Instructional coordinators play a pivotal role in education. They help classroom teachers develop engaging lesson plans that stimulate learning. They also provide critical feedback to teachers regarding the implementation of lesson plans in the classroom.
In many cases, instructional coordinators are former classroom teachers. The wealth of experience they have in the classroom can be a valuable asset for less-experienced teachers. With expert help provided by instructional coordinators, classroom teachers have even more resources for helping their students learn and grow.
If you’re a classroom teacher and you’re considering shifting to an instructional coordinator position, it’s necessary to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of doing so. Below is a list of some of the most common pros and cons of becoming an instructional coordinator.
Pro No. 1 - It’s Still a Certified, Benefitted Position
Instructional coordinators must be certified teachers. As a result, it’s a position that retains your status as a certified, benefitted employee.
For example, if, as a classroom teacher, you enjoyed full health insurance as part of your benefits package, there’s a good chance that your position as an instructional coordinator would offer the same benefits.
Now, this isn’t always the case. Some school districts have better benefits packages than others. Before you decide to switch careers, be sure you check on the status of benefits for instructional coordinators in the school districts in which you’re applying.
Pro No. 2 - There Might Be a Pay Increase
As a certified position, the chances are good that you will make at least as much money as an instructional coordinator as you did while working in the classroom.
In some cases, you might even get a pay bump. For example, most instructional coordinator positions require a master’s degree. This means that you can teach with a bachelor’s degree, work on your master’s, and then transition into an instructional coordinator role once your master’s is complete. School districts pay higher salaries to educators with higher degrees.
Pro No. 3 - No More Grading Papers
One of the most time-intensive tasks teachers have is grading papers. While it can be fulfilling to evaluate how much your students have learned and offer feedback on what they’ve done well and need to improve upon, it can also be an overwhelming and laborious task.
As an instructional coordinator, you won’t have to grade papers. You might offer pointers to classroom teachers on things like rubric development or provide actionable feedback to students. However, your days of spending hours and hours each weekend grading papers will be over!
Pro No. 4 - You Still Get to Work With Students
For many teachers, the best part of their job is actually being in the classroom. While instructional coordinators aren’t in the classroom nearly as much, there are still opportunities for you to interact with students.
For example, let’s say you’ve worked with a social studies teacher to develop a curriculum on World War II that involves a lot of small-group learning exercises for students. You might join the teacher and their students in the classroom to help the teacher monitor the groups, offer feedback to students, and help direct students in their studies.
Pro No. 5 - You Aren’t Tied to the Normal School Schedule
Unlike classroom teachers, instructional coordinators don’t always live by the school bell.
If, for example, you’re working on curriculum development for the English department, you might spend all morning in your office doing your work while teachers shuffle students in and out of their classroom. Without being responsible for a class full of kids, you’re free to focus on the task at hand.
Pro No. 6 - You Will Probably Have Your Own Office
As a classroom teacher, you constantly have kids coming in and out of your classroom. This makes it hard to get anything done!But as an instructional coordinator, the chances are good that you will have your own office space. You might share an office with another instructional coordinator, but you likely won’t have a constant stream of students coming in and out. As noted above, having a little peace and quiet can help you focus on your work.
Pro No. 7 - You Can Specialize
Typically, instructional coordinators specialize in the same area they taught. So, if you’re a math teacher, it makes sense to become a math instructional coordinator.
However, some subjects are closely related, so you might be asked to provide services to teachers in more than one subject or grade area. For example, there’s an immense amount of reading and writing in social studies classes, so even if your background is in language arts, you might help develop instructional materials for social studies teachers.
Con No. 1 - You Might Miss the Classroom
Working with kids is a tough job. But it’s also incredibly rewarding. While being a teacher requires a lot of time, energy, and patience, being in the classroom and helping kids learn and grow is one of the most satisfying jobs you can have.
As noted earlier, you’ll still have opportunities to work directly with kids as an instructional coordinator. But it just isn’t the same as being in the classroom with students each and every day.
Con No. 2 - Colleagues Might Not Want Your Help
Some teachers can’t get enough help from instructional coordinators. You’ll have teachers who ask you for advice, collaborate with you on curriculum development, and frequently ask you to come into their classrooms.
On the other hand, you’ll find that some teachers don’t want your help. They might prefer their methods of doing things and be resistant to change. Unfortunately, sometimes they’ll be forced to work with you, which is often an uncomfortable situation.
Con No. 3 - Your Position Might Be Grant-Funded
Some instructional coordinator positions are funded with grants from local, state, or federal agencies. This means that if grant funding runs out, you might be out of a job.
Usually, educational grants are well-funded. But when tax revenues decrease and there’s less money to go around, you might face a situation in which your position is cut. Having that kind of uncertainty about your job and your future can be highly stressful.