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.