Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Slice of Life: Over the Slump

  A Slice of Life is a weekly blog hosted by Two Writing Teachers, Ruth Ayers and Stacey Shubitz. Click on Two Writing Teachers to be taken to their website to learn more about this week's 
Slice of Life.
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To start, my school district out for Thanksgiving break this week so I get to write my Slice post with my cutie close by. 
Cuddles with my girl-my happy place.
Each month, my supervisor schedules time with me to check in. She's an amazing leader who is incredibly supportive and has the art of coaching educators mastered. I know that when I am with her that she is going to push my thinking and reflective practice in a way that truly helps me improve my mentor and coaching practice. It's a two-way conversation that leaves me feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.
As I prepared for my meeting with her last week (which really is just me developing a list of hot topics and professional development ideas), it occurred to me that for the first time in several months I was not preparing myself to "crawl up on Betsy's lap" to pour my heart and soul out about how stressed I am, or to share feelings of inadequacy, or to gain clarity around the latest district rumor. For the first time in quite some time, I felt like I could just breathe.
What occurred to me is that I was going through phases much like the new teachers I mentor and was coming out of disillusionment. 
Phases of First-Year Teaching
Like new teachers, I had gone through a 6-8 week (maybe even longer than that)funk. I had been sick since August. I really questioned whether had what it takes to be a strong support for teachers. I struggled to manage my mentor time in a way that was about the teacher and not the requirements of the program. At this same time my district has a new superintendent-our district had not a new leader in 10 years so a new superintendent feels like a jolt to the system. And, there were a number of tragic events that took place in our community and my alma mater. Add to the mix the fact that I was not engaged in the things that kept me "fed": reading and writing. I had even pulled back on my Twitter PLN. I was feeling low.

There was nothing magical that transpired except that a week ago "things" began falling back into place. I finished an audiobook that snapped my reader brain back to life. I had this epiphany about structuring my mentor time in a way where I observe and meet with teachers in a more timely manner. I now feel more connected to the teachers I support. Two colleagues talked to me about starting a Teachers as Readers group which for me was like an oxygen mask - I have been craving local conversations about reading, about books.

Like the new teacher phases, I am in Rejuvenation. Of course, some of the rejuvenation can be attributed to Thanksgiving break and time away, but I truly believe that it has more to do with shifting my mindset. I needed to quit focusing on the doom and gloom that was surrounding me or that I perceived and really focus on the things that I had control over. And, I needed to take care of myself. A large part of my self care is reading and writing. I never should have stepped away from either. Happily, I'm back.
I'm over the slump.