School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Gail Collins


Instructional Coaching, Adult Transitions, Teacher Transitions


Education | Teacher Education and Professional Development


The purpose of this transcendental, phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of 13 teachers who have transitioned from the role of classroom teacher to instructional coach. All participants were actively involved in at least one of two online instructional coaching forums. At this stage in the research, the teacher to instructional coach transition experience can be described as the decisions and circumstances that led a classroom teacher to pursue the role of instructional coach. The instructional coach can be defined as a collaborative teaching partner that helps build teacher capacity and provides teachers individualized professional development to meet their learning. Using Schlossberg’s (1981) transition theory to examine the teacher decision-making process and the transition to instructional coach and Bandura’s (1992) social cognitive theory to examine self-efficacy and its relation to transitions, the study sought to answer the central research question: What are the experiences of teachers who transitioned from the role of classroom teacher to instructional coach? Interviews, online focus groups, and hypothetical letters from participants to teachers considering transitioning from a classroom teacher, explained their experience with the transition. I analyzed the data to determine emerging themes that explored teachers’ decisions to transition from the classroom to the role of instructional coach. Themes from the research that emerged as the essence of the phenomenon are presented as: (a) need for change; (b) call to support teachers; (c) transition is difficult but rewarding; (d) relationships matter. Using participant’s shared experiences the study revealed the transition, although difficult at first, yielded personal and professional rewards for each participant.