Sunday, September 11, 2011

Coming Up For Air!

I'm not much of a swimmer and have never been in a race, but if I had, I can imagine that it might give me the same sensation as I have had during the last 4 weeks. I prepared for this race most of the summer. The first weeks of August were full of planning and preparing. I was doing what I could, but nothing that would help me enough to allow me to win the race without getting in the water. I feel like it shouldn't be a competition but that is exactly what it feels like so I'll continue using it.

On the morning of August 17th, I plunged in, along with all of my other colleagues, and began the underwater portion of this race. I wanted to avoid the word "race" when writing this because  It has taken me several weeks to feel like I might finally be coming to the surface for a breath of badly needed air.

Teaching has definitely changed since I was last in the classroom. As a coach, my brain always knew that teachers were being asked to step it up more and more each year. I admire all of the teachers I have worked with over the years for their hard work and expertise. It truly is one of the most taxing jobs I know of, although worth the labor because of the people who benefit - our students. 

It's the sudden dive into the water after so long, the unnerving silence as I realize how much responsibility I have in the final outcome, the struggle to keep my eyes on the goal while staying aware of where I am in my lane by constant assessment and observation. The knowledge that, as a former coach, there may be people watching to see what I have to offer to the team. The long pull as I force myself to work as hard as I can before I catch that first breath in hopes that it will get me out in front by the time I reach the surface is exhausting. I'm longing for that anticipated first breath and signal that the race is off to a good start.

I believe it will be worth the effort if I remember to swim strong and smart without panicking and flailing. The rewards will follow.

In the meantime, I want to enjoy this experience. I love the feel of the water as I move among my students and get to know them. The exhilaration of flexing my muscles as I craft my lessons and deliver them, and the small reward of a move ahead with each successful strategy that pulls us forward in the trip across the pool in our first lap, motivate me to keep on swimming.

Coming up for air and still swimming!

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