Instructional Coach – Apply by Jan. 2

Instructional Coaches manage and develop our corps members to fundamentally transform the lives of students and inspire corps members to become lifelong advocates for educational equity.


The role

Our 2018 Memphis Regional Institute is determined to achieve three overarching outcomes: 1) Foster a 21st century global learning experience for students, 2)Build a community that sustains, celebrates, and challenges, and 3)Catalyze our corps members’ learning and leadership to be Day One Ready.  Instructional Coaches (IC) play a critical role at the heart of Teach For America’s work not only at Institute, but also throughout the entire school year.  Instructional Coaches manage and develop our corps members to fundamentally transform the lives of students and inspire corps members to become lifelong advocates for educational equity.  At the end of a successful year of work, ICs will have built a strong foundation of instructional excellence and fostered mindsets of a culturally responsive orientation and reflection in their cohort of first-year corps members.  As a result of maximizing the instructional development of their cohort of first-year corps members, ICs will be able to see students on a new path of expanded life opportunities, due to major academic growth.

To reach this vision, ICs will work at our Memphis Regional Institute directly supporting a cohort of approximately 20-25 corps members that they will continue to support throughout the first year. They will regularly collaborate and problem solve with other team members to ensure the success of the region, particularly across teams that provide direct support to corps members.  They play important roles in achieving critical organizational goals in multiple functional areas (for instance, recruiting alumni to join staff, or helping out at regional events). ICs also play an important role in onboarding incoming corps members to the region over the spring. ICs report directly to the Managing Director, Instructional Coaching.

The Team

Just six percent of Memphis students graduate high school college-ready — a reality threatening Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of equality. Communities across Memphis are working urgently to change this and ensure all kids have choices after high school. We know that this work will require a reimagining of schooling in our community and will require diverse leadership at all levels. Our mission is to find, develop, and support a diverse network of leaders who expand opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate. To foster this force of leadership, we focus on creating an environment where learners are deeply known, in a program that is intentional, supportive, and rigorous, so that they perform better, sustain themselves for longer, are more likely to persevere in the face of challenges (and even rise up to meet them at increasing rates), and lead more effectively.

To realize our mission and act from our learning theory, our staff MUST take radical responsibility for leading at every level and be obsessed with fostering community and empowering leadership in every interaction. To that end, every team member should embody the following:

Open Hearted Leadership:

  • Consistently lean in during moments where there is a lack of clarity
  • Build relationships where people feel deeply known and open yourself to be deeply known by others
  • Understand identity and privilege in a work setting
  • Shift into a solutions-orientation when breakdowns occur
  • Operate with authenticity by being true to your word, speaking from your perspective, and demonstrating openness

Radical Responsibility:

  • Track record of being committed to people’s development and success
  • Understand and co-own the creation of the corps member experience
  • Deeply invested in executing our institute design with precision and intention
  • Take full responsibility for your outcomes and impact and support others to take full responsibility for theirs

Continuous Learning:

  • Can autonomously direct your learning
  • Humble, flexible, problem solver
  • Understand that coaching comes from everywhere (peers, corps members, your manager)
  • Continuously reflect on your outcomes, the impact you are having on others, and the relationships you are buildingZ

How will you spend your time?

In this role, you will:

Coach and Empower Corps Members (80%)

  • Support corps members in internalizing ambitious academic goals for students
  • Facilitate one-on-one and group learning experiences aligned to our unique Memphis Learning Theory
  • Ensure corps members know what students need to learn in order to reach their goals, and have the appropriate resources and support to realize those goals
  • Help corps members diagnose top needs based on student progress and gaps in their learning, and ensure corps members pursue the best solutions and follow through with them
  • Gather, reflect, and analyze data to form an opinion and make the best decisions for corps members and students
  • Build relationships with school-based staff and stakeholders to best support corps members and students in achieving dramatic academic growth
  • Ensure corps members meet or exceed the first-year teacher outcomes
  • Build authentic relationships across lines of difference to connect with corps members’ diverse styles, strengths and needs
  • Ensure corps members build perspective and situate their daily work in the broader context of our work in Memphis, culturally responsive pedagogy, and the movement to attain educational equity
  • Help corps members understand the community in which they teach and provide strategies for corps members to build meaningful relationships with multiple stakeholders within the community
  • Develop and maintain a culture in your cohort where all corps members feel deeply known and part of a supportive, intentional and rigorous program, so that they fulfill their commitment and lead as alumni

Engage in Regional Priorities and Activities (20%)

  • You will participate in the onboarding of new corps members, as needed by the region.
  • You will feel on the hook for and support our broader regional efforts towards our 2020 Plan.
  • You will engage in and lead ongoing professional development with our team.

What are the work demands and ideal candidate profile?

To be the most successful candidate, you must be passionate about coaching others to achieve the outcomes they most desire for themselves, their students, and our community.  You must lead from a place of constant positive regard for your corps members, peers, and colleagues. You will come to the role with experience in the fight for educational equity.  You must believe in our strategic bets while also helping improve them as we learn.

Specifically, to be successful, you must be:

  • Passionate about coaching.  You love your corps members, see their full potential (even when they themselves doubt it) and see your job as doing whatever it takes to help them achieve their visions.  You are able to have high-stakes feedback conversations that drive towards outcomes, strengthen relationships and broaden perspectives.  You define your success by how successful your corps members feel they are and actually are.
  • A strong culture builder.  You have experience creating a thriving, inclusive, connected culture amongst a group and believe it is mission critical to achieving short- and long-term success.  You are passionate about creating a culture among adult learners where they are mutually accountable to one another and lead their learning amongst peers.  You model our core values and regional values in all your interactions.
  • A conscious leader. You are always oriented towards social justice and equity. You have a pattern of modeling a set of values for others through self-reflection, curiosity and exploration, and an ability to connect and empathize with people.  You have a history of operating in the spirit of our commitment to diversity and a strong understanding of the dynamics of race and class in America.  You lead, and believe others must lead, through a culturally responsive lens and in a way that empowers staff, corps members,

You will also:

  • Hold, at minimum, a bachelor’s degree
  • Have 2+ years of teaching experience leading students from low-income communities and children of color to ambitious outcomes
  • Have deep knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and effective teaching practices
  • Be able to work some weekends and evenings throughout the school year, as well as travel up to three times across the year
  • Commit to working at our 2018 Institute, including spring onboarding of incoming corps members

What are the benefits and salary?

Salary for this position is competitive and depends on prior experience.  In addition, a comprehensive benefits package is included.

What is our anti-discrimination policy and commitment to diversity?

Teach For America seeks individuals of all ethnic and racial backgrounds to apply for this position. We are committed to maximizing the diversity of our organization, as we want to engage all those who can contribute to this effort.

Can anything change in your duties and responsibilities?

This job description reflects Teach For America’s assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role.  Nothing in this herein restricts management’s right to assign reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time.

Apply Now

To be considered for this role, you must submit an online application. Please scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the link to the online application. For more information, please contact memphisstaff@teachforamerica.org or visit

In order to be considered for this position, you must submit an online application and complete the following steps by Tuesday, January, 2, 2018.

1) Submit your initial application that includes uploading your resume.

2) Upload your cover letter (maximum length one page) answers at least two of the following questions:

  • Why are you applying to the Instructional Coach position?
  • In what ways have you been most successful, and in what ways have you been least successful, in your classroom?
  • Describe a time when you have led, managed, or taught a group of adults. How has this affected your leadership style? How would the adults in that group describe your leadership style? Include an example of when your style was effective or ineffective. (If you do not have experience leading adults, please reflect on the leadership style of someone with whom you have worked.)
  • Mandatory for returning institute staff: What did you learn in your role last year, and what would you change about your approach this year to make yourself more effective?

3) Create two videos, 5 minutes maximum each, responding to the following prompts:

  • Pretend you are talking to a corps member on the first day of institute that is nervous about their decision to join Teach for America, and they ask you the question, “What does Teach for America do and what does that mean for my impact?”
    • A few notes- this corps member is generally happy and just needs to be reminded of why TFA to feel solid going into the first day
    • Feel free to respond directly to the question or engage in a role play with someone willing to play the role of a corps member.

Recall a time where there was a major breakdown between a group of people with whom you worked. Describe the team; describe the breakdown.  How did you approach the situation and what steps did you take to help resolve the breakdown? What ultimately happened? What did you learn about yourself and working with teams?

Uploading Instructions:

Upload your videos to Youtube or Google Drive. Ensure that they are sharable, and clearly include the link to each video in your cover letter. Tips to upload to Youtube can be found here. Tips to upload to Google Drive can be found here.

Do not be concerned if it is not a professional quality video. A clip from a cell phone or digital camera will suffice.

Because technology can sometimes be fickle, we strongly suggest giving yourself plenty of time before the deadline to upload your video.

4) In the “Institute Application Started” email, you’ll see a “Reference Request Form” link. Follow that link to request up to three professional contacts to complete a reference survey on your behalf.  The survey is intended to give hiring managers an understanding of your full trajectory as a teacher and leader.  Therefore, we ideally want to see feedback from professional, managerial contacts who can speak to your experience in the classroom and school/corps community over time.

In this survey we want to hear from the people who know you best (with a particular eye towards those most familiar with your classroom). If that’s ultimately one person – for example, your current coach – that’s fine.  And if you’re not ready to tell your manager yet that you’re applying for another job, that’s fine. This is not about the number of references (although hearing from several people can sometimes help understand your full trajectory); this is about getting a full picture. Often, Teach For America staff have great perspective on both the role to which you’re applying and your own strengths. To that end, some suggestions:

  • Current Corps Members: At a minimum, please ask your current and former coaches to serve as your reference(s).
  • Other references should be professional contacts who know you well and can speak to your qualifications for the position to which you are applying.  This can include a current or recent manager, principal, or professional mentor.  If you’ve worked at Teach For America’s summer institute, your manager there could be a helpful reference as well.  You should not ask friends or family members to serve as a reference.

Upon submitting their contact information to us, we will send your references the reference survey to complete. We encourage you to leave adequate time for your references to complete this step.  The survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes for them to complete.

Please note that if references are unable to complete the survey by the application deadline, this should not hold you back from applying.

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