#PandemicEdu: New is Good, Right?

In 2019, I set the goal of leaving the classroom and working more as a coach/consultant. It’s been a dream I’ve had since getting my Masters in 2016. I’ve been gaining knowledge, experience and building my network since then. The pandemic got in the way of leaving when I was ready, but I didn’t allow that to keep me laser focused on my goal.

The 19/20 school year, was, of course, a nightmare, yet I learned a lot about education, teachers and myself. I discovered what motivates educators to just keep pushing forward. I learned how to teach online effectively and how not to allow the “state of insanity that was” break me. In 20/21, I built on my personal learning journey and prepared to leave. The world was still stuck in neutral though.

So, I taught, one more year. I’ve had odd, off years before, but this one was very odd, very off. It was almost as if caged animals, released from their cages were trying to remember to be who they were. This was the adults as well as the children. The expectations were there, though we somehow knew they meant nothing to the students.

After all, they’d been home or hybrid for 2 years at this point. I taught 7th grade so the transition most students have from elementary to middle school never happened for them. That, coupled with many of them apparently given more freedom than they could handle created an environment where learning was hard, relationships were harder and patience was a fragile commodity. Yet, somehow we all survived it.

One thing I did learn for sure this last school year – I needed to do and be more for teachers. The old ways are done. There is no “go back to normal”. Normal never worked. Normal was just comfortable. It’s time for immense discomfort. It’s time for teachers to act like the professionals we are, push back against those on the outside looking in, and focus on the children and their educations, without compromise and without excuse.

My mentee sent me a text late one evening, told me I needed to apply for this job that he’d found on the state job board. “It’s you. It’s perfect. It’s time, ma.” (They all call me ma.. is that a good thing? lol) So I applied. I interviewed I was offered the Instructional coach job. During the interview, someone mentioned a “coach’s coach” job. I looked it up and for the hell of it, I applied. I interviewed. During this process, the original position because a political hot seat. I wasn’t interested anymore, so I rescinded my acceptance for the job and took the second position.

I’ve just spent 6 weeks (my entire summer) training and learning and preparing to become a coaching specialist. I’m so excited. Yet, there’s a part of me that will miss the classroom. Trust me, no mindless staff meetings, no PD that doesn’t move me forward, no grading papers, no phone calls to parents who are overwhelmed and too busy to parent, I’ll miss none of it. But connecting with one group of students will be missed, mentoring new teachers will be missed, The awe, the excitement, the “turning of the corner” that middlers experience, will be missed.

I’ll be focusing my energy on helping instructional coaches and their teachers improve literacy rates in K2 classrooms. I’ll also work with coaches focused on STEM concepts and strategies. I’m doing more than I ever could in one classroom. I’m anxious and worry about my impact. I’m thrilled at the challenge though. New is good, right?

With all of that said, look for a change in my blog (again) as I focus more on coaching strategies and systems to make teaching more effective and efficient. I accept the challenge. Have a great school year everyone!


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