Happy Monday ATC Family,
I hope this blast finds you well. I’ve been both excited and anxious about our blast intro today because I decided to get a bit personal.
Your teacher development team is just returning from a week of intense professional development and reflection. As we processed emotions, mindsets, and depositions we need to adopt and/or let go in order to be effective emotionally resilient educators and coaches, I kept returning to one emotion in particular–fear.
This isn’t particularly surprising to me; I am an anxious person by nature and do daily work to ground myself in truth and facts and sit in that space between interpretation and emotion Elena Aguilar discusses in “Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators”.
What stuck out to me was the unique role fear played as an emotion for me. In contrast to other emotions, be they positive or negative, that led me to make a decision for better or worse, my fear was consistently tied to inaction. When I am afraid that I will fail, or that I will be insulted, or that I will create animosity, I remain frozen…stuck in the same cycle of emotions compounding and growing in intensity.
Afraid of having a student blow up on me out of anger or frustration in my first year, I allowed behaviors that didn’t align with my vision for my classroom culture to persist and students blew up on each other.
Afraid of the judgement I might receive from contacting my extremely intense literacy coach for clarification about her expectations for unit plans and assessments, I stayed silent, worked hours, and submitted plans that ultimately were deemed incomplete.
Afraid of creating a conflict with new acquaintances I made in my home community when they spoke in demeaning ways about my student’s community, I instead spent my hours alone brooding in my own shame.
Thankfully, I was able to move past these three particular fears during my time as a classroom teacher. When I reflected on what I felt was most important, my student’s safety agency and learning, and used that as my compass I replaced my fears of judgement or shame for the moment with a greater one in my eyes–that of losing my integrity.
As a coach now, I still have fears and anxieties I need to let go. I still have too many moments of inaction when I lose sight of my compass and my why for this work. A commitment to recognizing these moments when they come up though and intentionally mapping out how to do better in future has become essential to my work.
I’m no longer as afraid to fail, insult, or create animosity. More importantly though, I am no longer afraid to apologize, to use vulnerability as strength, and to transition from coach to student when I have new opportunities for learning and growth.
Your reflection on your core emotions may look different than mine, but I hope that you are able to identify the ones that result in actions misaligned to your core values and let those go.