Effective instructional coaching is teacher-centered and responsive, aimed at supporting K-12 teachers’ and their students’ learning and development. Using Briceño’s (2016) challenge to shift humans from “performance zones” to “learning zones”, this article showcases the adjustments two instructional coaches made as they worked throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to support teachers’ learning zones. Their work included facilitating meaningful peer observations, creating space for purposeful dialogues centered on relevant research and practice, and intentionally meeting teachers where they were at. Based on their experiences and feedback, attending to teachers’ learning zones holds positive and long-term implications for instructional coaches seeking to find and nurture hope and possibility with the teachers and students they serve.

Author Bio

Dana VanderLugt works as an instructional coach in Hudsonville Public Schools. A former middle school English Language Arts teacher and college writing instructor, Dana also gives back to the K-12 profession through field supervision of Hope College student teachers. She can be found at www.danavanderlugt.com and reached by email at .

Kathy Levandoski is a Professional Development and Instructional Coach in the Hudsonville Public Schools. In addition, she has had the honor to work with graduate candidates as an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family, reading on the beach, and continuing her learning journey. She can be reached at .

Erica R. Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Education at Grand Valley State University, where she works with preservice and inservice teachers. Her research interests focus on teacher learning and professional development, place-based education, literacy, and educational technology. She can be reached at .



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