Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just Plain Weird

The new school year is definitely underway. Weekly meetings, mini-conferences with interventionists, a new math curriculum to read and figure out, and yeah, the kids. I have 25 this year. It's not a huge number, but it is a little more than "ideal". Nevertheless, it provides ample personality, creativity, ideas, background knowledge, smiles, and brains. We can never get enough of those things in first grade!

All of these nuances and many more are running a sprint around the track inside my mind. And then I remember, I have been hired to do more. Yes, I am to teach, plan, differentiate, manage, inspire, motivate, remediate, encourage, love, and learn. Yet, there's more.

I was hired to be a Mentor Teacher this year in my school. This comes with responsibility and leadership that I have never had before. I sought after and accepted the position to learn to be a leader and to strengthen my own skills by the sharpening of other teachers. One of the aspects of my job is to observe other teachers and help them strengthen their craft. Sounds fairly simple, right? In theory it sounds nice and tidy. However, in practice it can get pretty messy.

Last week I had my first opportunity to briefly observe another teacher. This is a very informal setting where I pop in and pop out, looking for only a few things. Today was another day I chose to pop in on a teacher and observe the environment she has helped create with her new class. I can't describe the feeling I get when I go into these classrooms. I am excited to be there. I want to get to know these other teachers that I have been working with for several years. However, it feels... just plain weird. I feel like I don't belong. Sometimes I might not be welcome? I feel unprepared. Uneasy. Weird.

I don't think the teachers on the other side of the situation realize how I feel. I hope I can learn to be a better leader and help them realize that together we can make it just plain helpful.


  1. I bet it would help if you told them about feeling "weird" - I know if I were the one being observed, it would be a great icebreaker to know that the teacher observing me felt like that! :-) It will really be a great opportunity for all involved though! Watching other teachers is a great way to get new ideas, and so is having someone watch you and reflect with you! Good luck!

  2. I agree with Jennifer. It would be nice to share your feelings. I am in my 2nd year of literacy coaching, & still feel 'wierd'. It's a new position & while we've had wonderful talks, being in class & observing is another step. I want to recommend the site Choice Literacy-a site for coaches. Loads of good stuff there-free or you can join for a yearly fee. But they have a weekly e-newsletter free that's great. I liked your positive words about your students. That's what it's really all about!

  3. It may be weird but you and your fellow teachers are so lucky to have coaching positions still happening in your district! Reading through the TWT SOL bloggers lets me know you are in the company of a lot of helpful people out there sharing their skills!