Thursday, September 24, 2015

Busy-ness

I'm busy.

The good kind.

The kind where I'm thinking hard and listening and asking just the right question at just the right time.

This kind of busy did not come naturally for me my first year of coaching.  I didn't understand that the role of a coach is to primarily be a watcher and a listener and an asker of questions.  Over the past three years, I learned the hard way, and in fact asking those just right questions was my professional learning goal last year.

This kind of busy makes my brain tired.  When I'm in classrooms, I'm constantly watching.  I'm watching the kids and how they are interacting with each other and the teacher throughout the class period.  I'm watching for the specific "look fors" the teacher and I identified as the focus for our work for the week.  I'm watching the teacher, too, always on the look out for those magical moments that I can share in our debrief; those moments the teacher might otherwise miss because she's so focused on the lesson.

When I'm in meetings with teachers, I'm listening, which takes much more work than just hearing.  I'm focused on one teacher at a time, listening to their reflections on their work of the week - the successes and the flops (because we all have flops).  During that listening, I'm thinking about what the teacher is also NOT saying.  What is she holding back?  What is she hesitant to face?  What is she spending the most time talking about and why?  It's through that listening that I know what questions to ask.

And those questions are so important!  I've found that if I ask the right questions, teacher can often untangle for themselves the knots they have identified.  If I ask the right questions, those things that teachers left unsaid at first begin to come to light.  If I ask the right questions, the next steps in our work together become apparent.

So yeah, I'm busy.  A different kind of busy than I was two weeks ago when I was doing the clerical work of getting assessment folders put together for the sixth graders or doing initial assessments with our new students.  That work is important, but it's not the work that I love.

But this busy?  This is the kind of busy-ness I can live with.