Monday, May 18, 2015

all in?

One of my Tiger Bloggers was telling me the other day, "I'm sorry I haven't been to Blogging Club, I've just been too busy!" That's the thing about life - there are so many choices, so many possibilities. And life is too short. The older I get, the more I realize that you have to be very selective in what you say yes to - in your personal life and in your professional life.

For the past two years, I have said yes to Literacy Coaching and I have really loved it and learned so much. When I left the classroom in 2013, I had this feeling that I wasn't done there, and this is something that continues to take  up time in my inner dialog. Last weekend, my very insightful friend asked me, "Well, Michelle, are you all in with your coaching?" And I asked myself, (and am still asking myself) "Am I?"

Classroom teaching is a crazy experience - so overwhelming, so busy, so rewarding, so powerful. Coaching, too, is all of those things, but obviously different. The thing with coaching is that it won't get me relationships with students that can yield emails like this, four years after the fact:

First Author's Chair with my 6th group of 6th Graders
Katia was one of my sixth grade students during the 2008-2009 school year, my last in Phoenix as I worked on completing my Master's degree at ASU. This particular group got my very first attempts at Reading Workshop, back when I really didn't know what I was doing, but was trying like you-know-what to make it all work. Because of the work we did that year in reading and writing, that was my first class to be so bonded over stories and conversations about books and our quarterly Author's Chair writing celebrations. In 2009, I came to Chicago, but when that group in Phoenix had their promotion in 2011, my colleague (and one of best friends) Liz and I went back as a surprise to all the eighth graders who were being promoted to high school:

Katia and I, 2011

Liz, one of the best teachers I know!

May is a time of celebrations: end-of-the-year trips, memory books, retirement parties, graduations. It's a time to reflect on our work and remember all those people who have guided us and helped us along our way. It's a time of the year that I just love - seeing former students as successful graduates and moving on to their future goals is the reason I do what I do.

It would be a lie if I told you that I was fine missing out on all of this. Please don't misunderstand: I love my coaching position! It's just not the same because I'm missing those super invested relationships with kids. Is this something that should concern me? If, two years later I'm still thinking about it, am I meant to be a classroom teacher? I know there are no easy answers, but I know I won't keep receiving emails like the one above should I continue coaching. And if I'm being totally honest, that email - that's the reason I continue to be passionate about public education.

Coaches, admins, former classroom teachers: Do you struggle with the same thing? Please share!

1 comment:

  1. I can understand how you feel. The last classroom I was in when I taught 4th grade is graduating college this May! When I married, I left that school and it was a long time before I was back in a classroom again. This past spring I have been teaching reading and even though it was a position that ends in June, it reaffirmed my love of the classroom. I always feel sad when I am out of the classroom.


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