Monday, September 14, 2015

Off to a Slow Start

School's been in session since August 25, but I've missed almost a week due to illness.  In the two weeks I was in my building, I did a lot of clerical tasks that tend to fill my days the first few weeks of the school year:

  • I compiled the literacy profile folders for our approximately 200 sixth graders;
  • I set up our assessment data files for the school year;
  • I pulled data for teachers to consider as we put together our first literacy intervention groups;
  • I (mostly) completed initial literacy assessments on the students who are new to our school district;
  • I wrote most of my September PD newsletter.

You'll notice what I wasn't doing.  I wasn't coaching, at least not much.  I was able to do a demonstration lesson for a new language arts teacher and two think alouds for our seventh grade algebra students.  I set up a coaching cycle with a science teacher.

But that's not enough.

I don't like office days, and usually by the third week of school, I've been in classrooms observing and seeing the great teachers in my district at work.  By the third week of school, I've started several coaching cycles and my brain is busy thinking alongside those teachers, working through problems of practice, learning together new ways of helping students succeed.

I've felt quite a bit of guilt over missing almost a week of school.  I keep thinking about those tasks I've left unfinished (like those assessments!) and the meetings and classroom visits I had to cancel.  This is not the way I usually operate, and it took everything I had in me not to push through being sick, though not contagious,  and in pain and just suck it up and go to school.

But would that really have been better?

Would I have really been an effective coach if I were distracted by being tired and sick?  Would I have been able to accurately do the assessments?  Would it have been better for my family if I had made myself sicker?

I'm still not 100%, but I've given myself the time I've needed to feel more myself.  I've given the antibiotics time to work.  I've given the inflammation and swelling in my foot time to calm down enough for my foot to actually fit in a show.  I've taken time to take care of myself.

This is a lesson that I need to remember going forward.  There will always be stuff to do at school.  There will always be commitments I've made and meetings I've scheduled.  But if I don't take the time to slow down and take care of myself, I won't be able to do any of those things well.

Someone remind me of this in December, ok?

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