August 24th, 2011 | No Comments »

Guidance

Not sure I have written about the amazing guidance I got from my Reading Specialist team last school year.

Yesterday I had a brief breakdown, shaken off by my not-so-tactful-but-well-intentioned-sometimes-effective husband. The momentary panic happened because I felt thrown in a situation in which I am expected to do something I do not feel completely competent at. No scaffolding, no gradual release of responsibility, no questions asked. Just the expectation to be adult, professional, and capable – and, after I pleaded, a promise of support when needed.

Reliving

Then today I saw the Reading Ladies back in last year’s school – where I still work half the day. And I remembered when I started teaching reading as part of their team last November. In a flash I relived the anxiety generated by doing something of high responsibility for the very first time. And I felt again grateful for how observant they were of my delicate moment, leaving some breathing windows throughout the day between groups, discussing each group and child with me, supporting my practice, allowing time to observe them at work, patiently answering not-so-smart questions I asked all day long. They were true mentors, and I learned the equivalent of several years of graduate school in those seven months.

Gradual Release of Responsibility

My year was not all breezy. As soon as I mastered the demands I had on my plate, they served me a chunkier scoop, adding challenges in the form of number of groups, types of students, and schedule changes. By the end of the year I felt more of a peer, sharing with them most of the burdens and joys, and having my experience validated and respected.

New Year, New Demands

I am thrilled to be challenged once again. And looking back to this experience I realize I can succeed. I can succeed because I have a solid education, because I have a strong will and character, because I am in a district that supports professional growth, and because I am surrounded by competent teachers, coaches, support staff, and principals. All I need to do is say “Yes” and ask for help when needed – and stop wining already.

Posted in Education, life
August 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »

Esta semana eu comecei uma nova fase. Uma fase em que sou funcionária permanente de um distrito escolar, com uma posição integral sob a perspectiva distrital, mas trabalhando meio período sob o ponto de vista das escolas: meu tempo esta sendo dividido entre dois campi.

Estou empolgada com a oportunidade de fazer parte de duas culturas diferentes dentro de um mesmo distrito. Uma é a maior escola elementar do distrito, trazendo enorme diversidade. A outra é a menor, criando um ambiente quase familiar. Uma é trilingüe e tem como desafio aprimorar a comunicação interna. A outra é bilingüe e parece ter conseguido organizar grupos profissionais eficientes. Uma eu conheço do ano passado, pois trabalhei lá por 7 meses em período integral. A outra é uma novidade para mim – fascinante, apavorante, excitante e desafiadora.

Hoje eu ziguezagueei entre as duas, me senti sobrecarregada, esperneei quando descobri que querem que eu dê aula em espanhol, tentei escrever um plano de aula, não consegui me concentrar, percebi que perdi a hora de uma consulta ao médico, saí da escola apressada, deixando para trás o pirex no qual levei a salada para o almoço compartilhado…

Chegando em casa, tentei desabafar com meu marido, mas ele só tinha coisas boas a dizer a respeito dos desafios que estou enfrentando. Para completar, passou a apresentar todas as razões pelas quais esse furacão é na realidade uma grande oportunidade, e como vou crescer com essa experiência, e como eu ficaria incrivelmente entediada se só me escalassem para fazer coisas que eu já domino.

E ele tem TANTA razão! Mas eu ainda estou emotiva, e ainda estou ansiosa, e ainda estou amedrontada. Empolgada para começar a jornada, completamente consciente da grande oportunidade que recebi, mas ainda sensível com tudo isso.

Posted in Education, life, Português
August 23rd, 2011 | No Comments »

This week I started a new phase, one in which I am a permanent employee of a school district, holding a full time position from the district perspective, but working part time from the school standpoint: my time is being divided between two schools.

I am excited with the opportunity to take part in two different cultures within the district. One is the largest elementary school of the district, bringing a huge diversity. The other is the smallest, bringing an atmosphere that is almost family-like. One is trilingual and counts on incredibly competent staff, but struggles somewhat to master the communication piece. The other is bilingual and seems to have effective teams in place, and probably has particular struggles I have not yet observed. One I know from last year, having worked there full time for 7 months. The other is very new to me – fascinating and terrifying, exciting and challenging.

Today I zigzagged between them, got overwhelmed, kicked and screamed when told I’d be teaching in Spanish, tried to put together a plan, failed to focus, realized I missed a doctor’s appointment, left school in a hurry leaving behind the bowl I brought my salad in for the potluck…

When I got home, I tried to vent with my husband, but he only had good things to say about the challenges I am facing. Then he went on to tell me all the reasons why this was a great opportunity, and how much I will grow from this experience, and how bored I would be if I were asked to do only things I already master.

And he is SO right! But I am still tearful, and I am still anxious, and scared. Looking forward to begin the journey, fully aware of the great opportunity I have been given, but still edgy about it.

Posted in Education, life