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Providing Different Levels of Support to Create Access Points for All Teachers, Ep. 68 Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast

Teachers can feel pressured if instructional coaches only provide high-level supports. Offering different choices allows educators to find something they feel comfortable using and best fits their style. On this episode of Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast, you’ll learn instructional coaching strategies for tiering support. Listen now for ideas on how to create an instructional coaching menu that caters to the needs of each teacher in your school.

It can be stressful for teachers if instructional coaches only have high-level supports. 

Offering different options means that every educator can find something they feel comfortable using and best suits their style.

When coaches provide some supports that are a little bit less intimidating and give teachers small wins, they are more likely to come back for the big ones. 

On this episode of the Coaching Podcast, we look at three levels of support that coaches can provide and how to use them to build a coaching menu.

These are three different tiers of supports I offer my teachers. 

Level One Support

Level one is your entry-level support. These options let teachers know that they can ask for help without it being big and scary.

They help build relationships with teachers who don’t trust you yet. These supports allow teachers to see the value of working with you. 

It’s not just about helping out but about providing them support that will impact their instruction. Some things you can offer teachers at this level are serving as a sounding board, a check-in, and offering resource recommendations. 

Level Two Support

The second level of support is more complex than we see in level one.

At this level, things take place outside of the teacher’s classroom. It could be in a PLC room or somewhere similar. 

Planning support is a level two option. It’s often built into the schedule and will look different depending on the teacher’s needs. If you want to learn more about planning collaboratively, tune in to Episode 7 of The Coaching Podcast.  

Data review involves looking at data and creating the next steps that help the teacher apply something in their classroom. This level two choice can lead to planning support as well.

To learn more about using data to create an instructional support plan, you can listen to Episode 8 of The Coaching Podcast. It includes a free tool you can download. 

Additional level two supports include visiting a colleague, reviewing student work, and professional development.

Level Three Support

Level three is focused on the coaching cycle. It’s the main support you want to provide to teachers because it has the most impact. 

You have a pre-conference, some form of classroom work, and a post-conference. Episode 3 of Buzzing with Ms. B: The Coaching Podcast explains the entire coaching cycle in six easy steps. 

Here’s how you can provide level three support.

Model a Lesson

Modeling is when an instructional coach goes into the classroom and shows a teacher what a specific lesson could look like. Ideally, you want to plan that together to make sure everybody knows the goal and how it will go. 


With this support, you are watching the teacher conduct a lesson in their classroom and giving them feedback after it. This support is good to offer when a teacher tells you they have not gotten the desired response from their students and want help.


This type of support is valuable but requires careful planning to be successful. Since you’re teaching together, you have to be specific about who does what during the lesson.

Episode 6 of The Coaching Podcast is all about teaching with a partner and can help you plan a co-teaching experience. 

Instructional Coaching Menu

Instructional coaches organize their coaching menu in different ways, including listing the levels of support. I prefer putting a bunch of options and letting teachers choose without a visible hierarchy. 

It’s helpful to introduce teachers to your menu of support during a presentation when school starts and several times throughout the year. You want educators to know what you offer and how they can benefit from your coaching support.

When you sign up below, you’ll get a FREE copy of the coaching menu I use with my teachers. It can be used as-is or you can use it as a starting point to design your own.

My Instructional Coaching Forms and Slide Show for the Coaching-Cycle has an editable version of the coaching menu, plus a presentation to introduce your different supports. It includes all the tools you need for coaching cycles, whether you’re co-teaching, modeling, or observing. 

To learn more about providing each level of supports and how you can introduce them listen to the entire episode. 

Ready to listen? You can listen below with the media player, or search for Buzzing with MS. B: The Coaching Podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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Thank you for listening to Buzzing with Ms. B: the Coaching Podcast. Want more coaching ideas?

Check me out at buzzingwithmsb.com and on Instagram @buzzingwithmsb.

If you love the show, share it with a coach who would love it too, or leave me a review on iTunes! It’s free and it helps others find this show, too. Happy coaching!

Podcast produced by Fernie Ceniceros

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