Early in my teaching career I was overwhelmed all the time. I was overwhelmed because I didn’t know if my teaching was effective and I didn’t know what to expect from my students or from myself. I wanted to do a good job and I just didn’t know how.
Later in my career, after much professional development I became extremely comfortable in the classroom. Teaching was easy and I was able to help new, overwhelmed teachers navigate through their first few years. But, just as I became really comfortable I was given the opportunity to serve as my school’s literacy coach. And, just like that, I was overwhelmed again. I didn’t know how to teach adults and it was uncomfortable going into classrooms and providing feedback to teachers about their lessons. But, then a few years into my coaching career, I was comfortable and confident in my abilities. I could see that my coaching was making a difference in the lives of teachers and students. Then, just as I became really comfortable (are you seeing a pattern here) I was given the opportunity to be an elementary school principal. That’s right, I didn’t seek out this opportunity. I was approached by my superintendent and encouraged (gently nudged) to accept the position as the principal at J.W. Reason Elementary. I agreed and for the first two years, I was overwhelmed. I mean really, really overwhelmed. There were so many new things thrown at me that often times I didn’t know which end was up. Then things started to become easier, almost predictable and being a principal began to feel comfortable. But, now, I was wiser. I knew that each time that I began to feel comfortable in my career the universe presented me with a new uncomfortable situation. So, this time, I decided that two could play at this game. I didn’t wait for the universe to present me with a new overwhelming opportunity; instead, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone before someone else could do it for me. In doing so I brought my staff along with me. And now, I’m overwhelmed and I’m so happy about it.
We have a lot of initiatives that we’re juggling this year. We’re in the midst of an elementary redesign project; writing and implementing weekly culture lessons for our entire school; preparing to be a preconference site for the upcoming TESOL conference; moving into year two of our ELL co-teaching action research project; beginning year two of our full day kindergarten pilot program and I’m sure there’s something I’m leaving out! But now, I’m thrilled to be overwhelmed because what I know is that through these experiences I’m learning. And, I know that sometime soon I’ll learn so much through these experiences that I’ll have to find new things to overwhelm me because when I’m not overwhelmed I’m unsatisfied and when I’m unsatisfied I move on to new experiences. I’m not ready to leave my role as an elementary principal. There is too much that I still need to learn. So, if I have to choose between comfortable or overwhelmed, I'll choose overwhelmed!
I hope my blog posts inspire risk taking and new ways of thinking. I hope to connect with other educators on our journey to always do what's best for children.