Page 68 - Volume 6 - Issue 1 - DBU Journal for K-12 Educational Leadership

66 Sarah Thornton Balarin, EdD manage, and use emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, build relationships, resolve conflict, and empathize with others (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). This was the area where instructional coaches provided the most feedback for what they would change or alter from the leadership development group. Their general feelings around this change are summed up by another participant who stated, I learned a great deal about myself when I determined where I was lacking in emotional intelligence. We needed this to go a step further and have some follow up on what we could work on and a chance to practice and gain more feedback. This was a missed opportunity. Emotional intelligence is something our entire staff needs to be aware of and assessed on. So many issues could have been prevented among teachers if they had more awareness of their emotional intelligence. The document analysis showed 76 mentions of emotional intelligence. There was a great deal of time spent in this area, but participant perceptions show they wanted to spend even more time going more in depth on what to do about inadequacies in their emotional intelligence. Research Question 2 (RQ2) What are teacher perceptions of how instructional coaches have impacted campus culture and climate? For RQ2 related to the impact of instructional coaches on campus culture and climate, six themes were identified from the group documents and interview transcripts: strengths-based leadership, reinforcement of the campus vision, saving time for teachers, communication, strong PLC culture, and relationship building. Strengths-Based Leadership Strengths Based Leadership was a fundamental pillar that had a great deal of influence in the leadership development group. Rath and Conchie (2008) argue in Strengths Based Leadership that trying to be good at everything means never being great at anything. Many of the teachers talked about feeling as though their instructional coaches were focusing on what they did well rather than where they struggled. One example is from a teacher participant who said, “When instructional coaches work with me, I feel like they work on where I am already passionate and building my strengths. They let me decide how I want to grow.” Another teacher said, “I have weaknesses, but when leaders come into my room, we talk about what went well and how I can make that stronger instead of just talking about what I need to do better.” While the teachers served had not been part of the leadership development group, it was clear they could feel a focus on their strengths rather than a focus on their deficit areas. The same was also true in the interviews with the instructional coaches. One participant said “I like that we chose to praise people for what they were doing well. It helped us to build them up and create trusting relationships. We started where they had a strength and worked our way forward.” Reinforcement of the Campus Vision Many of the participants referenced instructional coaches being a beacon for reinforcement of the campus vision. One teacher referred to their instructional coach as “a lighthouse to what administrators are looking for.” An instructional coach said, “teachers knew where we were headed as a campus and looked to me to help guide them.” Much of the professional development done in the leadership development group was based on the New Vision for Public Education in Texas (Texas Association of School Administrators, 2008). This document is used to “furnish the foundation for developing an understanding and commitment to a shared set of values and a common vision for public education in Texas,” (p. 1) so it stands to reason that with the District’s vision grounded in this work, the campus and this leadership development group also focused on the vision guiding the work being done. The document analysis showed a dozen occurrences where campus vision was mentioned. Saving Time for Teachers and Communication Nearly every participant said that teachers “need more time.” This statement came up in nearly every interview with a correlation to communication with instructional coaches and how that has the potential to save time for