Change is Good: Confessions of a New Instructional Coach
As I arrived at my office this morning (yes, you read that correctly — OFFICE), I could not help but think that change is good. It is messy, uncomfortable, and it causes a healthy amount of anxiety, but it is so necessary for growth. It wasn’t the ideal time for me to come out of the classroom to become an instructional coach — let’s be clear. It was the beginning of the final grading period for my 12th grade students. I had invested hours and hours of planning time, individual conferencing meetings, data analysis discussions, and even the occasional tear. I had built the students up, helped many of them reach academic and social goals. I had planned the junior/senior prom, the senior trip to Florida, and some senior events. I had developed a stronger research-based independent reading program and watched students fall in love with books for the first time in years, sometimes for the first time ever in their lives. There were 10 weeks of school left; no the timing was not ideal. Some cried, some were frustrated, many felt abandoned. I could only hope they understood that this was a necessary move for me.
This morning, however, I didn’t think about them for the first time in a week. This morning I thought about visiting the 9th and 12th grade professional learning communities of the teachers at the new school at which I am assisting. I was filled with hope that they would receive me well and that I could bring them something new to keep them going for the last 9 weeks of the school year. I was excited to have my new school ID made and to talk to the principal about bringing dual-credit courses to the building to increase college-prep experiences for the students. I couldn’t wait to continue my book study of Penny Kittle’s Book Love. I wasn’t dead on my feet the minute I woke up, immediately counting the hours until I could return to bed. Change is good.
The moral of this short story is, sometimes as teachers (and humans for that matter) we jump in, take risks, and say yes to opportunities that come along. Don’t be afraid of the fallout if you know in your heart that you need a new, fresh challenge. And most of all, don’t feel like a sellout when and if your new opportunity takes you out of the classroom. My classroom has just expanded over a whole district. I have the chance to spread my enthusiasm, my years of experience in a Title I school that has finally clawed its way out of “priority status”, and my educational research. The impact may spread even further than from the classroom that I left. Change is good.