Instructional coordinators, also known as curriculum specialists, work to help teachers teach more effectively. That may sound like an oversimplification, but all their duties are to that end. Teaching continually grows more complex as states, districts and even schools add standards that students must meet. Additionally, schools are implementing the use of more and more technology. Another factor affecting teaching quality is the inclusion of many types of students into the mainstream classrooms. Curriculum must be adaptable to meet the needs of all students. All of these issues can lead to frustration and teacher burnout. That is where the instructional coordinator finds his challenge.
Who They Are
These professionals have a minimum of a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, educational technology or a similar field and have a teaching license or teaching certification. They work in schools or in administration buildings year round. Curriculum specialists have a working knowledge of how curriculums are designed as well as proficiencies in English, sciences, human behavior and human resource management and a rudimentary grasp of computer technologies. They have management skills and the ability to communicate ideas and concepts.
What They Do
The curriculum specialist researches existing curriculums and makes recommendations about implementing them. Where the existing materials are outdated or inadequate, the specialist creates new programs and then works to coordinate and assess their utilization. He also works with new technologies to assess how they might improve teaching and then plans workshops and trainings to help teachers and administrators understand how to employ them. Sometimes this entails mentoring a teacher until he or she is confident in the new methods. An instructional coordinator might meet with a school board or a faculty to advocate for a certain curriculum change. Additionally, the specialist observes teachers and students in the classroom and evaluates test data to determine if a curriculum change is working. In an area where a school is not meeting standards, the specialist may recommend the purchase of materials and supplies to help students close the gap in their learning. He may also make recommendations to specific teachers to strengthen their teaching skills.
Educational Specialists in the Future
Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show the job outlook for these people to be higher than average. Part of the demand for these professionals is that the trend in education is inclusiveness of children with emotional and physical disabilities in the mainstream classroom. Often this results in behaviors that have negative effects on the class because students who have difficulty grasping the material may be frustrated. As more children with disabilities leave their special education environments, the demand for curriculum that addresses their needs as well as the average student’s will increase. National and state standards create more pressure on districts to increase student performance. Additionally, new educational technologies are constantly appearing and evolving. While this is occurring, however, the economy is tightening, and it is more important than ever to make every effort productive. The BLS statistics for median salary for this field is $63,750.
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People with an aptitude for statistics and data analysis are especially suited to work in this area. It is also important to be able to infer a trend from several instances and to understand human developmental milestones. People who want to impact education but who do not want to work in a classroom might be well-suited to a career as an instructional coordinator.