Wow. Even on day 3 of being post-BCedCamp, my mind is still rolling with new ideas I learned from the 115 Iowa edcuators in attendance. BCedCamp 2016 was a huge success. I am thankful for the Benton Community Teacher Leadership Team (BCTLT) who put it together and those who attended and shared experiences as a teacher-leader.
As I transition from classroom teacher to full-time instructional coach, I have a wide variety of emotions. The strongest emotion I feel is excitement. I am excited to get the opportunity to work and learn with staff, students, and families that attend the Atkins Center. I am also excited to get to work and learn with the other members of BCTLT. Nervousness is another feeling I've been experiencing as I continue to embrace the transition. Thankfully, I was able to connect with so many ICs on Thursday and now feel as though I have asupport group within and outside of my colleagues and family.
Connecting and Supporting:
I always get excited when I get the opportunity to meet other educators face-to-face. Connecting on Twitter and other social media outlets has definitely been a way of life for me the last few years, but when I'm able to meet someone in person, it always seems impact me in a different way. Over 100 educators from almost 40 different districts across Iowa attended BCedCamp. That's a whole lot of passion in one building! It all came through loud and clear as sessions got underway. There were sessions on math and literacy stations, instructional coaching, PLCs, data teams, makerspaces, and more. In every single session, there were educators who spoke up and shared their experiences, answered questions, and offered solutions. I did try to attend sessions focused on instructional coaching. In each session, current instructional coaches talked about needing to have a "support group" that consisted of other coaches. I feel fortunate to be joining a team of experienced instructional coaches to lean on. Some in attendance were the only instructional coach in their building or even district. However, people were sharing contact information like email, cell phone numbers, and Twitter handles in order to either gain or grow their support group. It was amazing! There is power in being a connected educator. Connecting with other educators will help you help others. When you are connected, you can be supported by those you're connected with. When you are supported, you are able to be better and do better for those you serve.
This was probably the biggest, loudest, proudest theme from the sessions that I attended. Taking time to build relationships is key for those in a leadership role. Trust is at the foundation of who we are and what we do as educators. For me, it goes even deeper. I enjoy a lot of different hobbies like swimming, biking, and traveling. Everything we do requires trust. We have to trust ourselves and trust others in every situation. Sometimes, we have longer amounts of time to build and develop the trusting relationship. When I think about swimming and trusting lifeguards, I usually get a few days to build relationships and trust amongst the lifeguards I work with. When I think about flying and trusting the flight crew, I get only seconds to build relationship and trust amongst the people who are getting me from point A to point B. Parenting taxes my ability to trust than any other role. I have to trust those who I choose to surround my child with. Sometimes I get a longer period of time to devleop that trust and other times I don't. Without trust, life is adventureless. Taking time to build trusting relationships will be a priority for me as I move into the instructional coach role. Actively listening to my peers and what they need from me will be how I move forward to build relationships.
At the end of the day, I am grateful. I am grateful to have met and been influenced by so many passionate Iowa educators. I am grateful to be given the opportunity to serve a district that I care truly, madly, deeply about as an instructional coach. I am grateful for my family and friends who have supported me through this process. I am grateful that I am a Bobcat.
When I was at the farmer's market the other day, I ran into a man who is chasing his dream. He created a line called The Red Piglet. Check out his online shop. As I stood in his booth and read his message, my eyes filled with tears. I had to get a couple of his shirts and cards because he accurately shares what I feel in so many of his messages. I am grateful to get the opportunity to practice my purpose.