Monday, December 9, 2013

From Perfection to Personal Best (#nerdlution 8)

My third grade self had to read aloud a story we wrote to the class.  After listening to Nikki Cyter read her writing, I remember bursting out of the classroom and crying about how my writing wasn't good enough and could not be shared with ANYONE. I can vividly picture the bathroom next to Mrs. Smith's classroom where I hid.  I vividly remember this experience.  It's only a matter of time before they figure out I'm in over my head.  What if they don't like what I did? Feeling like an impostor would repeat itself time and time again throughout my education and life.  I would be forced to confront this as an instructional coach.  Parker Palmer, in his book The Courage to Teach, asserts that "teaching is a daily exercise in vulnerability."  Modeling for other teachers brings this to a whole new level.  It is such an important aspect of instructional coaching because it allows teachers to see high-impact instructional strategies in action with their students. Yet as a new instructional coach it made my stomach flip.  I agonized over small mistakes.  Every fiber of my being wanted to be perfect when I was modeling a lesson.  But that's not reality.  The power of instructional coaching partnerships lies in the truth that I am just like any other teacher in the school.  The unexpected -- good, bad, and ugly -- happens.  Essentially, I now try to "keep it real."  For example, I only take as much time to plan a demonstration as a classroom teacher would have.  I want teachers to determine how a practice can be implemented in their classroom in a useful way and then go forth and implement.  (Sounds so simple...) Our reflective conversation about what a teacher saw allow us to debrief and explore ideas together. Over the past year, I have learned to let go of perfection as the goal.  Instead, I am striving for a personal best to affect change.

1 comment:

  1. Hello
    Your topic of "vulnerability" of writers -- young and old -- is very insightful, and I fear that our young writers are always comparing themselves to the child next to them, or the ones who always read out loud to the class during sharing moments. One thing I have found, and maybe you have too, is that a variety of genres and techniques for students is the best course. Some of my weakest writers of short stories are some of the best poets. Some of the weakest poets are the best analytical writers. And so on. I wish we could say that all of my students were strong in every genre, but reality would intrude on that ideal.
    We keep making progress, all of us, one step at a time.
    PS -- your post is another stop on my 50 comments on 50 blogs over 50 days #nerdlution. Thanks for providing me with a rich text to respond to!