The classroom has always been where I want to be and where I feel comfortable. As an educator, the classroom is the center of my world, where the action is, and where I feel most useful and effective. As I begin this journey into my role as coach, I find I struggle at times with my focus, language, and purpose. Casey (2006) describes this as a feeling of uncertainty and inadequacy; this feeling like everything changes overnight. Am I ready? Will I make a difference? Do I have the knowledge and experience to guide others?
I start this reflection with a title reminiscent of my current experience. I’ve jumped into this journey feet first by participating in USF’s Cambridge Schools Experience. For four weeks I live with nearly twenty other educators, all at varying stages in their personal and professional journeys, as we immerse ourselves in the Cambridge education system. I bring to this experience three years of classroom teaching, two years of working with preschool children, various professional leadership experiences, an interest in classroom technology integration, and a pedagogy founded in developmentally appropriate practice and student centered learning.
As this experience unfolds, I find themes in my growth towards becoming a coach. It is within these themes that I will reflect on my strengths and areas for future development. I will use these themes as a map through the unknown and the intimidating. These themes will guide my thoughts and research as I work towards the goal of effective coaching.
A Cambridge classroom teacher describes his students’ learning paths as a journey. He says they are at different places at different times, but all where they need to be. I, too, find myself on a journey. A journey into the unknown where I will be pushed to extend my knowledge beyond its boundaries, encouraged to examine my personal beliefs about education, required to take on multiple perspectives in global communities, and establish productive relationships with various personalities. Through honest reflection, careful guidance, and personal determination I hope to find my journey never truly ends, but rather continues to branch out into unknown directions and down paths I have yet to imagine.
Casey, K. (2006). Literacy coaching: The essentials. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.