Within moments of our arrival, the pace became something of an adjustment for me. Seriously.
“This place feels so far removed from the rest of the world,” Wanda mentioned, and she was right. I imagine that we all had the opportunity to live a bit differently last week. I know that I worked differently as well. Far removed from the frenzy of our daily lives, we found time enough to wonder and plan and revise and share what we needed to. We ate well, laughed hard, reflected much, and captured an awful lot of feedback. Returning home, I realized that I felt centered for the first time in a very long time. I also accomplished far more than I ever have within the space of a week, and this was an important discovery.
We know that a brain under threat does not learn well, yet balancing mind with body and spirit never seems to rise to the top of our overpacked agendas. Last week provided some much needed guided practice in this domain. Beyond all that I have begun to absorb about learning communities, literacy, assessment, or coaching, there lies an even greater discovery: I need to slow down. I think we all do. We need to care for ourselves and for each other. Change doesn’t have to come at us like a freight train. It can be gentle. Like stretching…..or like waking up.
Several allusions to pace were made last week. Giselle made reference to the power of slow leadership. Others reflected on time and the process of change. These are important things to consider.
This morning, I woke up very early. I watered my window boxes and put flowers in a vase on the kitchen table. Then, I sat out on the deck with Giselle’s book and the beginnings of my baseline portfolio. I thought about the year ahead and all that I would like to accomplish with the teachers I am working with. I thumbed through the plan that I put together last week. It is a good plan, designed to help teachers do good work, but I’m realizing it isn’t enough. The fact is, I want the teachers I work with to feel the way that I felt last Friday, when Giselle asked how my week had been.
I don’t remember what I said in response to that question. I’m sure I was close to speechless, I know. I thanked her for welcoming me into the community, framing my take aways within the boundaries of a single paragraph and failing miserably.
“It isn’t hard to do this, you know,” she smiled at me. “It’s common sense.”
It is. And I want the teachers that I work with this year to understand this too. So, last week provided the support that I needed to string together a cohesive plan for the year of literacy coaching that I have ahead of me, but it provided much more than that as well. It provided me firsthand perspective around what it is like to work in a climate of true support and complete safety. Gaining THAT perspective will probably serve me and the teachers I am working with a bit better next year than the plan alone ever will. In fact, I’m pretty sure that attempting to execute that plan without this perspective would have been…kind of…insane.
That’s what I’m thinking about tonight.
So, it was a good week.