“Every Great Teacher Needs a Coach as Well”

by | November 14, 2015

Multi-Classroom Leader Bobby Miles, center, spoke on the Teach Strong panel with Mary Cathryn Ricker of the American Federation of Teachers and former Rep. George Miller of California.

Multi-Classroom Leader Bobby Miles, center, spoke on the Teach Strong panel with Mary Cathryn Ricker of the American Federation of Teachers and former Rep. George Miller of California. (Photo by Lisette Partelow)

Last week, Multi-Classroom Leader Bobby Miles spoke at the Teach Strong launch, part of a panel moderated by Amanda Ripley, author of the New York Times bestseller The Smartest Kids in the World, and including former Rep. George Miller of California, senior education advisor at Cengage Learning; Mary Cathryn Ricker, executive vice president of the American Federation of Teachers; and Peggy Brookins, president and CEO of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Miles talked about how he got into teaching–and almost didn’t, because it didn’t carry the prestige of the careers his friends were considering; his lack of training and support in his first year as a lateral-entry teacher; and the joys of his job now, giving that training and support to his teaching team while continuing to teach. (Read his column on these issues first published on RealClearEducation.com.)

Named Teacher of the Year in 2013 for his zone within Charlotte-Mecklenburg (making him a finalist for district Teacher of the Year), Miles is an eighth-grade science multi-classroom leader at Ranson IB Middle School in Charlotte. Ranson is a school with an 84 percent economically disadvantaged population that is part of the Project L.I.F.T. zone of very high-need, historically low-performing schools. In 2014-15, Ranson, using roles like Mr Miles’s throughout the school, achieved a student growth score in the top 1 percent of schools in North Carolina, and Miles’s science team posted extremely high growth. As a multi-classroom leader, he continues to teach while leading a team of three other teachers and two paraprofessionals–co-teaching, coaching, planning, and collaborating with them, for higher pay–and he is personally accountable for the results of the entire team’s 421 students. In Project L.I.F.T., multi-classroom leaders, or MCLs, earn a supplement of $13,000 to $23,000—50 percent of the average teacher salary in North Carolina—and that supplement comes from reallocating school budgets, not temporary grants.

On choosing to become a teacher:

On how his job works:

On teacher preparation:

On the biggest needs to make his role successful:

On providing meaningful career paths for all teachers:

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