If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Monday, August 1, 2011

What is next?

Why isn't there a roadmap for decision making?  We make so many decisions in a day's time without stopping to consider.  What to eat or drink for breakfast?  What to wear?  What time to leave?  What road to take? 

Most of these are logical and don't really take much consideration.  When there is one that is routine altering, though, we tend to slow down and consider.  We ponder our options and weigh the pros and cons.  We list positives and negatives.  We ask for wisdom both spiritually and from family, friends, or colleagues.  Yet, ultimately, the final move is our own. 

Life is a series of trade-offs.  I'm making some new trade-offs this next week.  I will be giving up paper grading, bus duty, school fund-raisers, after-school-detention, parent conferences and more.  I am giving up my work in my own classroom.  I am picking up the opportunity to work with nine middle and high schools in a school district where I now live.  I will be working as a co-teacher, mentor, and professional development facillitator - the title is something like Instructional Technology Coach.  Oh, there will probably still be mountains of paperwork.  I will still be planning lessons.  I also still get to teach lessons.  The main trade-off is that instead of shouldering the load of the standardized test scores, I will be mentoring, guiding, and supporting those who do.  I will have the opportunity to share some of the strategies, practices, and ideas that I have been fortunate to collect and hopefully make the job of many teachers easier.  I will still have the oportunity to work with adolescents and share my passion for learning as well. 

Oh, I know that for the next few weeks I'm probably going to look like a deer in the headlights.  I'll be fearing that somebody is going to uncover that I'm an imposter and don't really know as much as they thought I did.  I'll also be in overload with all of the information I'll be taking in and trying to digest by moving from one system to another - you know, old brain with loads of new information bombarding it?  I do look forward to the challenge, however.

The interesting thing is, when I was being interviewed for this job, one of the questions the girl asked me caught me off guard, "What made you apply for this position in the first place?"   After a moment of thought and reflection it was easy for me to answer.  Oh, I know mine is not the traditional answer of yearning to touch more students or something warm and fuzzy like that.  It was a simple one, though.  I told her that since I was a very little girl my parents had always pushed me.  They challenged me to set goals and strive to achieve them.  My Daddy probably was the strongest teaching coach anybody could ever have growing up.  As soon as one goal was reached, he always would ask, "What is next?"  It has continued throughout my life.  Then, I married a man with similar qualities and perhaps an even stronger belief in me.  For the past several years one of my goals was to have all my students prepared and achieve 100% proficiency on their state writing assessment.  When I was ecstatic over them achieving this milestone last spring, both men, asked, "What is next?"  I didn't even have time to revel in the wonder!  So, I quickly set my next professional goal and worked toward that. 

When this opportunity shined its light on my path, I looked at it as my "next."  I still wish for a roadmap to decision making.  I know that decisions are never going to go away.  I also know that I will always, ultimately, be the one who is responsible for my decisions.  In this journey that I'm taking through life, I'm so thankful that not only do I have folks nudging me to find out, "What is next?" but I also have them there to cheer me on or reach out a hand when my 'next' is a rocky road that is not even included on a roadmap, yet.