Have you ever cried at a wedding? I sure have. My friend still teases me about how much I cried at hers. Thinking about it, it was watching someone cross a threshold (too on the nose?) to another journey and life that wasn’t available to me. Yet, anyway. (That word, “yet,” — a prayer, a validation, a banner, and bludgeon…) A few months later I would meet my husband to be, and get a look behind that curtain. But her life and mine look very different. I’m struggling to come up with a metaphor here that’s not too cliche, but all I can think of are branches on a tree or rivers finding their paths. Ugh.
*goes to pour more coffee*
*it didn’t help*
Connections and separations lend themselves to cliches and similes, but there is truth there: once you meet someone you are connected: for this moment, I want to extend my gratitude to two coaches that made a huge difference for me this year, Michael and Vicky.
Vicky comes from my district, and Michael from out of district. Both are exemplary educators, masters in their craft, and far and away damn fine coaches. Their honest and intelligent conversations, observations and and reciprocity is what I admire more than I can say. They saw in me the talent, and the growth, and my only regret is that I didn’t get to see them enough. Each precious time they interacted with me individually I felt the clouds lift, and my vision cleared. Good coaches take a special personality, great coaches make you feel like you’re not being coached at all, but a collaborator on a masterpiece. Their generosity of acknowledging my strengths without me ever feeling a “yes-but” statement was coming is extraordinary. Vicky especially, since we spent more time together, valued the crafted curriculum and exploration I do and did on my own, and she knows I’m capable and ready to share. Just like my art education days, being in the studio by oneself is only enjoyable if once in awhile the work is shown and shared.
Some work I tried on this year (one of their favorite phrases), both on my own and through them include:
- Question Formulation Technique (see, even Two Writing Teachers do this!)
- Small passages to bigger theme exploration
- Rethinking how to walk students through close reading
- SBA as a genre study
There is more, to be sure: handouts and PowerPoints and resources galore. And I know that when they do other things next year on their own journeys, I hope that we will always be connected and our paths cross frequently and joyfully.
PS I also need to thank my admin for pairing me with these coaches: as we grow together, I don’t mind being “keeper of the lessons” and sharing them.