RTC Booth @ the TLD Summit 1

11 RTC Myths…and the Truth about each of them
There is a lot of excitement about the incredible power and success we have seen with our Real-Time
Teacher Coaching (RTC) work, but there are also a lot of misconceptions out there about it as well. We
hope this Myths & Truths document begins to help set the record straight.
1. MYTH: RTC is only focused on building technical skills.
TRUTH: Yes, Real-Time Teacher Coaching is highly effective in rapidly building teachers’ skills, particularly
those around enacting high expectations for all students. However, RTC is equally – if not more – focused on
unpacking the disempowering mindsets and building the empowering mindsets CMs need to build genuine
relationships with students, to embrace being the leader responsible for students’ success, to hold all
students to high expectations, and to ensure all students are on-task and engaged in meaningful work. The
in-class coaching sessions and skill-building work are important for quickly realizing a better environment for
students, but are also part of engineering experiences that challenge disempowering mindsets and allow for
reflection on these mindsets in strategically-designed debrief conversations.
2. MYTH: RTC is exclusively focused on classroom management.
TRUTH: What RTC is really all about is helping CMs develop into true No-Nonsense Nurturers (NNN). A
big part of being a NNN is being an effective classroom manager: leading a classroom in which disruptions
do not get in the way of learning time and students are safe to take risks. Being a true NNN also means
holding very high expectations – academic and behavioral – and building caring relationships with all
students. A teacher who operates as a No-Nonsense Nurturer is positioned to lead her students further down
the Culture of Achievement pathway toward a classroom that is passionate, urgent, joyful, and caring. Many
people also do not know that trained Real-Time Coaches also use RTC for good-to-great coaching focused
on rigor, deeper relationships, urgency, etc. See Myth # 7 for more.
3. MYTH: Starting with classroom management when helping a struggling CM results, at best, in classrooms that
plateau at ‘compliant and on-task’.
TRUTH: If a Real-Time Coach were to focus exclusively on a narrow definition of classroom management
with a struggling CM, yes, there would be a risk of this myth being true. But RTC protocols, and Coaches
themselves, do not operate with a narrow definition of classroom management or focus exclusively on a
teacher’s management skills. As noted in #1, Real-Time Coaches have their eyes on ‘transformational’ and
help CMs keep this in mind, too. And as noted in #3 RTC is about embracing being a No-Nonsense Nurturer
with students, and building the mindsets and skills to continually push students – and oneself – further. A
growing set of data confirm the truth that RTC leads to impact beyond “Compliant & On-Task”, including the
fact that it stokes Teacher Leadership. This increases the likelihood that after coaching CMs are able to
identify areas of growth which, even after exited from RTC, puts them on a faster track toward
transformational. Please see Strategy Team evaluations for more info.
4. MYTH: RTC alone can turn-around a classroom and keep a CM moving along the Culture of Achievement
TRUTH: RTC can be an incredibly powerful change-agent –building skills and mindsets that bring renewed
hope, energy, and commitment to a CM– but a lasting turn-around and continued progress toward a TAL
classroom requires cultivating genuine student investment, ongoing work on building ever-stronger
relationships with students, and ensuring meaningful engagement with rigorous content. The mostsuccessful coaching is a coordinated joint effort between a RTC and a MTLD: intense RTC intervention
followed by informed, aligned MTLD support that builds on progress and pushes a CM further along the
Culture of Achievement pathway.
5. MYTH: RTC is a one-shot deal. If a classroom isn’t back on track after one session, then either RTC doesn’t
work or it’s not right for this CM.
TRUTH: One cycle of RTC (which involves a 20-minunte pre-conference, a 20-minute in-class coaching
session, and a 20-minute debrief conversation) is almost never all it takes to build foundational skills, unpack
disempowering mindsets, and get a CM and a classroom on a new path. It’s not uncommon for real breakthroughs to take until the third RTC cycle, and typically CMs require between 3 and 7 cycles of RTC to realize
significant and lasting results. Coaches are working with CMs to build new habits and ways of thinking, which
takes time and continued work. During the debrief conversation the Coach assigns no more than 2
strategically prioritized deliverables for the CM to complete, and there’s always at least a day of teaching for
the CM between RTC cycles so there’s a chance to implement deliverables and practice next steps. This
means a “RTC relationship” between Coach and CM can last anywhere from two to six weeks.
6. MYTH: RTC is only effective in moving classrooms from ‘destructive’ or ‘apathetic or unruly’ to a status of
‘compliant and on-task’; it has nothing to offer CMs whose classrooms are already ‘compliant and on-task’.
TRUTH: In-the-moment coaching, coupled with debrief conversations in which the coach and CM examine
evidence and work on both mindsets and skills, can be a powerful development tool for almost anyone. Most
RTCs currently spend the bulk of their capacity on moving classrooms from ‘destructive’ or ‘apathetic or
unruly’, as that is where the greatest need is. However, most Coaches are also engaged in ‘good-to-great’
coaching with modified RTC protocols. Good-to-Great coaching is particularly focused on leadership
development for our more successful CMs. Through “G2G” coaching CMs are pushed to articulate what they
need/want to work on and how to plan for that and notice changes in the moment, and are building skills to
diagnose their classrooms without additional observers. Our external partner, CT3, is also researching and
developing new protocols for instructional coaching using the RTC model, and we’ll continue to work with
them to expand on the success achieved in the RTC Initiative.
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