun teaching full-time, it is easy and perhaps natural to enter survival mode, always thinking about the next thing without stopping to reflect. The coaching programme has helped me to look back, reflect on my practice, and identify areas of teaching that I want to improve for the benefit of my students.
During my first term in the programme, my coach and I brainstormed ways to use student feedback and formative assessment to effectively differentiate future lessons, so all students are appropriately challenged. Of course, this is still very much a work in progress. Overall, I have found that the coaching programme has given me the confidence to try new teaching techniques in the classroom and to continually reflect on my practice.”
Mr Robert Pierotti – TAS Teacher
“As a first-year teacher, I was thrilled to learn about the coaching programme offered by St Andrew’s. I knew that I would need guidance and support to traverse the challenges of the classroom, and Anthony has not disappointed. He is an incredible source of both knowledge and experience, assisting me in focusing on my practice to improve student outcomes. Working with Anthony feels like having a personal co-pilot who helps navigate through any challenges in my classroom with ease!
Not only has this programme provided practical solutions to classroom challenges, but it has boosted my confidence as a teacher. I feel more prepared and capable knowing that I have a trusted and dedicated advisor to turn to for guidance. These coaching sessions allow me to fly higher and reach new altitudes in my teaching practice, and I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.”