One of the best things I’ve ever done as an educator was join Twitter. I really didn’t understand it at first, but the connections I made over time have impacted my classroom more than any other face to face professional development. The teachers of the #mtbos (Math Teacher Blog-O-Sphere) have had the greatest impact. They’ve recently started a blogging initiative and I thought I’d participate, which might be challenging consider that I’ve moved to an instructional coaching position this year. But, I’ll try to do my best to adapt the questions to my new role.
Blogging helps teachers to be reflective–honestly, a luxury for which few teachers have time. Nonetheless…important for teacher growth and satisfaction. If you haven’t started a blog–maybe now is the time!
1) Teachers make a lot of decisions throughout the day. Sometimes we make so many it feels overwhelming. When you think about today, what is a decision/teacher move you made that you are proud of? What is one you are worried wasn’t ideal?
In my new role, the most important thing is for me to grow in listening and helping teachers to reflect on their own practice. My temptation is to say “what I would do” is… I’m working on that. At times this week, I’ve done a good job of keeping this is the forefront of my mind. Other times, I’ve failed. I am praying that the wonderful teachers I work with will remember I’m a rookie at this and extend grace when necessary while I work to hone my skills.
2) Every person’s life is full of highs and lows. Share with us some of what that is like for a teacher. What are you looking forward to? What has been a challenge for you lately?
Transitioning to this role was a risk. After all, I KNOW I LOVE teaching. Will I enjoy coaching? I’ve second guessed myself quite a bit in this first month. Teachers, who I considered my friends, are starting to treat me differently. While I was told this would be true and would be hurtful, the fact that it was expected doesn’t make it any less hurtful. If they knew my heart and my intentions, they would never question that they are for the good of all teachers and all students. I am here for support and encouragement. I want teachers to love their job, love their school and feel so supported and encouraged that there is no other school they’d rather serve. None the less, people question my motives and it makes me sad–flat out sad.
3) We are reminded constantly of how relational teaching is. As teachers we work to build relationships with our coworkers and students. Describe a relational moment you had with someone recently.
This has been the biggest challenge for me–relationships are messy! I have to admit I don’t have the best “filter” when it comes to sharing my thoughts. What I do have going for me is that I am well-intentioned. A proverb says “Out of the heart the mouth speaks.” Since I know I have very little control over my mouth, I’ve committed to work on the nature of my heart. Are there issues of conflict that are unresolved? I best resolve those lest something dangerous sneaks right out of my mouth. Ugh! For that reason, I’m quick to fix things with others. I’ve had one misunderstanding this week that I was quick to resolve with a co-worker face to face (I’ve also learned to be careful with e-mail and that some conversations are meant to be face to face). Another co-worker, where I asked for grace and a second shot. Both were received gracefully and I’m so grateful that I work with people who can extend forgiveness so generously.
4) Teachers are always working on improving, and often have specific goals for things to work on throughout a year. What is a goal you have for the year?
I have several goals. Probably my greatest goal professionally is to learn my new job. I am reading a book called the Art of Coaching by Elena Aguilar. This has been a great inspiration. I want to help teachers reflect on their beliefs about students, learning and innovation and not just coach teachers to do “what I would do.” This is definitely an ART and I am only an apprentice.
My personal goal is to achieve a greater work/life balance. My daughter left for college this fall. She isn’t far but she isn’t here either. I have only three years left with my youngest and I want to make those years count. In addition, my husband and I will be empty-nesters in 3 years. I want to pour into us as we reinvent this relationship post-kids in the home. These are without a doubt my MOST precious priorities.
5) What else happened this month that you would like to share?
I am a person who thrives when given positive feedback. While I am definitely open to constructive criticism, especially in my new position, the words of encouragement I’ve received from a few teachers has helped to keep me going through this transition. Perhaps I have made the right move. Ask me in January :).