Tuesday, December 4, 2012

sols: on my mind

Slice of Life Stories hosted

I don't know if you read this post yesterday, but you need to take time now to read it.  Go on, it will just take a couple minutes.  I'll wait.

Pretty powerful, huh?  That's what I thought.  Ruth, one of my nudgers, wrote about creating space in our minds in order to then be reflective in our practices.  Always smart thinking from her.  Simple, yet it makes so much sense to me.

And then all night and first thing this morning when I woke up, I was consciously thinking about what was on my mind.  My brain is still a little cloudy right now waiting for some space to be created.

You see, I fall into this trap.  I'm constantly reading and tweeting and learning and trying to gain all this knowledge for my own purposes in my classroom as a reading specialist and for the colleagues and teachers around me.  I want to learn and improve my practices and I wish the same for my colleagues.

However, there's something On My Mind . . .

     1.  Teachers are at varying levels of their own personal and professional development and reflective stages.  Beginning first and second year teachers just trying to survive.  In knee-deep-of-it-all teachers.  Teachers continually perfecting their craft.  And then, those teachers who need big (gentle) nudges and pushes to move forward.  We talk daily about differentiation with our students, but teachers need differentiated professional development as well.  I may have shared an article two years ago, but a teacher may not have been ready to hear or understand the message, but now, today, she is ready.

     2.  Differentiated professional development is tricky.  How does it happen effectively, except to have someone right by your side, coaching you as you are in the thick of it all?  The idea of coaching has been tossed my way and it quite honestly scares me.  (Not to mention that I love the kiddos too much!)

     3.  Over the last couple years, I dreaded attending team meetings.  I struggled with the fact that it was a waste of time for me and then it was quite possibly a waste of time for teachers that already have too much on their plates.  The format of our team meetings have changed this school year and our instructional resource team is spending more time with individual teachers to talk about student concerns and move forward in the RtI process.  I'm feeling better about the meetings, but still not feeling confident that we are meeting the RtI expectations of differentiating and documenting.  It's a learning process and with time I think it will continue to improve.  (I hope!)

     4.  I have been out of the classroom for ten years.  (Wow, that's crazy to even say!)  Funny thing is, I was only in the classroom for two years before I was placed in my current position.  So remembering back when I was in the classroom to regain perspective is difficult for me.  In my little world, I eat, sleep, and breath literacy instruction, but I have to remind myself that the classroom teachers also teach students various other subjects that, of course, incorporate the important skills of reading!  Yet, when we meet with teachers to document interventions, I'm not always sure additional, targeted support is happening in the classroom (i.e. guided reading, conferring).  So, now it's my job to plan for the intervention in my classroom and your classroom?  I'm struggling with how to move forward even though I understand the difficulty of being a classroom teacher with lots of little ones vying for your attention all throughout the day.

     5.  Balance.  I mentioned to my hubby last night that some days I wish there were more than 24 hours in a day and then I quickly retracted the statement.  I realized that I may have more time, but there would always be more to fill up that time.  It's about prioritizing the time I have now between home and school.  I need a major readjustment because ME time has been eliminated.  I need to start exercising again.  I need to start eating better.  I need to take care of me first.

There is more swimming around in my head.  But I can honestly say that I feel a little lighter.  I'm moving ahead with a little more space to be reflective and make professional (and personal!) decisions.  Thank you Ruth for your enLIGHTening words!


  1. Isn't it amazing how much our brain can hold and how many distractions we have? You have a lot on your mind and on your plate. I am in awe of how much you do and how you handle it so well. But, I think the first and foremost item should be the one you mentioned last - Balance. In order to have balance, you have to put yourself first and then everything else will fall into place. Thanks to you and Ruth for your enLIGHTening words! Love ya, M

    1. I know. I know. And why do you think it was at the bottom of the list! I need to prioritize putting me first. It's just hard. Really, really hard.

  2. It's that making ourselves our first priority that is the hardest, isn't it. I've been doing that a lot lately. I need to make myself number 1 again in order to survive. And, take a deep breath. Ruth's post is swimming around in my head too. Dang her. She keeps giving me things to think about....

  3. Thank you for directing me to Ruth's post and thank you for opening your mind. This is certainly something I should try to sort my jumbled thought and feelings.
    It's so hard to keep in mind that you can't solve every problem. It's even harder to keep in mind that not all problems are my problems. Sometimes I think I would do less if I cared less. Then again if I cared less I wouldn't be the person I want to be. I think it's your heart that pushes you to the limits. How to make sure to remember to take care of the heart - this I don't have an answer to. Little reminders from a friend help for sure.
    Thank you for your reminders to me.

  4. Yes, we have to put ourselves first, but then we wouldn't be the caring, selfless givers that we are. I like what Terje said, "...not all problems are problems." We don't have to work on fixing everyone and everything at the same time. I'm sticking with my mantra of "pick ONE thing!" It's tricky, but at least we can celebrate when that ONE thing works better/more effectively/doesn't drive us crazy anymore.

  5. The part about things piling up so reflection isn't possible, is much like housework, too! Things pile up, you can't find anything even though it might be good and it is right in front of you. You just can't see it.
    And the idea that you don't need to fix everything is quite a release! Thanks for directing me to her post.

  6. Wow! Thanks for sharing some of the same feelings that I have been experiencing. I always enjoy your posts and they inspire me, both personally and professionally. :)

  7. I hear ya on the ME time. I don't have littles ones and I struggle to find it. There is always more work that can be done. Good thing there are only 24 hours in a day.

  8. I did see Ruth's post, Michelle, but love seeing what you have to say & reflect upon, too. I wish we could sit & talk about some of the challenges and successes you feel happen in your work with teachers!

  9. I had a student give me an article to read from a 1961 National Geographic. Day after day I reported to him that I hadn't had time to read it. But that it was on top of my pile. Finally, last week, I got to it (on a sick day)! It's so hard to find the balance, but I'm glad that Ruth is encouraging us to be reflective.

  10. All that piling just turns into an overwhelming and un-tackle-able mass! I loved Ruth's idea of writing those things down, give them a place to go instead of swirling like they do. It is easier to reflect and think about what is bothering you when you have to write it somewhere. Seems a little less overwhelming too. Great post!

  11. Just clicking on some older posts...
    This is so very good.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts.